Umananda Temple

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Timings : 5:30 AM - 6:00 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

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Umananda Temple, Guwahati Overview

Umananda Temple is located on Peacock Island that lies on the mighty Brahmaputra River. This serene place of worship is named after and dedicated to Lord Shiva. The name 'Umananda' comes from the two Hindi words, namely 'Uma', which was another name for Lord Shiva’s wife and 'Ananda' which means happiness. In fact, Peacock Island is one of the smallest inhabited island and possibly one of the most beautiful too. The surroundings of the temple and the divine but understated beauty of the island make it a haven for nature lovers.

The temple is situated on the top of a hill called Bhasmakala or Bhasmakuta. The island was originally built in 1694 A.D. by King Gadadhar Singha. However, it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1897 and later rebuilt by a wealthy local merchant. The Umananda temple was crafted beautifully by the skilled Assamese workmen. Aside from Lord Shiva, there are 10 other Hindu Gods whose idols reside in the shrines.

Aside from being a place of worship, The Umananda temple is also a pleasurable exception to the typical places of worship. Devoid of the cacophony of forceful religion, this place has a serene environment which makes you want to sit down for a while and absorb the beauty of the place.

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History of Umananda Temple

The Umananda temple was earlier known as Umananda devaloi which means "The abode of Lord Shiva". As can be gathered from the name, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The magnificent temple was built in 1694 by the Bar Phukan Gadadhar Singha. However, the order was issued by King Gadadhar Singha who was one of the mightiest kings of the Ahom kingdom.

According to a legend, Lord Shiva resided on this island as Bhayananda. It is said that at the beginning of creation, Lord Shiva sprinkled ashes here and imparted the supreme knowledge to his wife, Parvati. The temple's actual history is overshadowed by many such legends. It is said that the Goddess Urvasi resides on this island and brinks "amrit" or nectar for Goddess Kamakhya. That is why the island is also called Urvasi island. Even the Bhasmakuta hill on which the temple is located has a story. Legend says that when Kamadeva disturbed Lord Shiva during his meditation, he turnedKamadevaa into ashes on this hillock, hence earning it the name of Bhasmakuta.

During the Mughal rule in Kamrupa, the Umananda temple received grants and donations from the Mughal emperors Jahangir and Aurangzeb. Sadly, the mighty temple was heavily damaged in an earthquake in 1897. It was later rebuilt by a rich merchant who was a devotee of Lord Shiva.

Architecture of Umananda Temple

Although the temple is devoted to Lord Shiva, it has shrines of ten other Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Idols of Surya, Ganesha, Shiva and the Devi, and the ten incarnations of Vishnu are found in the Umananda temple. The beautifully designed temple can be reached by a winding flight of stairs. The temple in itself is an epitome of the mastery of the Assamese craftsmen and architects. The sanctum sanctorum encloses the rock on which Lord Shiva sat to meditate.

Umananda Temple Timings

The Umananda Temple is open for visitors from 5:30 AM to 6:00 PM on all days of the week.

Festivals Celebrated at Umananda Temple

Maha Shivratri is celebrated in this temple with great pomp and show. As the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, this festival is of utmost importance here. Mondays are considered to be the holiest days of the week and devotees from far and wide come to offer their respects on this day.

How To Reach Umananda Temple

The Umananda Temple can be reached easily from Guwahati and North Guwahati by ferries. Ferries are available from the Fancy Bazaar ghat and the Sukleshwar ghats. In spite of being expensive, travelling in ferries is quite an experience. Tourists get to experience the might of the Brahmaputra River, and the view is breathtaking. However, a much cheaper option is to avail the Inland Water transport which connects the Peacock island to Guwahati from Uzanbazaar Ferry Ghat.

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