Assam has been long
associated with Tantric practices connected with Shakti worship.
The best known center of Shakti
worship in Assam is the Kamakhya Devi Temple
on the Neelachala Parvat near Guwahati. This temple is regarded as one of the Shakti
Peetha shrines associated with the legend of Daksha's sacrifice - Shiva's
Rudra Tandavam, and the fall of
various parts of Sati's body on to the earth. Other temples on the Neelachala
hill include those of Tara, Bhairavi, Bhuvaneswari and Ghantakarna.
The Hatimura Temple
enshrining Mahishasuramardini is located at Silghat, in the district of
Nowgong. Mahisamardini is portrayed as the destroyer of the demon Mahisha. This temple has
been a center of Shakti worship for several centuries. The current
structure built on the ruins of an ancient structure, dates back to the 18th century and
was built by the Ahom ruler Pramatta Singh.
The Tamreswari temple,
now mostly in ruins is one of the oldest centers of Shakti worship and is located at a
distance of about 10 km from Sadiya. This was once a flourishing center
of Tantric worship. Tamreswari is also referred to as Ugra Tara.
The Ugra Tara temple is
located in Guwahati. Its current structure dates back to the period of the ruler Shiva
Singh of the 18th century. The temple has undergone renovation since its damage
by a devastating earthquake.
surround the origin of Tantric practices in Assam. It is believed that Kamaroopa Desa was
the site of Vasishta's penances and that it was a center of great
religious significance and that those who died attained immediate salvation. Yama, the God
of righteousness, apparently disappointed at the fact that there were no souls entering
his realm. Upon his request, Shiva sent Ugra Tara, who cleansed the
region of its population. An enraged Sage Vasishta upon being driven away from the region
placed a curse on the region. Thereafter, all Savia
agamic forms of worship declined and the Vamachara (left
handed) forms of worship involving animal and human sacrifices came into being.