Chandra Grahan on 26 June 2010 in Guwahati during Ambubachi Mela

Pakshik Chandra Grahan of 26 June 2010 may deprive the Ambubachi Mela celebrations and can ruin the aspirations of many devotees who wish to offer their special pujas to Goddess Kamakhya Devi in Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati, on the concluding day of Ambubachi Mela 2010. Chandra Grahan will begin at 3:47 pm and end at 6:30 on June 26, Saturday in 2010.

Daulat Rahman for Telegraph India reports:

A lunar eclipse is likely to deprive many devotees of a chance to offer obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum of Kamakhya temple on the concluding day of the Ambubachi mela as the temple would have to be closed early for certain rituals. Lakhs of devotees from different parts of India and abroad visit the temple atop Nilachal Hill during the annual five-day mela and about a three-hour early closure this time is likely to keep many of them out.

The mela will start from June 22 and the main door of the temple will be closed from the evening hours that day. It will reopen at 7.30am on June 26. According to the US-based National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a partial lunar eclipse or chandra grahan will occur at the time of moonrise in India, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia and other places in eastern Asia on June 26. The eclipse will take place in India between 3.46pm and 6.30pm and will be partially visible in the region.

The secretary of the Kamakhya Debutter Board, the temple management authority, Nabankanta Sarma, told The Telegraph that usually the main gate to the temple remains open till sunset on the concluding day of the mela, which is considered extremely auspicious, as lakhs of devotees visit the temple.

“But this year, we will have to close the gate at 3.30pm on the last day of Ambubachi mela to perform certain rituals because of the lunar eclipse,” he said, adding that the rituals would be performed inside the temple till the eclipse was over.

“We perform the rituals to ward off any evil or bad impact of an eclipse or grahan in the world. According to Hindu religious beliefs, such rituals are performed for purification as an eclipse brings impurities to the earth. The door will not be open after the eclipse period and reopen again on June 27 morning,” he explained.

“Neither a lunar eclipse nor a solar eclipse has coincided with the mela over the past few decades. There is no immediate history or record to tell us whether any eclipse took place on the concluding day of the mela in the last 100 to 150 years,” Sarma said. Quoting legend and beliefs, he said during the Ambubachi mela the deity menstruates and thus the door remains closed.

During these days some restrictions are observed by the devotees, including no performance of puja and cooking. On the concluding day of the mela, goddess Kamakhya is bathed and other rituals are performed to ensure that the devi retrieves her purity. Then the main door of the temple is reopened and devotees are allowed to enter the temple and worship the goddess,” he said.

Sarma said the board would try to make all possible arrangements to ensure that maximum number of devotees visit the temple and offer their obeisance on June 26. However, it cannot allow a massive number of devotees to enter the temple at one go as it might lead to chaos, including a stampede, he added.

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