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Majuli

Crested in the bosom of mighty river Brahmaputra and fondly tucked up by Lohit and Khabalu, the land mass of Majuli arguably enjoys the privilege of being the largest river island in the world. The island is formed by the Brahmaputra river in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri river in the north. These rivers usually bring fresh floods with heavy loads of fine silt and clay sediments.  Majuli is purely a region of fluvial geomorphology. It rises from the Brahmaputra basin and in course of time turned into a flat-level alluvial plain. The geomorphology of this region is directly related with its physiographie characteristics.

Majuli is a natural and cultural heritage site. With water bodies covering most of the areas, Majuli is a bio-diversity hotspot for flora & fauna and attracts plenty of birds both local and migratory. Experts say that the great earthquake of 1950 hit the region with such intensity that the bed of the river was pushed upward, causing the river to change its course. Since then, the island has been constantly eroded, small bits being sliced away by the river every year.

It’s individual distinctiveness is that it is not uphill, down scale, snow capped mountains or warbling mountain spring which put a tourist into the thrall in Majuli. But it is the freedom of the wind, the freedom of rivers, ths vistas of freedom opening up one after another, the freedom of birds and the pristine primitiveness, simplicity and innocence of the people living for centuries at close proximity of nature that sways, excites and thrifts the imagination of the tourists.

Majuli is the birthplace of Vaishnava Satras. Shankaradeva, considered to be the Father of Assamese culture, had taken shelter in Majuli in 15th Century and spent a couple of months at Beloguri (West Majuli). He founded the first Vaishnava Satra at Majuli. Earlier, the Satras had hundreds of disciples. They were trained not only in mask-making, but also in boat-building and other traditional arts and craft. At present there are twenty two Satras in Majuli and Dakhinpat, Garamukh, Auniati, Kamalabari, Samaguri and Bengenaati Satras are well know among them.

This cultural ambience of the Satras has percolated to the villages of the island, in its traditions, in its people's daily lives. The focal point of all villagers is the Namghar (prayer hall) where people gather to sing and pray. It will not be out of place to mention in this era of individualism that Majuli still preserves the notion of community. Among the majority Mising community, who migrated from the Arunachal hills many generations ago, traditions of ali-ay-ligang (the harvest festival) are still preserved, and different ethnicities have been living together peacefully for generations.

To visit the Majuli Island, it is recommended to go during autumn and winter. This island is located at the distance of about 20 kilometers away from Jorhat. From Jorhat buses, or taxis are available to get to the Nimati Steamer Ghat. From this ghat, take the steamer to reach the island.

Tags: Majuli, River Brahmaputra, Biggest River Island, World, Geomorphology, Vaishnava Satras, Shankaradeva, Assamese Culture, Dakhinpat, Garamukh, Auniati, Kamalabari, Samaguri, Bengenaati

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