The free-flowing rivers interspersed with lush green trees is what makes Majuli Island was mesmerising. Majuli Island is a river island located in Assam. It is a unique kind of a place, which will surely give one some fascinating memories. If one isn’t convinced to go here because of its sheer beauty, then one surely will be convinced after they learn, that this island might actually cease to exist in the next 20 years. This is due to the rising water levels due to global warming. But, this island is really too precious to let not even visit once before it might disappear.
The island is full of culture and diversity and is. A true representation of the traditions of Assam. The place is still left untampered and hasn’t come into contact with the modern world. The people in this place, still cook food over a fire and live in bamboo huts. This simple lifestyle is what keeps the people of this town so content and happy. It is full of colourful dresses, trees, lakes and friendly hospitable people- everything that is rare to find in our own cities.
Majuli Island is probably the closest representation of how God had intended to keep this world. Devoid of technology, or concrete jungles or even complications. Everything is made by hand and machines or factories are unheard of thing. From the boats to the fishing nets, whatever one lays their eyes on is created by humans themselves.
Many tourists hog this place to experience the authentic Assamese culture.
Satras are an essential part of the Majuli Islands, and no trip is complete if one doesn’t visit here. Satras are basically places of worship which were created to propagate the ideology of Neo-Vaisnavism of Sankardeva. They are an integral part of the Assamese culture. At one time Majuli Islands had about 64 satras, but now only 31 are in use.
There are two sects of Satras. One is the Grisathi Satras. They are the more liberal kind, where one is allowed to marry and propagate arts. The other is Udasin Satra, wherein one has to remain celibate and follow a monastic order.
The Satras are not just places of worship anymore. Over time they have developed into a hub to promote music and art. A quick tour of these Satras would give one a bucket load of insights into the Assamese culture and history.
One of the famous Satra is the Dakhinpat Satra, which revered by the Ahom ruler, who is also the head of the Satras. It belongs to the Udasin Sect. Inside it, there are serval interesting artworks and anecdotes that bring the place to life. The overall atmosphere is so soothing that one feels transported back to the time when people would actually sit in here and meditate.
Maluji Islands has a popular culture of mask making. All over the island, one can find different and vibrant masks hanging at the souvenir shops or any other shop. There is proper workshop available for interested tourists to take a look at the behind the scenes of mask making. The workshop is conducted by Mr. Hemchandra Goswami‘s workshop, Natun Samaguri Satra.
The workshop is so enthralling and engaging that one forgets about everything else. The process is so detailed and intricate that is amazing how these masks are made. Mr Goswami is a famed artist and his mask making skills are popular all over the island. The best part, he doesn’t even draw his ideas, he just starts making the masks.
These masks are usually made for festivals and traditional performances and can take up to weeks or even months to finish. Some masks are extremely complex to make and require high levels of focus, creativity and dedication.
Maluji is so engulfed into a rich culture, that it is hard to miss it. Everything is hand made and holds a significance. The handicrafts are not simply made for profits, everything has a reason. The best way to experience this culture is to just take a stroll around the islands. The locals are really friendly and are always willing for a chat. There is no better way to learn about the culture of someone place than actually talking to the locals.
Every nook and corner of this place will have someone working on an intricate handiwork. It is truly fascinating to watch how happy and self-sufficient they are, even though they do not have any technology. Locals are more than willing to even show the tourists how they made the products by hand. Pottery and boat making is the most fun ones to watch, as they require a lot of hard work and detailing.
Majuli is known for its awe-inspiring theatre performances that really bring forth the culture and traditions of Assam alive through a fun visual presentation. The theatre performances are usually beautiful, colourful and fun just like this island. It is a must watch if one has the time to immerse themselves to be taken on a journey.
Majuli doesn’t have a lot of restaurants. It mainly as cheap local eateries like Dhabas, which serve almost all kinds of food. They most specialise in Thalis or seafood.
The Assamese Thali- which consists of rice, various kinds of dal and chutneys are very popular and delicious. They are also very pocket-friendly.
An authentic Assamese usually meal includes- rice, vegetables, meat, fish along with Apong- a traditional rice beer. This is an exact representation of Assam on a plate. One must give this meal a try at least once.
Majuli is accessible from Jorhat, which is the main city in amazing Assam.
To get to Jorhat, one can easily take a direct bus from Guwahati. Buses ply from the Paltan Bazaar bus depot.
From Jorhat, Majuli can be easily reached by a lovely ferry ride for just 15 rupees.
In Majuli, there are rickshaws, that can easily be availed to go in and around the place.
Note: Ferry prices will be more if one has to load a personal vehicle along with them.
Majuli is the perfect escape from the hustle bustle of the city life that one resides in. It has fresh air that fills the lungs with a much-needed purity. The place is lovely to visit from September to March. The lifestyle is laid back and unlike any other city in India. The locals enjoy the simplicity and revel in it. It is a perfect place to lay and unwind for a couple of days.