Majuli Island is a river island in the Brahmaputra River, Assam and in 2016 it became the first island to be made a district in India. Majuli is also currently listed as world’s largest river island in Guinness book of world’s record. There are so many unique things to look for here for tourists. As such, there are Satra that are very unusual for these travellers. Then the tribal villages in which there are houses of bamboo and weaving work and many birds. There is a different fun in running the cycling peacefully on the crowded raw streets. And it is very pleasant to spend a peaceful life on this island, far away from the whole world. In fact, many foreign tourists come to India only to roam freely. If you ever go to Majuli, do not go like a tourist because maybe there is nothing delightful for you there. If you go there in the form of a passenger there and you completely surrender yourself in this place, then you will see many good things here, which are truly worthy of praise.
Majuli is not only called an island because of its water, but there are many things that actually make it an island special. Jorhat, an important town within the state, falls nearest to the island, being hardly 20 kilometers away. For reaching Majuli, you will first have to reach Jorhat, by air, by rail or by road. Actually Majuli surrounded by the Rivers so there is only one means of transport. The only way to reach Majuli is Ferry, which has been connecting this island to the outside world for generations. People also say that as far as they remember they are not aware of any other way than this round.
Here, Jorhat, gets a round of 5 times a day from Nimati Ghat. According to this ferry season, 60-90 minutes takes people to Majuli and then comes back as often. But on returning, it takes two times to run against the river stream. According to the fluctuations and flows of the river in the river, the ferries on both sides keep changing their positions. Generally, the location of these ferry stations varies from 6 to 7 times a year. Everything on this island comes through this ferry, whether it is fuel or food items. These ferries carry vehicles as well as vehicles from one side to the other, most of which are motorcycles, but there are sometimes some trains that bring the tourists here along with them. The main reason for the unavailability of the necessary doctor facilities on this island is also the means of limited traffic. That is why people have to face a lot of troubles. Occasionally patients have to wait for Jorhat, which is situated about three hours away from Majuli, waiting till the next round. Many times these patients are not even in the circumstances of such a long wait.
It is known that the Government of Assam wants to build a bridge here to connect this island with the mainland, but the bipartisan is probably not much happier than the proposal. As a traveler, I think that the construction of the road may not take much time to break the island’s peace.
Island life – Rain and River
The life of the people settled on this island is entirely dependent on the flow of rain and river flowing around. We were told that during the rain, this entire island becomes submerged, and only a few areas located on the altitude are seen here.
Each family living on this island has one or two boats, which are used for going on the island during floods. These boats can be seen everywhere on the island. Everybody here comes to swim because this skill is very important to survive here. Most people here cultivate their own, in which rice and any other vegetables are grown, but for this also people have to depend on the state of rain and river.
Majuli is one of the most famous places on the island, its sessions, which are known as Ashrams or Monasteries in other parts of India. These Satra were established by Saint Siva Shankardev of the 15th Century. Though the original sessions established by them have merged in the river today, there are many such Satra here which are still active and they were created by many followers of Saint Guru Shankardev. Although these Satra are spread throughout Assam, you still hear more about the settled Satra on Majuli Island. These Satra are primarily the habitations of the Vaishnava Brahmacharis, who have fully dedicated themselves to this devotion. These Brahmachari live in the dormitory of these Satra. They take part in various tasks like making handicrafts, knitting, or theatrical performances, and some of them also do brilliant jobs.
Krishna God – Chief Deity of Majuli’s Satra
For many 600 years, various sessions were created here by several Ahom kings who ruled from Shivsagar to Assam. Some of these are still present in Majuli, which are about 400 years old. Each of these Satra has a master guru and some sub-gurus, who go ahead and become the successor of the main master. These sub-gurus are chosen by the Vaishnavas of these sessions.
Uunei Satra, Majuli
Ouniyati Satra is the largest Satra of Majuli. The hall, the temple and the place of residence are all simple and the land here is of mud. In this Satra, it is forbidden to go in wearing sandals, which is expected, due to which you have to take out your sandal. Apart from this, it is forbidden to open the umbrella within the session, because doing so is like insulting the Satra. There is also a museum and a library in the Uunei Satra.
Museums of the Uighi Satra
The most notable item in this collection is the weaved mat, which is approximately 6 × 3 feet. There are large vessels of brass and silver, which were used by the diverse gurus of this session. This museum has a pair of wooden slippers. We were told that these slippers belong to a master of this session which was very huge. Apart from this, there are some other elephant teeth made of shoes. Seeing these wealthy things, you are lost in the same thoughts that when the gurus of these asylums had such valuable things they do not know how rich this place should have been at that time.
Library of the Uighi Satra
There is also a library in the Uighi Satra, where there are large brass bowls, which were used to distribute the Prasad at the festivals. The books placed here are mainly in Assamese languages. There are also some rare manuscripts in this library. Among them is a manuscript, in which all types of arms are described in depth. We did not get permission to see these manuscripts, but I hope that these manuscripts have been digitized by the National Manuscript Mission and they have been made available to the general public.
The celebration of Ras Leela in the Satra
On the full moon day after Diwali, which is called Kartik Purnima, in these Satra, Ras Leela is organized which lasted for 3 days. This is the best time to go to Majuli. Apart from this, there are many other small festivals throughout the year. During these festivals, all the Vaishnavas take part in the dance performances and play organized here with great eagerness. Some play music, wear some masks, perform various roles, and others get involved in supporting tasks.
Men play all the roles in these plays, though sometimes women participate in these plays. These maskers representing various mythological characters are an important part of these dance dramas. We went to the center making a mask there, where a young actor was wearing different types of masks, according to which he was acting differently. And really he was a very talented artist. His masks were completely changed with each mask, such as the conversion of fierce seduction.
Attraction elements of Majuli for visitors
There is nothing more to be seen in Majuli, but here are some things that force you to spend some time on this island. Due to its surrounded by the river, it is one of the world’s many pollution-free places. There are no pollution factor elements on this island, and for this reason, this island is the habitat of many species of birds. If you are sitting on a roadside, then you see a variety of birds and butterflies around you enjoying the environment here.
In addition to this, if you go to see the water bodies flowing here on the island in the morning, then you get acquainted with some unfamiliar and very many birds and butterflies. This view of birds and butterflies is no less than a fair. And if you go to this island in the winter season, then you get to see a lot of nomad birds.
- Destination:Assam, East India, India, Majuli
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