If you are adding places to your bucket list, you definitely need to add the World’s largest river island , Majuli. Being the relatively new to tourism, this island is not going to be here forever it’s slowly eroding away and in 15-20 years it will completely disappear.
It rapidly erodes due to floods
Majuli Island sits slap bang in the middle of the Brahmaputra River. Each year the river levels rise higher and causes major flooding which consumes a massive part of the island. Hundreds of homes washed away and lives taken in the process. This leaves native tribes here are at risk.
With this in mind, the best times to visit Majuli Island is between October – March which are the ‘dry’ winter seasons. If you’re visiting from April – July it’s summer and if you’re visiting from July – September you’ll be visiting in sub-tropical monsoon. These are the months you don’t want to be caught in freak flooding.
You can only access the island
The only way to reach Majuli Island is to catch the ferry that runs 20 kilometres out of the main nearby city of Jorhat, Assam. It will take around an hour to reach there from Jorhat but will take 2 hours to return due to the current.
Majuli is pitching to be Assam’s capital of culture as it hasn’t really got with time times yet. The island preserves a lot of its heritage through Satras which are home to traditional religious practices, art, literature, dancing and theatre.
It’s an island of traditions.. Even the stay
You won’t find 5* hotels or luxury on this island but you will find friendly, cosy, traditional bamboo huts to stay in for a while. There are also some homestays available.
The hospitality of the Majuli people is breath taking, it ertainly has a strict open door policy! Everyone are curious to meet other tourists with open arms and a smile.
Visit World renowned Satras
The Satras of Majuli island have been a sacred part of their culture since the 16th century. There were originally 64 in the heyday of the Neo-Vaisnavism of Sankardeva ideology movement. Nowadays there are 31 in use. Many say if you haven’t visited the Satra’s here, your visit to Majuli Island will remain incomplete. These aren’t just religious institutions on Majuli island, they also provide a home to promote traditional culture, literature and arts.
There are two sides to Satras one is the Grisathi Satras which are liberal, allowing people to marry and promote arts. The others are Udasin which is more of a conservative celibate monastic order. Both are interesting to visit and provide some amazing insight to Assamese culture.
Explore the Shri Shri Dakhinpat Satra Built-in the year 1584, the Shri Shri Dakhinpat Satra is visited by innumerable devotees from all over the world. The Satra is one of the best places to visit in India for serenity seekers. The Satra features a decorated gateway engraved with religious animals, motifs and flowers. Not only the Satra itself but also the journey to this place is spellbinding.
Masks made here are world famous
Masks were used as a medium of performing arts to get messages to the commonest men. The mask designs, depending on the complexity, can take anything from a few weeks to months. They’re firstly made out of paper and clay, then painted. Nowadays mask making is not widely practiced but, the art has been kept alive at the Nutan Chamaguri Satra.
Samaguri Satra. This Satra is a dwelling place of mask makers who show exemplary skills in their field. In fact, they make amazing masks using bamboo base, dried cow dung and other things. Various dramas, called BHAWNA, take place in Majuli from time to time.
Tribal Food and Rice Beer
Visiting Majuli and not savoring the tribal food and rice beer is a blunder! Fish baked in banana leaf (pattot dia mas), sticky rice, Chicken roasted in stick (chicken khorika), Oo Tenga fruit with Fish Curry (Oo Tenga Mas Jul) along with fresh vegetable offer a yummy treat. Furthermore, sip on the local Rice Beer, also known as the Apong to make your trip unforgettable.