India is often looked upon as the country of temples. The land vibrates with its religious diversity, cultural diversity, folklore & mythology. The obscure & somewhat cut-off land of Northeast India is also not excluded from this and thus there are many ancient temples even in the Northeast. The roots of Hinduism go deep down in the region and many rich religious traditions are showcased most exuberantly. For instance, Manipur’s Vaishnav traditions, Tripura’s Shaivate traditions are world acclaimed. Also, the land of Northeast India houses three major Shakti peeths of the country. All these factors contribute to making Northeast India a popular religious hub in the country’s pilgrimage circuit.
Religious tourism in Northeast India holds special importance for tourists traveling to the Northeast. Given below are some of the most famous temples of Northeast India.
Kamakhya Temple, Assam
Kamakhya Temple is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage sites of global fame. The temple is situated atop Nilachal Parvat in the Guwahati city of Assam. The temple is an abode of Goddess Kamakhya and is one among the 51 Shakti peeths that our country has. The temple was set up in the 7th century as per historical records. At Kamakhya temple, the Goddess is worshipped according to ‘Tantric’ rules. According to mythological tales, Sati’s vagina and womb fell on this part of the country when her corpse was dismembered by Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra. Thus, a Shakti peeth was erected at this place. Ambubachi festival at the Kamakhya temple premises is quite famous countrywide. Pilgrims and ascetics from far-flung corners of the country gather here during the festival.
Sundari Temple, Tripura
Sundari temple of Tripura also referred to as Matabari Sundari Temple is another important Shakti peeth of our country. It is located in Tripura’s Udaipur city which is about 55kms from the capital city of Agartala. The temple belongs to Goddess Tripuri Sundari. The temple however enshrines two identical deities; that of Mother Tripura Sundari reaching up to 5ft and that of Chhotima reaching up to 2ft. Legends hold that the right foot of Goddess Sati fell at this spot and resultantly a Shakti Peeth came into being.
Umananda Temple, Assam
The famous Temple of Umananda belongs to Lord Shiva and is situated amid the Brahmaputra river, atop a small island known by the name of ‘Peacock Island’. The temple dates back to the 17th century and was set up by king Gadadhar Singha. One has to be ferried across the river to reach the temple. The temple features some marvelous rock cut figures.
Dimapur Kalibari, Nagaland
Dimapur Kalibari belongs to Goddess Kali and is a celebrated Hindu temple located in the Dimapur city of Nagaland. The temple was set up in the year, 1956 and now pulls tourists in large numbers from far and wide.
Nartiang Durga Temple, Meghalaya
Nartiang Durga Temple, another auspicious Shakti peeth of Goddess Durga is situated atop the Jayantia hills in the Northeastern state of Meghalaya. The temple enshrines the deity of Goddess Jaintiya or Jainteshwari, a manifestation of Goddess Durga. According to myths, Sati’s left thigh fell on this part of the country and the result was the erection of a Shakti peeth.
Govindajee Temple, Manipur
Govindajee Temple located in Manipur’s Imphal is a major Tourist attraction plus Vaishnavite pilgrimage spot. The temple is an abode of Lord Govindajee who is a manifestation of Lord Krishna. King Chandrachur took the initiative of setting up this holy, palatial temple which today draws pilgrims from far and wide.
Mahabali Temple, Manipur
The Mahabali Temple located in Manipur’s Imphal city belongs to Shri Hanuman JI and is a testimony to the spread of Hinduism’s Ramanadi cult in Manipur. Maharaja Garib Niwaj had set up this temple around 1725 AD. The temple stands on River Imphal’s bank and amid the dense Mahabali forests.
Om Temple, Mizoram
Om Temple located in Mizoram’s Aizwal is an abode of Lord Shiva. The temple falls within Mizoram’s Thuampui area and is one of the must-visit places of Mizoram. The temple is magnificent in architecture and is ‘OM’ shaped.
Malinithan Temple, Arunachal Pradesh
Malinithan Temple, also referred to as Aakash Ganga Temple falls in Arunachal Pradesh’s district of West Siang. The temple is one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage site of Arunachal Pradesh and is closely associated with fascinating mythological tales. The temple is now in ruins. Myths have it that at this very place Goddess Parvati greeted Lord Krishna and his consort, Rukmini with garlands. Thus Parvati is also often called by the name of ‘Malini’ while the place is named after her as Malinithan. The area is also highly important from the archeological point of view as it houses an important exacavation site.
Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple, Sikkim
Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple is located in West Sikkim’s Legship region along the river banks of Rangit River. According to myths Lord Shiva was pleased with the rigorous penance undertaken by Arjuna and appeared before Arjuna at this spot to bless him with the boon of success in Mahabharata Wars. This temple is an abode of Lord Shiva. Every year thousands of devotees gather here on the occasion of Maha Shivratri and festival of Bala Chaturdasi.