Meaning of Uma is Maa means mother, i.e. Parvati and Anand is a name of Lord Shiva.
It is believed that when Lord Shiva was meditating, Goddess Parvati was waiting on the Nilachal hill, hence the name of this temple known as Umananda.
The Nilachal hills can be seen from this temple, where the temple of Goddess Kamakhya Devi, Kamakhya Temple is situated.
Legends of Umananda Temple
A legend associated with the name of the hill, it is described in Kalika Puran that at the beginning of creation when Lord Shiva was meditating on this hill, then Kamadeva interrupted meditation of Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva got angry and opened his third eye, which burnt Kamadeva into ashes (Bhasma), this is the reason that hill is known as Bhasmasala.
Another legend: The temple priests tell that the in Dwapara era Guwahati was known as Prayag Jyotish Pur, then river Brahmaputra was from the north side of this hill. There was a merchant who has many animals. One of the animals was buffalo; Kamadhenu always used to walk on this hill to give milk.
After following, he saw Kamadehnu giving milk under a vine tree. Merchant excavated that place, then show the Shivling there. The same Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of the merchant and ordered to build a temple there. But the Brahmaputra drifted in two parts due to the earthquake on the same night, and that hill becomes an Island in the middle of Brahmaputra river. When the water got down in the river, the merchant reached there and arranged to build a temple.
How to reach Umananda Temple
Hundreds of devotees visit here daily and offer prayers. To reach the temple, first of all, you will have to travel for 15 to 20 minutes by boat, which can be easily found on Xhukleshwar Ghat near Pan Bazaar.
Then after reaching Island and climbing up the stairs, one will reach the temple compound. After the deboarding boat and entering Island, there is an entrance, both sides of the gate Nandi (a holy cow) sitting.
Stairs are there to reach the hilltop from the entrance. After reaching half the height, there are some shops to buy puja materials and a small hotel where people generally take rest and go ahead.
After climbing up a little more temple compound entrance is there, where at the starting there is one small temple of Lord Ganesha. After worshipping Ganesha only, devotees proceed for Umananda Temple.
In the middle of a large hall adjacent to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, Brahma and Vishnu idols are there in the middle of the hall.
On worshipping Brahma and Vishnu and after moving ahead of the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Radhyeshyam is written both sides of the door, and on the top of the gate, a clear picture of Lord Shiva made of bronze.
From here, one will enter into the Umananda temple where one can find a holy lamp running inside the temple. This Eternal lamp is said to be lightened from the day this temple was built and continue to lit today.
This temple is said to be built by Ahom King Gadadhar Singh in the year 1694, after an earthquake in 1897, the main temple was destroyed, and later the temple was constructed again by a local merchant there.
Another red-coloured temple appears adjacent to the original temple which is known as Mahakal Shiva Temple. Mahakal Shiva Temple was built in 1820. Inside this temple also installed Shivalinga. There is another temple adjacent to Mahakal Shiva Temple known as Badrinath Temple, Shivling is also established here.
If devotees hear the sound of drums, then it is time to understand that, Lord Shiva is offered Bhoga and after that devotees or priests are given Prasada.
Umananda Island: Smallest river Island of the world where Umananda temple is situated
Umananda is one of the famous shrines of Guwahati which is situated on Umananda Island, which is smallest river island of world. On the occasion of Shivaratri, many young couples are seen worshipping Shiva with the desire to get a wife like Parvati and a husband like Shiva. Four types of special worships are performed on the auspicious day of Shivaratri, and it said that Bhole Baba (Lord Shiva) fulfils everyone’s wishes
It is said in 1694 when then Ahom king built this temple, and no Brahmin family lived in Assam. That is why two families came here from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh, and till today their generation maintains this temple.
The rule of the temple was that no family of priests would remain on the hill, and this rule is being followed even today. There are a total of 16 priests in this temple today and lives in Changsari.
Although devotees come here every day, on the occasion of Shivaratri, there is no place to even sit on the whole mountain. This temple has another importance that only vegetarian food is offered to Lord Shiva throughout the year but on the day of Shivratri it non-vegetarian food is provided.