Lankeshwar Temple, Guwahati, Assam
The Lankeswar temple is located in the University of Guwahati campus on top of a hillock. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was constructed in ancient times by the king of Guwahati. You have to climb approximately 452 steps to reach the top of the hillock.
Influence on religion and culture
The influence of Lord Shiva in the Hindu religion has no bounds and forms the basis of worship at the Lankeshwar Temple in Guwahati. Lord Shiva is considered the destroyer while Lord Brahma is considered the creator. Among these Lord Shiva is considered more powerful because he wields infinite power that can destroy all forms of life when he is angry. When praying to other Gods, Lord Shiva is also worshipped in the form of Lord Narayana, who is the controller of life so that he does not feel envious of the other god’s popularity. To prevent Lord Shiva from getting angry, a part of the prayer is always dedicated to Lord Shiva when praying to Goddess Shakti or Goddess Durga or any other form of Goddess Shakti.
Presiding temple deity
There is no idol of Lord Shiva in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Just like everywhere else, the devotees who come to this temple worship the Shiva Linga that stands in the center of the temple. Lord Shiva is represented by the Shiva Linga, which can be commonly seen in all temples that are dedicated to him. A picture of Lord Shiva hangs from the wall behind the Shiva Linga. There is a smaller version of the Shiva Linga beside the bigger one inside the temple.
Details of idol
Lord Shiva is represented by the Shiva Linga in this temple that is how the God is worshipped in most places. Beside the Shiva Linga is the Yoni, which represents Goddess Shakti. The Shiva Linga is considered as the symbol of energy and potential, and the yoni is considered as a symbol of female creative energy. The combination of the Shiva Linga and the Yoni signifies the combination of active time and passive space that is the source of life.
Other nearby shrines
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva only, and there are no other shrines in the vicinity of the temple. The devotees who come to pray here can pray to both Lord Shiva and Goddess Shakti for salvation as both their symbols are present here which are Shiva Linga and the Yoni.
Worship and rituals
Lord Shiva is the supreme destroyer and has been given due respect in a large number of rituals. The main two occasions when Lord Shiva is worshipped are during Neel Puja and Shivratri. Neel is another name of Lord Shiva, which has been derived from “Neelkantha” or one with a blue throat. This festival is held during the month of March which is the month of “Chaitra”. The festival celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva with Devi Parvati. Mothers and wives keep fast and pray for the long life of their children and husbands by lighting holy lamps or “pradeeps” in front of Lord Shiva and bathing him with milk.
Special functions and occasions
Shivratri is the second big occasion in the month of “Falgun” when Lord Shiva is worshipped during the year. Devotees from all over the state and country come to this temple during the Maha Shivratri festival. It is a special occasion for all unmarried girls irrespective of their age. They pray and ask for blessings from Lord Shiva. The young girls perform fasts and at the end of the day pray to the Lord to bless them, so that they can get husbands who have all qualities of Lord Shiva. It is said that Lord Shiva listens to everybody who comes to this temple for his blessings and grants all their wishes. As per the mythology in Hindu religion, this temple is one of the most sacred temples that have been dedicated to Lord Shiva. Anybody who visits the city of Guwahati feels that his trip remains incomplete if they do not visit this temple.
Pilgrims visiting the temple
The temple is very sacred to pilgrims who come to worship Lord Shiva from different parts of the state and the country. The temple is located in a very picturesque location that attracts a huge number of student worshippers from nearby educational institutions like the Guwahati University and the Assam Engineering College. There are no restrictions on the Lankeshwar Temple timings, and people can come here to pray whenever they want to.