Madan Kamdev Temple – Archaeological site in Kamrup, Assam
With its rich cultural heritage, there are many archaeological and historical structures scattered all around in Assam. Most of these structures and temples are great examples of artistic creativity and beauty. The ruins of Madan Kamdev Temple amidst the hills of Diwangiri in Kamrup is one such place that displays creativity and skilled craftsmanship.
Having the sobriquet of “Khajuraho of Asaam”, the archaeological site of Madan Kamdev Temple dates back to the 11th and 12th century AD, possibly built by the rulers of the Pala dynasty. Though the existence of the temple was known to the outside world, it was only in 1977 when people chanced upon these temples while clearing the forest. They found more than 20 temples made of stone or brick. The Archaeological Survey of India has been excavating in the area for the last few decades and they have unearthed remnants of large water tanks and fortifications. It seems Madan Kamdev was once a part of a thriving ancient town.
Today, only ruins of the temples and structures remain pointing to the remnants of a golden past. The foundations and the lower parts of the ancient temples survive today. Nevertheless, if you visit the temple complex on an early morning, it will be quite an enthralling experience.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Like most temples, Madan Kamdev Temple also has an interesting story behind it. It is said that Kamdev, the amorous Hindu God faced the wrath of Lord Shiva on disturbing his meditation. The anger of Lord Shiva is legendary. He opened his third eye and turned Kamdev into ashes. Rati, who was Kamdev’s consort pleaded to the Lord for her husband’s life. Lord Shiva was moved by her grief brought back Kamdev to life. Kamdev was reborn at this particular place where the temple of Madan Kamdev is now located. Kamdev then reunited with his consort Rati Devi here. The name Kamrup also derived its name from the story of Kamdev’s rebirth. Historically, the temples were built between 10th to 12th century AD by the kings of Pala dynasty.
The garbhagriha (the main sanctum) of the temple has the idol of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati as Uma-Maheswar holding each other in an embrace. The ruins of the temples are now scattered over the place. A number of architectural structures like rock-cut sculptures, monuments, idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses are found here. There are also some erotic sculptures sculpted on stones. This perhaps led to the name ‘Khajuraho of Assam’. This erotica in sculptures are quite small in size and you have to really look for them.
How to Reach Madan Kamdev Temple
The temple is situated near a small town called Baihata Chariali around 40 km from Guwahati. You have to cross the Saraighat Bridge and move northwards till you reach the place. You can hire a car for visit to the temple.