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Majuli – the biggest River Island

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Not many people have heard about Majuli, biggest river island in the world.

Or maybe they have heard about it but never thought of paying a visit. Majuli is the biggest River Island in the world and the first Island District of India. It is situated in the Brahmaputra river of Assam. This river island has an interesting history which led to the emergence of a new religion, new culture and a new way of life altogether.

Majuli means a land between two parallel rivers. Assamese civilisation started in Majuli in the 16th century and people speak Assamese and Mising (tribal language). The lifestyle over there is just like other normal Assamese group of people. There are vehicles running on the well-constructed roads, traffic police controlling the traffic, school children catching their bus to home and adults going to work. Seeing the busy life of the people, one might just forget that he/she is in a river island.

The most amazing fact about the people of Majuli is that they are well civilised yet very close and attached to the nature. They would never want to harm or disturb other nature hence; no big industries have been opened up there. The government of Assam has not interrupted with the interests of the people, keeping in mind the ecology of the river island as it is vulnerable during monsoon.

Worried about how to get there? Well it’s a beautiful ferry ride from the Brahmaputra banks of Jorhat. The ferry halts at another tiny island before taking the tourists to Majuli. The halt is Mou Chapori which means Honey coloured sand. Yes, the island is basically sandy and it is beautiful as it has a small resort for giving shelter to the tourists. The resort staffs cater to all the needs. What fascinates the tourists in Mou Chapori is that, at night the floating sensation of the sandy island can be felt while asleep. Isn’t that amazing??

After a night in Mou Chapori, the ferry heads to the main and the most awaited destination- Majuli. The fishermen and guides will welcome the tourists and stay by their side throughout the trip.

The main tourist attractions of the island are the Satras established by Srimanta Shankardev. He preached a monotheist form of Hinduism called Vaishnavism. Vaishnavism has spread out of the island as well and even today there are people all over Assam who are Vaishnaviites. Shankardev also introduced the famous dance called Satriya Nritya. The Satras show the old village lifestyle of thousands of years back. People living in the Satras walk barefoot, they do not eat meat and they even dress up with robes similar to the way Shankardev wore centuries back. This is how well they have preserved their culture.

One can literally smell the sweet earth and get lost in the beautiful scenery by the river. This is how well they have preserved and respected Mother Nature. So why not go and take the path not taken by many? Let’s experience the beautiful sun setting in the Brahmaputra turning the river into orange beauty. Last but not the least, making a wish by throwing a coin into the river during sunset is something every tourist does.

Trip to this river island can be done in a day so tourists have to stay in Jorhat. For a luxury stay, the best choice is Welcome Heritage Thengal Manor which costs Rupees 28,125 for 3 nights. 3 nights are enough for the heavenly trip to Majuli and Jorhat. For a cheaper stay, you could go for Hotel Jora Palace which will only cost you Rupees 5,100 for 3 nights. So got to the Gateway of the North East, visit Upper Assam- The place of the Ahom Kings and enjoy the trip to Majuli.

(c) Sneha Choudhury

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