Northeast India is a favourite among tourists, with its abundance of natural resources making it a place of immense beauty. Among the Northeast's many beautiful locations is the world's smallest inhabited river island, Umananda Island, in Assam.
Attracting visitors from every corner of the world, Umananda Island is situated on the Brahmaputra. This island has historical as well as religious significance and comprises several ethnocultural groups.
Legend has it that Lord Shiva created this island for his wife Parvati’s happiness. Another name given to the island is Bhasmachal and there is an interesting story behind it. Apparently, the God of Love as per Indian mythology, Kamdev, was burnt to ashes here after interrupting Shiva who was in deep meditation.
The island is hugely popular as it inhabits golden langurs, one of the most endangered primate species. A story goes that these langurs were left behind by two youth nearly 35 years ago and they have survived till now. These langurs, otherwise hostile, have adapted to humans because of frequent visitors here. Five of them live on the island now.
Also known as Peacock Island due to its resemblance to peacock feathers, one historically prominent place here is Umananda temple. This temple was built in 1964 by Ahom King Gadadhar Singha and attracts thousands of devotees. The devotees come to this sacred shrine to offer prayers and seek blessings from Shiva.
While speaking with ANI News, a pilgrim, Geeta Mehta, said,
I appreciate the lived ancient tradition and the rich heritage of this temple and the people's efforts to hold on to the tradition and to have preserved such old heritage. Kamakhya is known to everyone and Umananda is also very significant as to seek blessings from such ancient temple is in itself a feel-good thing.
This island can be accessed through a 10-minute-long ferry ride. These motorboats are available every day between 7 am and 5 pm. Many tourists find their way to the island, which is located between the north and south Guwahati, in search of peace and mesmerising beauty.