Kamakhya Temple In Assam Attracts Foreigners

Hundreds of mystics and seers, who claim to possess psychic powers, have gathered at a unique four-day festival at the Kamakhya temple here where thousands of devotees, including scores of foreigners, have come seeking blessings and fulfilment of wishes.

"One cannot deny miracles and the existence of mystical powers in this world. My blessings help childless couples conceive, besides treating patients with chronic ailments," Giri Baba told IANS even as he smoked a hookah filled with marijuana.

Giri Baba, an elderly Hindu seer with a paste of vermilion and ash smeared on his forehead, is among the many mystics at the famous Hindu temple of Mother Goddess Kamakhya in Assam's main city of Guwahati for the Ambubachi Mela that began Monday.

The Kamakhya temple has long been considered the highest seat of tantricism, a somewhat exotic rite-based channel in Hindu religious traditions that has been an integral part of India's folklore for centuries.

"Performing wonders is not difficult at all... I can make a childless couple conceive, find a distressed loner a spouse, or even cast an evil spell on others," boasted another mystic who identified himself as Kala Baba, a frail looking man sporting a flowing unkempt beard as he prepared for a fire ritual at the Kamakhya.

For many of the seers, the Ambubachi Mela is a meeting ground and an occasion to exhibit their psychic powers - from standing on one leg for hours to another burying his head in a pit and standing upright.

"There is something paranormal here at Kamakhya where most of the sadhus (seers) are capable of performing miracles... though most people would like to dismiss such claims as rubbish," said Pagala Baba, known as one of the most sought after mystics among devotees from far and wide.

Among the devotees making a beeline to meet the mystics were a few foreigners -- both men and women -- from Germany, France, Thailand and other countries.

"I am here for attaining peace and cleansing my soul. I find total peace of mind and really believe in the mystical powers of these learned seers," said a French man who refused to identify himself.

A German woman echoed the French man's views.

Blessings apart, many people approach the mystics for casting evil spells on their adversaries.

"A vast majority of the people come here to catch hold of a seer to harm their foes. It is possible to cast evil spells on adversaries, but then only a few would agree to do so," said Pagala Baba.

More than 500,000 devotees, including thousands of monks, have converged here for the ritual. The festival is being held to mark the menstruation period of the goddess during which the sanctum sanctorum of the shrine remains closed to worshippers. The temple gate would open Thursday.