7th Feb 2011
Umananda Temple is located on a small riverine island called Peacock Island in the Brahmaputra river. It is one of the smallest riverine islands in India. In 1694 A.D, Bar Phukan Garhganya Handique constructed the temple under orders from King Gadadhar Singh of the Tai-Ahom dynasty. An earthquake in the year 1897 damaged the original temple and a local merchant later rebuilt it. The innumerous engravings and sculptures that adorn the rock walls of the temple are incomparable in beauty and depict the excellent craftsmanship of the local Assamese artisans, which speak passionately of the masterly skill of the Assamese craftsmen. Apart from this, sculptures of Lord Vishnu and his ten incarnations are also found in the vicinity of the temple. The walls of the temple are adorned with exquisitely carved rock-cut figures of gods and goddesses. The sculptures here show that the worshippers there followed all the principal Hindu gods. There are representations of Surya, Ganesha, Shiva and Devi in addition to those of Vishnu and his ten incarnations.
The plot of land over which the temple has been raised is called Bhasmachala. Kalika Purana and it says that, in the beginning of the creation, Siva dropped ashes (bhasma) at this place and imparted knowledge to Parvati (his consort). Legend has it that once, while Lord Shiva was meditating on this hillock, Kamadeva interrupted his yoga and for which the Kamdev was destroyed by Shiva by using his third eye i.e. the eye of destruction. That is why the place has become famous as Vhasmachala or Vhasmashaila. According to the Kalika Purana, goddess Urvashi who brings nectar for the pleasure of Kamakhya resided here and therefore, the island is also called Urvashi Island.
The presiding deity of the temple is Umananda (Tatrasti bhagavan sambhu- ruma- nandakarah Prabhu). It is believed that, worshiping the deity here on the Amavasya day, which falls on Monday, brings the highest bliss. The Siva Chaturdasi is the most colourful festival that is held here annually. Many devotees come to the temple on this occasion to worship the deity.
Devotees believe that offering prayers here on the Amavasya day when it falls on Monday brings the highest bliss. The annual Shiva Chaturdasi festival attracts follower s from all across the country.