Umananda Island – Visit the Smallest Inhabited River Island in the World

In the middle of the gigantic Brahmaputra River in Guwahati, Assam, lies the smallest inhabited river island, Umananda Island. This island was once home to endangered golden langurs. The island is known for various fascinating stories, and there’s a story behind its name too.

The Brahmaputra River flowing through Guwahati, Assam, carries the world’s smallest river island, Umananda Island. In the British era, they named it Peacock Island because its structure resembles the peacock’s feather. There are many mythological stories related to the island. According to Hindu mythology, the island derives its name Uma from the goddess Parvati whereas ananda means joy. There is a belief that Lord Shiva created this island for the happiness of Goddess Parvati. Along with the goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva himself resided here in the form of Bhayananda. Owing to the plethora of lush greenery and scenic beauty of its landscapes, this island is worth your visit.

Amidst all the stories associated with this temple, one such story represents the reason behind its name, Bhasmanchal Island. Here, bhasma means to destroy, and chal means place. Kamdev interrupted Lord Shiva while meditating and was burned into ashes. Once you reach the island, you’ll get the chance to visit the Umananda Temple, built in the 18th century alongside the Brahmaputra River.  Holding a solid religious belief, here you can enjoy the sight of rock-cut figures of Ganesha, Surya, Vishnu, and other Hindu deities crafted by the local craftsmen.

Witness the unique architecture and scriptures carved in the Kamdev temple on the island. Dotted with tamarind trees, it is home to a broad range of flora & fauna; hence, you can spot various endangered species here.  Also, for adventure enthusiasts, there are several hiking trails to enjoy Guwahati’s serene landscapes, cityscape views, and waterfalls from the top.

Whenever the Brahmaputra River is in a cluster and flood happens, there is a complete cut-off to the island. One of the fascinating features of this temple is that it has some supernatural powers which keep it safe from the floods.

At some point, everyone needs a break from the hustle – bustle of daily life where they can relax and find peace. Umananda Island is a perfect getaway for those seeking peace and relaxation. Get a mindblowing experience by going on a boat ride to the Brahmaputra River to soak in the stunning sunset over the island.

Timings – 5:30 am to 5:00 pm

Golden Langurs

The Golden Langurs are the major attraction for tourists visiting the island, and visitors used to offer fruits to them. The priest at the temple said that years ago, a Nepali couple donated a pair of golden langurs to the Lord Shiva Temple. After some time, they grew in numbers, but later, some Langurs died due to injuries or falling off the trees.

Then the wildlife authorities decided to shift them to the zoo, but one Langur remained on the island due to his opposition. If you had visited this island before 2020, you would have spotted the lone golden langur there. But, somehow, due to the prolonged depression and loneliness, the only Golden Langur seen having behavioral changes passed away, making the island lonely. Once home to Golden, langurs have now become extinct on this island. You can now only feel the essence of them from the stories that you’ll get to hear from the locals.

Life of Locals on the Island

Except for priests, local fishermen, and a handful of people, none reside there. Everyone vacates the Island by 5 p.m. on the last ferry. Locals living on the Island are engaged in agriculture and sell vegetables for a living. While on the island, you can interact with these locals to explore their daily routines.

Umananda Island Festival

Mahashivratri is a festival celebrated widely at Umananda Island. Tourists travel across places to witness the celebrations of Mahashivratri on this particular Island. It is a significant belief that Lord Shiva grants all the wishes of his devotees on this day if they pray with good intentions. You’ll notice early preparations start ahead of Mahashivratri. Also, if you are not able to attend this Umananda Island festival of Mahashivratri, do not worry, as you can envelop yourself in the spiritual vibes on Mondays. Therefore, Monday is also found auspicious on this Island. But try to make your plans around this time to be part of the grand celebrations of Mahashivratri.

Best Time to Visit Umananda Island

The best time to visit Umananda Island is from October to May. During this time, the weather is pleasant, with relatively less rainfall. Therefore, this time will make an ideal period for a trip to Umananda Island. However, do check the weather forecast before planning your trip so that you can carry your essentials accordingly.

How to Reach Umananda Island

The only way to reach Umananda Island is by ferry or motor boat, as it is in the middle of the Brahmaputra River. You can get a ferry or motor boat from the Fancy Bazaar Ghat on the banks of the Brahmaputra River. If you are traveling by ferry, it will take 10-15 minutes, while if you take a motor boat, it will take 5 minutes to reach the island.

A vital tip: check the motor boat and ferry availability beforehand. Sometimes the ferry or motor boat may be closed due to some festivities.

Explore the unmatched beauty of Umananda Island and witness the sunset behind the island from the boat. So, what’s stopping you now? Go on Indian Holiday and contact our experts to customize your itinerary for the Assam Trip NOW!

Janvi Saini

A wanderer who finds solace in discovering unique locations and penning down stories of different parts of the world.