Assam – as the name suggests is unparallel. The state is a microcosm in the country; since ancient time people from all races, creeds and cultures came and settled in Assam. It was motivated by its natural beauty as well as by its natural resources. The reflection of the settlers is clearly reflected in its culture, religion as well as in archeological sites excavated different times. The culture of Assam, in particular, is an exotic tapestry of all the races that had come to Assam as invaders or those who had become rulers.
“The people of Mongoloid and Aryan origins influenced its culture and this may be a reason why the sculptures of Madan kamdev have some similarity with the Khajuraho Temple,” says Ram Narayan Sarma, an inhabitant of Baihata Chariali. Madan Kamdev, which is better known as Khajuraho of North-East India, is situated at Madan kamdev hill ,the hill is also known as Dewangiri. A temple is situated at the south east corner of the Dewangiri hill where the idols of Lord Shiva and Parvati are seen and both the statues are seen in erotic position.The art reflected in the temples portrays the expressions of erotic act which has a close resemblance with the art of Khajuraho Temple.
Madan Kamdev hill is a sprawling area of 5 lakh square meters. There are two ways to reach the temple; after entering Madan kamdev, a temple can be seen where Lord Vishnu is worshipped.
Along with the idol of Lord Vishnu there are also some other idols like Lord Ganesha, Bidyadhari, Lord Shiva etc. After that the main twin idols of Madan and Roti can be seen. The place where these two idols are worshipped is treated as the main attraction of the temple. And these two idols are covered with a ‘chadar’ at its lower half.
Bhaben Deka, an inhabitant of the outskirts of Madan Kamdev, says “Our ancestors told us that as the idols were nude so it should be kept covered, and they believe we should not look at the nude figures of the twin idols.”
Navajit Deuri, an archeologist and technical officer at Archeology department of Assam, says, “From the archeological point of view it seems to represent the Pala dynasty of ninth century. The state archeology department has excavated recently and I was also a part of it. Some ruins were found there which seemed to be of two different temples. The sculpture has similarities of the sculpture of Khajuraho, Modera and Sun temple of Konark.”
There is a myth about this temple; it is believed that once Lord Shiva set for topasya, meditation, and the God of love, Kamdeva, disrupted Lord Shiva his meditation and an angry Shiva burnt Kamdeva to ashes. And later, Kamdeva asked Lord Shiva for forgiveness and thus he regained his life. It is believed that if someone wishes to get the blessings at the temple then the person will get it more than four times than any other places.
There are three main characteristics of the temple which distinguished itself from other temples of India. The first one is that no crow enters the temple premises. The second important thing is that though the Hindus believe East as the holy direction and pray to God facing it, in this temple people pray facing the opposite side. The third, but main characteristic, is that nudity isn’t reflected in any other idol of Assam, and has no similarity with any other idols or sculptures at the temples of the state, except the Khajuraho of Madhya Pradesh.
Archeologists believe that there are more sculptures and idols which are unearthed in that area. The ruins of more than fifteen Shiva temples were excavated in the area. Moreover, four-headed Shiva, six-headed Lord Vishnu, six-headed Bhairav, idol of Ganesha, idol of Bidyadhari and many idols of different Gods are found in the excavations in the area.
“These idols which are seen at Madan Kamdev portray expressions of erotic acts which can be seen only in the Khajuraho and Sun temple. I have visited both the place but wondered at one thing that though both represent same sculpture it is not a popular name for the art lovers,”says Dr Subhra Bhattacharya, a professor from Kolkata.
Dr DK Bora, former director of Archeology department of Arunachal Pradesh, says, “It is true that some parts of the North East are very rich in culture from the very ancient days. So we get some similarity of this sculpture with the sculpture of Khajuraho. Malinghthan of Arunachal Pradesh and Madan Kamdev of Kamrup share some resemblance with the Khajuraho.” Ranjan Mishra, a descendent of the priest of Madan Kamdev, states, “We local people believe that the sculpture of Madan Kamdev reflects an ancient glorious civilization. If the archeological department takes initiative then it is sure that another Mahenjudaro can be discovered at this place. Because of the negligence of the Assam Govt and respective departments this has not become a place of tourist interest till now.”