Majuli -The air of an Island, I believe, is different than any other region in this world. Islands have always been a unique attraction to the people around the world.
I am talking about Majuli, the biggest River Island in the world & right in my home state Assam. Why don’t you read my experience and introducing the beautiful yet less explored places in India?
WHY MAJULI ISLAND?
You think of Maldives, Bora Bora, Palawan, all these fantastic Islands holds dreams of paradise, allowing us to escape from life race and relax under the whispering plums over full popping sand.
They are part of a beautiful ocean. However, it’s a different scenario here in Majuli, the biggest River Island in the world, in the heart of Brahmaputra. The Brahmaputra forms the Island in the south and Subansiri and Kherkutia Xuti in the north.
SUGGEST MAJULI TRIP
We are always in a hurry to tick off our bucket list, however, I will suggest you reserve at least 5-7 days to plan and explore beautiful Majuli. Either you can arrive in Guwahati or Jorhat from your source location and then plan an onward journey to Majuli.
If your travel plan falls between November to April, I will suggest you visit Kaziranga national park and witness the exclusive Rhinoceros. We have a detailed post on Kaziranga Itinerary for your reference.
History of Majuli in short: In the age of 16th centuries Majuli was a long and narrow piece of land being called as “Majoli (land in the middle of two parallel rivers).” It was also named as Ratnapur, the capital of powerful Chutia Kingdom. Later, during a massive flood and earthquake, Brahmaputra River changed its shaped and formed the 880 square kilometer Island.
From the past Majuli is well known for its culture and later Srimanta Sankardeva established Satras in Majuli which symbolize the Island as an essential ethical region of India. For the first time in India, Majuli Island becomes the first ever Island to be declared as a district in 2016.
FROM SIVASAGAR TO MAJULI
Back in August 2018, I started my journey from my home city, Sivasagar to this beautiful River Island. I had an alternate road to Majuli across Dibrugarh but decided to follow the shortest path through Jorhat in favour of lower travel cost.
It was, of course, an 85 km long journey, and I needed 3 hours to reach my Destination Island. I want to divide the full journey into two part. The first part of the trip from home to Nimati Ghat was a road journey following by water travel.
From Nimati Ghat I had to wait almost an hour for Ferry (Nimati Ferry Service) to reach Pohar Dia (Kamala Bari Ferry Terminal). However, the Island has other two ferry services as well on Dhokaukhana, and Luit- Khabolughat.
Kamala Bari Ferry Terminal is the southern entrance to the Majuli Island. The Ferry is the most common entrance of Majuli Island for travellers around the world. For me, as soon as I put my feet on the shining wet sends and look around, I had a feeling, “this got to be the 352 square kilometers giant River Island Majuli”.
On first sight, Majuli is a beautiful island with a colourful nature. The compact tree lines, wide green field, curvy beach increases the curiosity by a lot. Moreover, the view of blurry villages covered by lite dense forest from the bank of Brahmaputra attracted me to find the hidden treasure inside it.
VISIT THE PEACEFUL VILLAGE OF MAJULI
The village of Majuli Island preserve the Assamese national customs with a colourful and vibrant cultural tradition more than any other places in the state. The festivals and fairs are the primary approaches to represent the wealth of Assamese culture. The simplicity of villages reflects the beauty of a harmonized village life, which the natives are currently living.
From the Ferry Ghat, my destination was Kamalabari Satra. In the middle, I crossed a village called Kathanibari.
What I felt, with minimum requirements of life people of this village are very satisfied with the necessity of their living. I discovered a group of children carrying fresh fruits, an older person with a bucket of vegetables, young people fishing on the Tuni River. Those moments were enough to curve my face with a pleasing fashion.
In this opportunity, I would like to mention that Majuli Island holds a total of 246 villages with a population of 1, 67,304 peoples according to the census 2011. The Island consists of mix communities such as the Mishing tribe, Sonwal kachauris, and Deoris.
#1. SIGNIFICANT OF VILLAGE TRADITIONS
Explaining all these villages in one article is not an easy task, neither have I wanted to make it lengthy. The “Mishing Village” is one of the most significant among them. The tribe houses are uniquely built with Bamboo and at least 6 feet above from the ground. These houses are called “Sung Ghar” in the tribal language which protects them during the flood.
During the festival the local music and dancing are mesmerizing. Other villages hold their unique identity as well, but mostly their cultures and traditions are the same.
#2. VILLAGE TRANSPORTATION OF MAJULI
Most of the village roads are made of pebbles and covered by soil and dust particles. Width of the streets are sufficient for one bus, and I can’t think about another bus crossing each other. Villagers mostly use Motorbikes and bicycles as personal transportation.
To cross the small rivers and Lake, People use Bamboo Bridges. Some Bridges are made over the Bamboo/concrete post, and others are linear with the ground.
#3. CLUSTERATION PROCESS OF VILLAGE
After harvesting, the rice seeds are separated from crops and clustered in a huge Bamboo made container called “Bharal.” It keeps the seeds safe and time to time people bring out some portion of the seeds to convert them into the grain (rice).
In spite of having almost everything an ideal village life needs, the villages of Majuli still requires mass education system, frequent hospitality, public healthcare plans and I must say the cell phone network coverage was poor quality.
WITNESS THE SATRAS AND CULTURE OF MAJULI
I was on the way to Kamalabari Satra…The history of Satra was started 500 years ago when revered Assamese saint Srimanta Sankardeva established several of them to educate people about Neo-Vaishnavite Dharma and to broaden the cultural practices. Since then, Majuli has been the cultural capital and crib of Assamese civilization.
Currently, the Island has 22 Satras which is the only ⅓ of the initially established 65 Satras. According to the natives, some Satras were devastated during yearly floods and constant erosion, and others were shifted to safer places across Assam.
In recent days, the Satras still propagate ethics and socio-cultural ideals to the nation as well as holds the precious historical utensils, weapons, and pieces of jewelry.
#1. KAMALA BARI SATRA
As soon as I reach the destination, I saw a recolored (Blue) entrance with the name “Kamala Bari Satra” established in 1515. It is an old fashioned elegant entrance. A few steps ahead on the right-hand side the Satra will welcome you with a beautifully designed wall and paintings of the Hindu Gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
It is fascinating, and the core part of the Satra, we call it “Monikuta,” is visible from its front door where people pray to Lord Krishna.
Note: There are in total 4 Satras at Kamalabari. So their names are pretty much identical. These four Satras participate in several cultural events of “Satriya Art (Dance).”
#2. SRI SRI AUNIATI SATRA
My next destination was Auniati Satra, arguably holds the highest position among the various Satras in Assam established in 1695. It is a beautiful location with a calm atmosphere, a historical society, and gentle people all around it.
The name “Auni” means Paan is a kind of betel creeper plant, and “Ati” means high place. A top site is full of Paan plants where this great Satra is situated.
The construction of the buildings are attractive. The circular model of the Satra consist of rows of houses “Beha” at its periphery and the temple “Namghar with Monikuta” is in the centre. The large designs on the walls and entrance are so impressive.
In addition to the regular worship is Satra, numerous literacy pursuit, the composition of “Bhaonas,” Satriya dance and song, religious publications are the core part of Auniati Satra.
#3. GARMUR SATRA
Another royal Satra of the Island established in 1656. The Satra is in a very new environment, clean and tidiness gives you a peaceful air to bread and spends ethical moments. From the entry gate to the Namghar, everything is organized so nicely that even if the pieces of stuff are old, they still attract your eyes.
Various cultural festivals are organized at this Satra, and “Raslila” is the main attraction. Both male and female take significant parts in these festivals, which is uncommon than other Satras in Majuli.
#4. DAKHINPAT SATRA
Having a one-time visiting experience like many other people I must say you should not miss Dakhinpat Satra. Very popular among the Satras, established in 1584, this Satra is the 2nd most visited place in the whole Majuli Island.
The Satra has flowers, religious motifs, and animal designs on its entry gate. Sculptures and beautiful paintings on the wall keep this Satra apart from the others. History says Dakhinpat Satra was the home of Satriya dance and other additional “Nitya Kriya” invented by Sankardeva.
Along with other routine Dakhinpat Satra also organize Raslila with a lot of passion and magnificence. I must accept that Dakhinpat is the most decorated Satra I have ever visited.
There are various other Satras as well, holding their own identity and sharing dignity to the people of Majuli. Each Satras are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and other scriptures. However, Satras are the place of study and prayer for the monks who reside there.
They are also known as the centre of performing arts. Another significant of Majuli is the well-known mask-making tradition. Mask of the goddess and it is used for Performance Theatre.
The theatre dedicated to Lord Krishna is called “Raslila” as I have mentioned above. Apart from that, Weaving and Intricate Fabrics are two other specialties that made in the Island.
The vibrant handloom of Majuli is well known globally. People around the world visit the Island every single year for eye witness of these amazing textures on clothes and handmade containers. The convoluted design on Muga silk is one of the rarest handlooms only can be found in Majuli.
FEEL THE BIO-DIVERSITY OF ISLAND & ITS FORESTS
The culture and Satra have always been the primary attraction here, but the biodiversity and natural beauty found in this Island is very rear in the other parts of North-East India.
Highly productive food plants and especially the wetlands, produce an ideal place for the birds. The resident birds are standard on the vast green lands called “Beel,” and a large number of migratory birds visits these lands every year. Some of these bird species are extremely rare in any other region of this world.
Until now, more than 260 bird species have been recorded, and recently northern migrants from Tibet and Siberia are also found. However, to spectate all these bird species in a single day or week is not possible. Someone has to spend a season or half on seeing these beautiful birds flying over the sky or resting on the trees.
Birds are not alone on this list. About 105 common types of fishes are available in the Beel of Majuli. The sustainable amount of fish let the natives fishing very frequently, and hence fishes are one of the significant food of Island people.
Some of the popular Beels of Majuli that you shouldn’t be missed.
#1. CHAKOLI BEEL
Chakoli Beel is located at the east side of the Kamala Bari. According to the locals in November varieties of Birds comes to the Beel creates a fantastic view. The birds cover the whole Beel, and it looks like mixing of colours over a full plate.
#2. VEREKI BEEL
Another Beel near to the previous one. There is no such difference in both of them, but Vereki Beel is also an excellent spot for fishing and bird watching site.
This Beel is one of the most peaceful places in Majuli I have ever seen. The wide Beel is surrounded by paddy field and lite dense jungle. The water vapour creates blurriness, and another side of the Beel remains slightly visible. The significant of this Beel is that local birds are available for all twelve months a year. Daukpara Beel one of those place which should not be missed during a trip to Majuli.
Other Beels such as Borbilla, Rambolia, etc. are a fantastic spot for bird watching too.
NEVER MISS THE SOFT SUNRISE AND INVENTIVE SUNSET
Get up early in the morning to enjoy the soft rays of Sun. You will fall in love with the new nature. If possible, try to visit the Brahmaputra River in the early morning to see those golden sun rays on cloud and reflection on blue water. The baby sun rays will melt your heart deep inside.
However, the sunset of Majuli is unique. Many people around the world come to experience the evening of Majuli because of its popularity. Pick a spot near the river bank. I would suggest at least before 4 PM and wait for the magical sunset to touch your soul and beautiful smile.
VISIT THE PADDY FIELD & TEST LOCAL FOODS OF MAJULI
Being a part of Assam, Majuli’s traditional agricultural is of paddy crop. The people grow various types of rice without any pesticides or fertilizers. However, the different kinds of rice are produced in a specific, such as Komal and Bao Dhan, which is harvest after six to seven months, mostly in May-June or June-July.
The sad news is that during the flood and continuous erosion, cultivators of Majuli had to suffer substantial loss every single year. Still, these hardworking people managed to repeat the whole process of cultivation once again after the flood.
Who doesn’t need food? The weather condition devastates in Majuli, and this is not a one-time unfortunate process. The natives of this Island had to do the work twice which other Assamese residents do for a single time per year. All we can do is wishing to end this horrible disaster.
#1. LOCAL FOOD AND RICE BEER
In spite of having such agricultural situation, the local food of Majuli is yummy, and you will love the luxurious treat with famous Rice Beer.
Komal Soul with Milk and Jiggery, Muri with Cream and Sugar, Xandoh with Local Cow Milk are the most delicious dishes I doubt you will find any other region of India. They are healthy too.
STAY IN GUEST HOUSE OR EXPERIENCE NIGHT AT SATRA
Perhaps you won’t get the most sophisticated hotels in Majuli like any other places in India, but the Bamboo made the guest house, Standalone resorts, and especially the bookable rooms in Satras will let you have a peaceful dream in the night along with tasty local foods.
The hotel rooms are suitable to be, and the nearby nature will attract you towards the window or maybe outside if you prefer a free look and broader view.
The available guest houses available in Majuli can be found in this list. Or you can check more on Google about the hotels.
PICK YOUR FERRY IN TIME WHILE RETURNING
In general, ferries are available from the early morning and continuously transport people, cars, bikes, and other luggage, but after 4 PM you might not get your boat to Jorhat from Pohar Dia as well as from other Ferry stations.
So prefer to ticket Ferry in the morning time or at least before 3:30 PM. While returning from Majuli don’t forget to have a look at the river from the top of the Ferry. This is a unique and daunting angle to look at the high current of river water from the top or chilling of the ships.
SUMMARY & CONCLUSION
This is my personal experience of three days journey to the World’s Biggest River Island and the ideal district of Assam in terms of natural beauty and religion.
I request all the readers to visit Majuli, the beautiful Island, and experience the heart touching welcome of nature and its hidden treasures. Thank you for reading at TravelEscape and don’t forget to ask your question related to this Majuli. Cheer.
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