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River Island of Majuli
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Majuli - The World's Largest River Island
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The Journey to Majuli A ferry at Nemati ghat, just off Jorhat in Assam, gets you to Majuli, the worlds largest river island, with 800 sq km of forest and beach. Majuli's biodiversity creates an ideal homing ground for birds. Its monasteries house priceless relics, music, arts and crafts are part of 500 year cultural heritage. Islanders include Mishing tribals, Ahoms and Kacharis. Majuli has been proposed as the Unesco World Heritage Site.

Majuli is famous as the world's biggest ( though rapidly eroding) river island, but it's really most interesting for its 22 satras, Hindu Vaishnavaite monasteries that also function as centers for Assamese arts. The institution of the satra was founded in the 15th century by the Assamese poet, composer and philosopher Sankardeva. At the Majuli satras, Vishnu is worshipped through dance dramas re-enacting the stories of the Mahabharata, and with music and poetry. Sankardeva saw Vishnu as the pre-eminent deity, without form, a concept that marks Assamese Hinduism apart from the other traditions.

Majuli's face uplifted to the limitless frontiers of the blue sky, her feet perpetually caressed by the lapping waters of the holy Brahmaputra, her vision stretched to the distant hills of the Himalayan and other ranges, Majuli is a creation of none other than the master craftsman who moulded the universe - God himself.

No wonder then that the sublime and the serene atmosphere of the island - the intimate companionship of the soul with the elements and the river - provided the backdrop for the historic "Moni kanchan Sanjog" between Assam's pioneer Vaishnavite Saints Shankardeva and his disciple Madhavdeva in the 15th century. Ever since that meeting of the great minds and the subsequent establishment of "Satras" that followed. Majuli emerged as the crowning glory of Vaishnavite culture in Assam. Multifaceted in its attractions. Majuli, unfolds a variety of interest to the tourist - rare migratory birds; traditional handicrafts and pottery;ethnic culture and dance forms; water sports etc.

Location: The island is situated in the North latitude of 26 degree 45 - 27degree 12 and in the East Longitude of 93 degree 39 - 94 degree 35.

Subansiri River Area and Population: According to the report of Mr. J.H. Mills in 1853 the total area of Majuli was 2,82, 165 acres. But due to strong erosion of the river Brahmaputra it has been gradually decreasing and the present area is less than 886 sq. kms. From a historical source, in 1901 the population of the island was 35,000. As per 1991 census the population of Majuli is 1,35, 378.

On the North bank the river "Subansiri" and on the South bank the river Brahmaputra has separated the island from the main land. While Lakhimpur is on the North, and Golaghat is to its South-west. Sibsagar is on the South-East and Jorhat is to the South of Majuli. On the extreme East is Dibrugarh District.

The population of Majuli is made up of Ahoms, Kacharis, Brahmins, Kalitas, Koch Rajbongshis, Bonias, Koibartas, Naths, Misings, Deoris, Suts, Chutias, Sonowal Kacharis, Nomosudras, Nepalis, Kumars, Bengalis and Rajasthanis etc. The main tribes living in Majuli are the Misings, the Deoris and Sonowal Kacharis.

How To Go: Majuli can be reached by three main routes - Jorhat Nimatighat from Jorhat. Dhokuakhana from Dhemaji and Luit - Khabolughat from North Lakhimpur. Besides these, there are many ghats with single machine boat from both banks of the Brahmaputra.

What to See: Vaishnava satras founded by Sankardeva, the father of Assamese culture.
In fifteen century Shankardeva took shelter in Majuli and spent a couple of months at Beloguri (in West Majuli), which was a place of glory for the historic and auspicious; 'Manikanchan Sanjog' between Shankardeva and Madhavdeva. This was the first "satra" in Majuli. From "Manikanchan Sanjog" there had been sixty five " Satras growing up for propogation of ethics and socio-cultural ideals. But at present there are only twenty two satras in Majuli.

The other had to shifted to other safer places due to devastation of flood and erosion. Among those the main existing satras are (a) Dakhinapat Satra (b) Garamurh Satra (c) Auniati Satra (d) Kamalabari Satra (e) Bengenaati Satra and (f) Samaguri Satra . These Satras are the treasure house of "Borgeet" Matiakhara, Jumora dance, Chali Dance, Notua Dance, Dasavater Dance Nande Vringee, Sutradhar, Ozapali, Apsara Dance, Satria Krishna Dance, Dasavater Dance etc. which were contributed by Shri Shankaradeva.They're all about 5 km apart; taxis and auto-rickshaws are available. It's possible to stay at some satras but you should make a donation. The other alternatives are the Circuit House in Garamur, or lodgings with villagers.
(a) Dakhinpat Satra: Dakhinpat Satra was founded by Banamalidev, an exponent of Raasleela, which is now observed as one of the National Festivals of Assam.
(b) Garamurh Satra: This "Satra" was founded by Lakshmikantadeva. During Autumn ending traditional RAASLEELA (co-acting) is shown with great enthusiasm. Some ancient weapons called "Bortop" (canons) are preserved here.
(c) Auniati Satra: Founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva, the Satra is famous for "Paalnaam" and Apsara Dance and also its considerable of Assamese old utensils, jewellery and handicrafts.
(d) Kamalabari Satra: Kamalabari Satra founded by Bedulapadma Ata, is a centre of art, cultural, literature and classical studies. Its branch uttar kamalbari Satra has performed cultural program of Satria Art in several states of India and abroad.
(e) Bengenaati Satra: It is a store house of antiques of cultural importance and an advance centre of performing art, Muraridev, the grand son of Sankaradeva's step mother has founded the Satra. The royal robes belong to the Ahom king Swargadeo Gadadhar Singha, made of gold and an umbrella which is also made of gold, are preserved here.
(f) Samaguri Satra: The satra is resources with famous Mask - crafts in India.

Other Attractions
» The entire plain tribes also possess a colourful and resourceful cultural entity.
» Various species of rare migratory birds like Pelican are found in Majuli.
» Festival like ALI-AI-LVIGANG of the Mising tribe is also celebrated here during the first Wednesday of the month GINMUR
POLO. (February - March).
» The pottery making centre is situated at Upper Majuli.
» Many suitable places are there for viewing the full sunset during winter.
» The PAAL NAAM at Auniati Satra is a huge mela, helds at the end of Autumn.
» Another festival performed by the Sonowal Kacharis tribe is "Bathow Puja". Where Lord Shiva is worshiped with high
veneration.

There are ferries in the morning and afternoon from Neamati Ghat, 13 km north of Jorhat. From the landing stage on Majuli there's usually a bus for the 8 km journey to the island's capital, Garamur. To visit the satras you can hire a auto-rickshaw / taxi in Garamur.

Write to us for a detailed program and rates.