Urvasi or Urvashi Island, Guwahati

This small river island is situated in the midst of the Brahmaputra River near Guwahati. The rocky outcrop bears archaeological carvings, inscription and figures. The rock-cut sculptures of Surya, seated image of Ganesha, Visnu and forms of ten avataras are beautifully carved on the outcrop. Rock inscriptions are engraved in late Brahmi and Nagari characters. A pillar is provided at the site probably for indicating the danger spot during rainy season when the island gets submerged by river water.

Source: Archaeological Survey of India, Guwahati Circle

According to R.D. Choudhury author of Art and Archaeology of the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam, Urvasi is a small rocky island in the Brahmaputra near the (erstwhile) Court of the Deputy Commissioner, in Guwahati. Here some rock-cut sculptures are seen. A few lines of letters are also traced here, inscribed on a rock and they are almost washed away, as during the rainy and summer seasons the island has to face the strong current of the river. There are also traces of some carved alignments, rock-cut sopanas, small holes, meant probably for iron clamps and wooden posts or nails. From the alignment of the plan of the temple is supposed to have existed here once, a small shrine on the rock having garbhagrha and a small mandapa. In the garbhagrha traces of two miniature Sivalingas and a padma (?) evidently Vishnupadas, are noticed. Chiseled stone blocks are also noticed in this place.

According to archaeologists, the origins of these sculptures could go as far back as the 11th century CE. Additionally, on a lone rock overlooking the river is a female form that some historians describe as that of Urvashi, the celestial nymph. The sculpture, however, does not face the Nilachal hill where the Kamakhya temple is located; instead it looks out northward. The rock inscriptions are engraved in late Brahmi and Nagari characters.

The island is approachable in the dry months (subject to weather & river condition) when river Brahmaputra recedes and the island of Urvasi or Urvashi reappears.