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Visit Majuli, the Largest River Island in the World

A waterway to heaven

Floating like a breakaway branch on the waters of the Brahmaputra river, Majuli is the largest riverine island in Asia. A cradle of Assamese culture, Majuli, is home to multiple satras or monastic centers, that have for decades worked hard to preserve and practise various forms of spiritual and artistic expressions. From music, dance and art that celebrates Lord Vishnu or scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, these satras were patronised by Ahom kings and it is located only 2 hrs away from Jorhat. If that is not reason enough for you to visit, Majuli became India’s first island district in June, besides being a Guinness World Record-holder for being the largest river island on the planet. Trust us, this is an essential Assam experience.

Unfortunately, Majuli is eroding at an increasingly rapid pace thanks to a combination of factors, the most significant being climate change, especially over the last 40 years. And although it is currently home to 1.68 lakh people, many of whom belong to the Mishing tribe, and also the Deori and Sonowal Kachri tribe, many of them migrated to safer areas. The island also has fertile soil that yields many varieties of rice, some of which are unique to the island. While earlier, there used to be 65 satras on the island, but these days there are only 22. The others had to relocate to safer locations less prone to flooding and erosion. Climate change is very real, and Majuli and its satras are prime examples of the consequences of climate change on both nature and culture. (In fact, surveys indicate that, at current levels of erosion, the island will disappear within the next two decades)

Majuli is one of the few places in the country that you will find hard to tear yourself away. It’s a very strange thing, because sometimes you need to journey thousands of miles before you find yourself at home.

PS: The best time for Majuli Island Tour will be during the Raas festival of Lord Krishna, which is held during the full moon in the month of November.

How to reach: Ferries ply between the Kamalabari Ghat at Majuli and Nimati Ghat in Jorhat, (1.5 hr). Jorhat airport is located 7 km/15 min southwest of the city centre.

If you are itinerary allows, other places that you can stop by includes Tezpur (popular for its archaeological sites, mythological connection and scenic beauty), Agnigarh Fort, Sivasagar (known for its palaces), and Barak Valley.

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