Having spent a fruitful morning on the Nilachal hills exploring the Kamakhya temple, we decided to explore the Umanada temple in the evening. The temple, located on peacock island between the mighty Brahmaputra River, was built by the great Ahom King Gadadhar Singh in the 17th century. The original temple was badly damaged in the devastating earthquake of 1897. The temple that stands today is built by a rich local merchant.
Umananda temple is an important place of worship, but what drew us there was the ferry ride through the mighty Brahmaputra with the opportunity to witness the sunset over it.
Legend of Umananda Temple:
The ancient Hindu texts Kalika Purana states that Lord Shiva resided on this island in the form of Bhayananda. Shiva sprinkled Bhasma at this place during the creation of the world. Once Kamdeva interrupted Shiva who was deep in meditation on the hillock. Shiva’s anger burnt Kamdeva into ashes. Hence the hillock is named as Bhasmacala. In the Kalika Purana, Urvasikunda is situated here. Urvasi resided here and brought nectar for the enjoyment of Kamakhya. Hence the island is also known as Urvasi island.
Quick Tip: Shiva Chaturdashi is the most colourful festival celebrated here. Do plan a trip around the period of Maha Shivratri as many devotees from all over come to this place. Monday is considered the holiest day of the week, and to receive the highest bliss one shold worship here on an Amavasya day that falls on a Monday.
Reaching Umananda Temple
We got off by bus at the Kachari ghat and took a ferry to Umanada temple. The ferries run every hour with the last one leaving from Kachari ghat to the temple at 4pm. The same ferry returns back in 30 minutes from the temple, and since it was the last one for the day we were compelled to take it back.
In addition, one can also hire a ferry from the Fancy bazaar ghat to the Umananda temple. That is a much longer ride and if you wish to spend more time on the river then this is the one to catch.
There was sufficient seating in the ferry, yet no one could resist the temptation of standing on the deck to capture the beauty of the Brahmaputra river. As a result, the deck got crowded. Yet for the 15-minute journey, it wasn’t much of an inconvenience.
Did you know: In monsoon, when flowing through the plains of Assam, there are regions where the banks of Brahmaputra are more than 5 miles (8 Kms) wide.
We got off from the ferry, and the island is just big enough to accommodate a temple and its devotees. After quickly paying our respects to Shiva, we got our cameras out to shoot the fantastic views from the island. The sun too was on its way down, and almost everyone on the island turned their gaze towards the beautiful sight.
Having watched the sunset over the Brahmaputra we embarked on the journey back to Guwahati bringing an end to a beautiful day in Guwahati.