Majuli – A Peaceful Retreat in Assam

Majuli
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons | Creator: Dhrubazaan Photography

Majuli is a river island, located in the Indian state of Assam. It is a fascinating destination that offers a wealth of natural and cultural wonders. This magnificent island, which is situated in the Brahmaputra River, is the largest river island in the world, spanning an area of around 352 square kilometers. Majuli River Island is home to a vibrant culture, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking scenery, making it a popular destination for travelers seeking an authentic and enriching experience. Since 2004, Majuli has been included in the UNESCO Tentative List for potential nomination as a World Heritage Site.

Overview of Majuli Island

The lush green Majuli island nestled amidst the glistening and magnificent River Brahmaputra is an alluring sight for the eyes. Its breathtaking scenery coupled with the absence of pollution and the presence of greenery makes it a desirable destination for globetrotters.

Mishing traditional house Majuli e1676482135868
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons | Creator: Rumi Borah~aswiki

As one delves deeper into the island’s essence, its unique cultural tapestry unfolds. Majuli is primarily inhabited by tribals, and their way of life is a testimony to their deep-seated beliefs and traditions. Owing to its cultural wealth, Majuli is also popularly known as the cultural capital of Assam. Festivals are an integral part of its cultural identity, and they are celebrated with great gusto, enthusiasm, and vibrancy. Music and dance play a significant role in these festivals, Raas, is particularly intriguing to witness.

The Raas festival transforms Majuli into a true pilgrimage site, where devotees consider the island to be the dwelling place of the Lord and other divine beings for the duration of the four-day celebration that commences on Raas Purnima day.

Fishermen life
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons | Creator: Udit Kapoor

Majuli’s significance is also tied to the propagation of the Sattriya culture. This culture has played a pivotal role in binding various ethnic groups of the region through the dissemination of religious ideologies of Neo-Vaishnavism and its cultural traditions. Since the 15th century, this culture has been integral to Majuli’s identity and has contributed significantly to the island’s rich heritage.

Places To Visit In Majuli

Kamalabari Satra

A well-known location on the island is Kamalabari Satra, a religious site that contains significant artifacts related to art, culture, literature, and classical studies. The North Satra, which is a part of Kamalabari Satra, takes part in various cultural events featuring Satria art held in different cities across India.

Dakhinpat Satra

The main Satra supported by the Ahom Ruler, this ancient educational center attracts numerous devotees year-round. Rasotsava, one of the primary festivals of Assam, is celebrated here with great enthusiasm and fervor. The highlight of the festival is the performance of Rasleela on the night of the full moon.

One of the many satras e1676482387453
Courtesy: Flickr | Creator: Carsten ten Brink

Auniati Satra

Founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva, this center is famous for its Apsara and Paalnaam dance performances and boasts an extensive collection of traditional Assamese utensils, jewelry, and handicrafts, including old ones.

Garmur

Gamur is one of the significant holy seats and a popular attraction in Majuli. The destination is also home to other prominent holy seats such as Auniati, Daksinpath, and Kamlabari. As a Vaishnavite spot, Gamur houses several ancient artifacts and articles, with the most notable being Bortop.

Reaching and Getting around the island:

Reaching Majuli is an adventure in itself. To get there, one has to reach Neamati Ghat through rickshaws or shared taxis, which are available from Jorhat town. At Neamati Ghat, Ferry rides are available from 8:30 AM to 4 PM. However, it is advisable to arrive a bit early, as the ferries can get crowded quickly.

Once on the island, visitors can hire a Sumo Taxi to visit all Satras by bargaining the rates to 60-70% of the offered amount. Satras are the cultural centers of Majuli, and visiting them is a great way to immerse oneself in the unique culture of the island. Kamalabari Satra, for instance, houses significant articles related to art, culture, literature, and classical studies.

Ferries in Majuli e1676482295674
Courtesy: Flickr | Creator: Carsten ten Brink

The North Satra, another portion of the Kamalabari Satra, participates in several cultural events of Satra art in various Indian cities. This place is also popular for crafting many beautiful boats and designing sculptures of mythological characters.

Auniati Satra, on the other hand, is famous for its Apsara and Paalnaam dance and features a wide collection of traditional Assamese utensils, jewelry, and handicrafts. Old utensils, jewelry, and handicrafts are also housed in the center. Dakhinpat Satra, the chief Satra patronized by the Ahom Ruler, is an ancient educational center that is visited by thousands of devotees throughout the year. Rasotsava, a prime festival of Assam, is celebrated with great enthusiasm and passion here. The Rasleela performed on a full moon night is the highlight of this festival.

Majuli Island in the fields e1676481894505
Courtesy: Flickr | Creator: Carsten ten Brink

Return ferries are available from Kamalabari Ghat till 3 PM. However, due to the long ferry ride and early arrival back, visitors might want to spend more than one night in Majuli to fully experience its natural beauty and unique culture. So, whether you’re looking for a peaceful getaway or an opportunity to immerse yourself in a unique culture, Majuli is definitely a place worth visiting.

Best time to visit Majuli

The stunning river island of Majuli is best visited during the winter season when the cool temperatures and breathtaking views create a beautiful ambiance. It is advisable to avoid visiting during the summer when the high temperatures can cause discomfort and nausea due to humidity. However, the monsoon season is another great time to visit as frequent showers bring the surroundings to life and create a beautiful atmosphere.

 

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