Which is the world’s smallest inhabited river island?
Not very far from Guwahati city in Assam, but not too close either, perched on the Brahmaputra river, is the island of Umananda. It is the smallest inhabited river island in the world and has plenty of unusual stories associated with it, beginning from how it got its name.
Legend has it that Lord Shiva lived here much to the ananda or joy of his consort Uma, (another name for Parvati). Hence the name ‘Umananda’.
‘Bhasmachal’ is another name for this island and the story behind it goes thus: Kamadeva, the God of love in Indian mythology was burned to ashes here when he interrupted Shiva who was deep in meditation; ‘bhasma’ means to destroy while ‘chal’ means place.
Umananda is important as it sustains one of the most endangered species of primates - the golden langurs. The species, otherwise hostile, has adapted to human beings especially the tourists who frequent the island. Their number increased to 13 at one point of time but only 5 remain now.
The footfall of tourists has increased in the recent years since the state Inland Water Transport introduced regular ferries to Umananda.
What are the other tourist friendly riverine islands in India?