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A Socio Cultural Study

This is a comprehensive work on the Kamakhya temple complex in Assam: the complex processes of the deity's sanskritization and the temple's role in integrating the people of this region with the mainland. Incorporating details from int below

About This Book

This is a comprehensive work on the Kamakhya temple complex in Assam: the complex processes of the deity's sanskritization and the temple's role in integrating the people of this region with the mainland. Incorporating details from interviews with temple priests and other temple staff and from literary materials on the temple, it deals with the socio-cultural life at the temple complex with respect to rites of passage relating to marriage, birth and death, arts and crafts, food, dress and folk medicine. With illustrations of the temple structure and sculptures and religious and cultural activities, the text makes a detailed study of the temple rituals, festivals and personnel -- their kinds and functions and changes in the body of the temple staff with time. Importantly, it provides a background to the study by examining the spread of shaktism over different periods in the Eastern Indian region and specifically Assam.

  • Binding: : Hardbound
  • 13 Digit ISBN : 9788124602515
  • 10 Digit ISBN : 8124602514
  • Edition : 1st edition
  • Year : 2004
  • Pages : xx, 220 p.
  • Size : 25
  • Weight (approx.) : 750
  • Bibliographic Details : 2 Maps; 8 B/w photographs; 76 Col. illustrations; Appendix; Glossary; Bibliography; Index


1. Shaktism in India with Special Reference to Assam

General Overview of Shaktism in India

Meaning of Shaktism -- Origin of Shaktism -- Shaktism in Pre-Vedic Period -- Shaktism in the Vedic Period -- The Tantra and Its Origin -- The Tantra and Its Affiliations

Shaktism in Assam
Shaktism in Ancient Period
Shaktism in Medieval Period
Current Beliefs and Practices
Worship of Female Deities in Assam

Durga Puja -- Vasanti Puja -- Kali Puja -- Jagaddhatri Puja -- Lakshmi Puja -- Snake Worship and Its Origin -- Snake Cult and India -- The Cult of Manasa -- Manasa Puja -- Apeshvari Puja -- Subhasucani Puja -- Shitala Puja -- Kumari Puja

Mother Goddesses of Different Ethnic Affiliations

The Ahoms -- The Bodos -- The Deuri Chutiyas -- The Khasis -- The Lalungs -- The Rabhas

Tantrism and the Vaishnavites of Assam
Shakta Tamples in Assam
Shakta Literature in Assam

The Kalika Purana -- The Yogini Tantra -- The Devi-Bhagavata -- Assamese Shakta Literature in Written Form -- Assamese Shakta Literature in Unwritten Form

The Shrine of Kamakhya at Present

2. The Process of Sanskritization: The Case of Kamakhya

Meaning of Sanskritization
Sanskritization and the Origin of Goddess Kamakhya
Sanskritization and Re-Christening of Goddess Kamakhya
Sanskritization and Puja Rituals of Goddess Kamakhya
Sanskritization as Reflected in Literature
Sanskritization and Religion
Sanskritization and Assamese Language
Sanskritization and Caste Formation

3. Rituals and Festivals in the Kamakhya Temple Complex

Rituals and Festivals : Nature and Significance
Rituals and Festivals Observed in the Kamakhya Temple
Rituals and Festivals Observed by the People

Vaisakha -- Jyestha -- Asadha --  Shravana -- Bhadrapada -- Ashvina -- Karttika -- Agrahayana -- Pausa -- Magha -- Phalguna -- Caitra

4. Temple Personnel: Their Functions and Sociological Significance

Brahmana Personnel and their Functions
Non-Brahmana Personnel and their Functions

Athparia -- Balikata -- Duari -- Bharalkaith -- Bharali -- Sonari -- Tamuli -- Bhog Paneri -- Snan Paneri -- Caulkara -- Guwala -- Khateniar -- Kharikata -- Gayan and Bayan -- Candratap -- Cilaikara -- Dhoba -- Dhulia -- Dandadhara -- Darmaria Dartemi -- Kumar -- Jagamukti 

Personnel of Adjacent Temples 
Change in the Body of Kamakhya Temple Personnel and its Sociological Significance

5. Socio-Cultural Life in the temple Complex 

The Family 
Familial Relationships 

Bhai-Bhani -- Giriek-Ghaniek -- Shahu-Bovari -- Bhaisahur-Bovari -- Dewar-Bou -- Nanand-Bou -- Juai/Bhanijuai-Bou -- Bie-Bieni -- Ata-Nati/Natini 

Rites de Passage 
Beliefs and Taboos during Pregnancy 
Rites During Pregnancy
Birth of the Child 
Rites Following the Birth of a Child 

Annaprasana -- Cudakarana -- Upanayana 

Puberty Rites 

Teldia -- Day of Marriage -- Suagjhara -- Marriage Procession -- Marriage Proper -- Pandekhua -- Tamulbhana -- Pasakhela -- Athmangala 

Antyesti Samskara 

Approach of Death -- Just after Last Breath -- Rites of the Dead Body -- Funeral Procession -- At the Cremation Site -- Rites after Cremation --  Shraddha -- Taboos During this Defilement -- Second and Third Day -- Fourth Day -- Tenth Day -- Eleventh Day 

Food and Drinks 
Social Stratification 
Sources of Livelihood 
Traditional Games and Theatrical Performances 

Dara-Kaina -- Kardoi Khela -- Kaori Khela -- Kari Khela -- Phul Khela -- Theatrical Performances 

Folk Medicine 

Skin Allergy -- Boils -- Bodyache -- Cough -- Constipation -- Diarrhoea -- Eyesore -- Headache -- Fever -- Nasal Pain -- Pox -- Menstrual Disorder -- Magico-Religious Medicines 

Social Change in the Complex 

6. Oral Literature 

Nature of Oral Literature 

Songs of Prayer or Supplication -- Songs of Ritualistic Association -- Songs of Life-Cycle Ceremonies 

Prose Narratives 

Myths -- Legends -- Folktales -- Riddles -- Proverbs -- Rhymes 

7. Arts and Crafts


Dola -- Pirha -- Pera -- Bris -- Darja -- Bathi 

Bamboo Items 

Matha -- Murial -- Durga Pratima -- Carai -- Shobheri 

Temple Architecture 

The Vimana -- The Calanta -- The Panca-ratna -- The Natamandira 


8. Summary and Conclusion


Appendix - Specimen of Oral Literature

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