Things to do in Majuli – The River Island of India
It was 5 am in the morning at the Iora Resort in the Kaziranga National Park when the phone buzzed with the morning alarm. After two days at the Kaziranga National Park, it was time for us to pack our bags again and move to our last stop during the Assam trip, Majuli, the river island of India in the Brahmaputra River. It can be reached by a ferry from Jorhat. Jorhat, a town in Assam is located at a distance of over 100kms and is covered in approximately 3 hours from Kaziranga. The ferries start from Nimati Ghat at 7 am every morning and carries people, vehicles and a whole lot of other items. As it was our first visit to Majuli, the blogs on Majuli we read had limited or insufficient information about this beautiful place. Our experience was one of its kind and we got to learn so many different things from the natives. We spent only a day and here are the things to do in Majuli – The River Island of India if you are here for a day.
Taking a Ferry Ride:
Majuli being a river island is accessible only through ferries. The ferries plying from Neemati Ghat near Jorhat takes around 45mins to reach Majuli. The ferries are of two types, large carrier types and small carrier types. While the large carriers are used to carry big vehicles, bigger animals along with people, the smaller ones are used to carry mostly people and vehicles. The ferry ride is an interesting one as you get to experience multiple emotions in a short span. The way the people sit close to each other while being busy in their own world was an interesting sight. People from different walks of life like student, workers, ladies donning saris, were all seen together.
As it was a bit congested inside the sitting area, we planned to stay mostly outside witnessing the beauty of the river. The sunrise and sunsets from the ferry are definitely a frame to look for. The way the ferries ply to and fro carrying so many people together signifies the way people spend their lives without any complaints.
Visiting the Satras:
Majuli is famous for the 22 Satras (temples) that are spread across the town. As soon as we reached, the first thing we did was to visit the Dakhinpat Satra, the biggest temple in town to say thank you for a safe ferry ride. The entire town is full of different Satras, big and small, showing the people’s belief in spirituality.
The natives of Majuli mostly comprises of Hindus, Vaishnavites, Assamese and the Mishing Tribes and are always thankful to God for everything they have got.
Mask Making in Majuli:
Mask Making is an indigenous art by the artisans of Majuli. They use bamboo and clay to make different styles of masks. The way the masks are displayed at the house of Mr. Hem Chandra Goswami shows the creativity of these artists. Mr. Goswami explained us the entire process of mask making and was kind enough to show us around the place. A must visit when you are in Majuli.
Meeting the natives:
The people of Majuli are very simple. Primarily belonging to the Mishing tribes, the natives of these place are self-sustaining individuals. Right from the rice from the paddy fields to the organic vegetables to even the clothes are produced by them. They use only home-grown organic vegetables for cooking purposes and the ladies weave their own clothes. One thing that you can easily learn from them is the contentment. Although they live in difficult conditions and are often hit by flood, they did not seem to be complaining about anything at all. The people of Majuli love to eat pork and thus you can find a small poultry in almost every house.
Lunch at the Ural:
Ural is one of the most famous restaurants in Majuli. While the food served here is simple yet delicious, the conversation with the owner of this place gives you a deep insight about Majuli. We talked about the various topics and got to know a lot more about Majuli during the lunch conversation.
Walking through the town:
It is very peaceful to walk around Majuli just before the sunset. The way the houses are built shows the preparation level of natives during any natural calamity like floods. The houses are mostly made of bamboo and are elevated to a certain height to prevent the rising water levels. Even though the life is difficult in Majuli, you will always find people smiling there. It shows the level of contentment in the souls.
The cultural performance at the Satra:
The evenings here can be well spent at the Uttar Kamlabari Satra and the sunset point. The view of the sun going down over the river Brahmaputra with the changing hues is a mystical sight. The children presented the traditional Satriya dance Gayan Bayan, a cultural programme at the Kamlabari Satra depicting the music and dance of the locals.
Our Accommodation: Dekasang Resort
- The largest river island in the world, Majuli has been declared a district now. The island is shrinking with the rising levels of the river Brahmaputra and may disappear in future.
- Majuli supports a different and unique biodiversity ecosystem thereby becoming a home to various migratory birds.
- The founder of ‘Eka Naam Dharma’ Srimanta Shankardeva took shelter in Majuli in the Fifteenth Century and ever since Majuli has emerged as the crowning glory of Vaishnavaite culture in Assam.
- Many families have lost their land to erosion and have moved to a different location.
- The number of Satras in Majuli have also reduced rapidly due to erosion. The number now stands at 32 from 65.
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