Shaktism evolved in India between the 4th - 7th centuries. It was a predominant form of Hinduism in eastern India in the sixteenth century. Adherents of Shaktism (Shaktas) worship the procreative power of the divine female form. It is a religion of sacrifice from which even human beings were not exempt at one point of time. As stated in the Kalika Purana, a man without blemish was considered as the highest form of sacrifice. A Shakta uses chants, magic and other rituals to summon the cosmic forces and awaken the power within.
Shakti Peeths are places of worship sanctified to the mother goddess or the main deity of the Shakta sect. There are in total 51 Shakti peeths across India, the Kamakhya temple located in the Nilachal hill in Guwahati being one the most important ones. There are numerous legends associated with Kamakhya, the most popular one holds that King Daksha, Parvati’s father organised a yagna and did not invite his son-in-law Shiva to participate in it. On being asked the reason by Parvati, he insulted Shiva in front of the other present guests. Unable to bear the insults meted out to her husband, Parvati jumped into the burning yagna fire and killed herself. Lord Shiva could not bear the loss of his beloved consort and taking the body of Parvati in his arms began the tandava, the dance of destruction. The dance went on for several days causing widespread destruction and on the appeal of other gods and goddesses, Lord Vishnu with his divine armour, the Sudarshan Chakra cut Parvati’s body into 51 pieces. The spot where each part fell came to be known as peeth.
The Ambubachi Mela is an annual event held during the monsoons (generally in the month of June - July) in the Kamakhya temple in the Nilachal hill located in Guwahati, Assam. It is believed that during this time the Mother Goddess menstruates and hence for the first three days the temple doors remain closed as it is held that the goddess requires rest during this period. On the fourth day temple doors are opened for the devotees to seek blessings. Sadhus, Sanyasins, tantriks and devotees from all over the country and abroad come to visit the temple during Ambubachi.It is held in the vicinity is a colourful one sells all kinds of religious paraphernalia with traders from all over the country assembling to sell their fares.