In the River Brahmaputra, the Peacock Island is located just in the middle; here stands the revered Umananda Temple, where the presiding deity is of Lord Shiva. The island is the world’s smallest riverine island, which is inhabited by people. The Shiva temple was built in the island by the well known Shaivaite king of the Ahoms, Gadadhar Singha. The temple is situated on top of a mountain called Bhasmachala. According to the local myth, Lord Shiva used to reside in this place as Bhayananda. Kalika Puran, a mythical Hindu text suggests that at the beginning of creation, Shiva was busy in meditation, when Kamdeva, the God of love and desire, came and interrupted his ritual. Shiva became angry, and with a glance burned him into ashes. He then sprinkled the ashes at this spot. Since Kamadeva was burned down at this place, the hill is called bhasmachala or bhasmakuta. The temple has a presiding deity called Umananda, another appearance of Shiva. On the day of Shiva Chaturdashi, a fair is held in the area, which is an attraction for devotees. The temple was known to be created by Bar Phukan Gharhganya Handique in 1694 A.D under the direction of the Ahom king, Gadadhar Singha. The temple houses a number of rock cut structures which shows the exquisite craftsmanship of the sculptures of the region. The temple therefore has archaeological significances other than the religious one.
Popular things to do and see in and around
Offering prayer to the God of the temple is one of the main aim of the devotees. You can also enjoy the colorful fair which is organized every Shiva Chaturdashi in the area. The scenic beauty of the area too is breathtaking.
To reach the small island, one has to take ferry services. It is a 10 – 15 minutes boat ride to the Peacock Island.
Best Time to Visit
If you are interested in offering prayers and enjoy the festive spirit, the best time to visit will be during the Shiva Chaturdashi. Summer is generally quite hot and humid, and monsoon can be extreme as well. Winter is a good time to visit the place.