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The Umananda Temple is a Shiva temple situated in capital city Guwahati in Assam. The main deity of the temple here is Lord Umananda. The temple is situated at Peacock island in the middle of the mighty Brahmaputra river in Guwahati. The Peacock Island where the temple is located is the smallest occupied riverine island in the world. The Umananda temple is located atop the Bhasmacala Mountain in the island. There are boat facilities available on Brahmaputra river to take visitors to the island and the Umananda temple.
History of Umananda Temple
The history of the Umananda temple dates back to the earlier mythological times. It is believed that Lord Shiva resided here in the island in the form of Bhayananda. According to the Kalika Purana, Lord Shiva sprinkled ashes on this spot of the island and then imparted knowledge and teachings to his consort Parvati. Lord Shiva was once meditating on the hillock on the island when Kamadeva interrupted. Lord Shiva became furious and burnt him into ashes. From then on, the hillock got the name Bhasmacala by whch it came to be popularly known. The mountain on the island is also known as Bhasmakuta. According to the Kalika Purana records, the Urvashikunda is situated here in the island as Goddess Urvashi resides here.
The Umananda temple was built by the Ahom king Gadadhar Singha during 1681-1696. The Ahom king was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva for which he built this temple out of devotion. The temple was once damaged during the devastating earthquake which occurred in the year 1897. It was then reconstructed by a local merchant. The merchant inscribed the interior part of the Umananda temple with Vasihnavite slogans and designs. The temple is beautified with rock cut figures and designs. There are also representations of Surya, Lord Ganesh, and the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu along with the idols of Lord Shiva which can be found in the temple.
Umananda Temple Tourist Attraction
The Umananda temple is visited by large number of tourists and devotees who come to pay homage to Lord Shiva. The Umamnda temple also attracts many tourists because of the mesmerizing scenic beauty of the Peacock island. There are many tourists who come to pray at the temple and then sit and enjoy the serene surroundings of the island. People also sometimes visit the peacock island for picnics on the sandy banks of the river Brahmaputra when the water level is low.
Festivals in Umananda Temple
The Shiva Chaturdashi and Maha Shivratri is observed in the temple every year with much fanfare. During these two festivals, the temple is flocked by thousands of devotees. One can also see several devotees who pay visit to the Umanansa temple from far flung areas to offer prayers and seek blessings from Lord Shiva.
How to reach Umananda Temple
The Umananda temple can be reached by ferries and small motor boats which ferry passengers regularly at interval timings to the island. The nearest airport is the Guwahati Railway Junction located few kms away. Gopinath Bordoloi Airport is the nearest airport to the Umananda temple. One can get ferries and motor boats from the Kachari ghat. Buses are also available to Kachari ghat.