Northeast is one of the most wonderful and mostly unexplored places in India. This zone can surprise you in every possible way with its nature’s bounty which is simply breathtaking. So there is a very unusual landmass set in the river Brahmaputra which has over the time taken the shape of an island. This island is none other than ‘Majuli’, ecologically sound and a reservoir of the Neo-Vaishnavic culture of Assam for which it is also known as the cultural capital of Assamese civilisation. It took many years for Majuli for its transformation into an island as it stands alone as the one and only largest river island in the whole world now. Majuli is surrounded by river Brahmaputra towards its south and Kherkutiya Xuti, a sub branch of the river itself while towards its north river Subansiri flows. To reach this abode of tranquillity, ferries are always available from the city of Jorhat in Assam. Ferrying is the only medium of transportation that connects Majuli with the mainland. And thus it is advisable that the tourists avoid the monsoon and rather prefer the winter while making plans to visit the island.
Standing under the blue sky and clear river water, Majuli is an important ecological hotspot in the state of Assam. Since this piece of landmass is far away from any form of pollution or environmental degradation, it is the house of a lot of beautiful resident and migratory birds like Spot billed Pelicans, Slenderbilled Vulture Gyps, White Backed Vulture, Greater Adjutant Stork and many more. Smaller birds include Warblers, Little Grebe, Purple Heron, White Necked Stork and lots more. Since Majuli is a river island, it also houses a lot of fish species which includes some common as well as some uncommon varieties as well. Do not be surprised if you see any crocodile or snake resting under the sun on the river bank because the island’s geographical location also makes it a habitat of a lot of reptiles as well. Apart from the favourable environment of the island, it is also because of the love of the Neo-Vaishnavite people towards the wildlife that this place is still a perfect destination for the pure wildlife lovers and bird-watchers.
Majuli has extremely fertile land because of which agriculture is the main occupation of the people living here. The people living here follow their religion profoundly and simplicity and friendliness are their armour. In the month of February, the island gets completely transformed and decorated as the people celebrate their famous festival – Ali aye ligang and dance ‘Gumrag Soman’, the traditional Mising dance. People here also celebrate, Raas Leela for three days when they virtually enacts the tales from Lord Krishna’s life. The Neo-Vaishnavite religion encourages the people to engage in handiworks like pottery, handloom making, craft making, mask making and the Kalambari Satra
– the art of making the finest boats. The potters here follow the age old practice of pottery as that of the Harappan culture while the handlooms made by these people are equally famous across the world. This is because the people of this island have kept themselves far away from any means of modernity. Just when you are thinking of the preservation of these talents, it will be excruciating for you to know that Majuli has not yet been granted the title of ‘Indian Heritage’. Added to this woe, the landmass is gradually depleting because of the unchecked flood and erosion during the rainy seasons. It is hoped that the Assam Government will not take much time in realising the importance of preservation of such a cultural as well as ecological hotspot and provide the ‘heritage’ tag to the world’s largest river island, Majuli in the coming days.
Once you hit the island, do not forget to witness the beautiful sunrise and sunset. Another advice is that you might get some decent options for staying there but you’ll have to forget luxury to enjoy the novelty of this incredible place.