There are very few unexplored places in the world. Majuli remains certainly one of those rare places.
What is Majuli all about?
Majuli is the largest river island in the world. It is also the largest river island district. Majuli offers a very diverse biosphere, different cultures & a neo-Vaishnav path called Satras. Majuli is all about visiting Satras, experiencing local culture & traditions, enjoying the nature and of course, see the REAL VILLAGE LIFE.
Where is it & how to reach?
Majuli is a district of Assam. The nearest city is Jorhat. You can reach Jorhat via flight, train or bus. All options are available.
From Jorhat, reach Nimati Ghat to catch a ferry to reach Majuli. Boats are huge, hence they can also fit 3 cars & few bikes. It is always better to take a personal vehicle from Jorhat while traveling to Majuli. Taxi rates on the island are bizarre & best avoided.
Another route can be found from Tezpur. From Tezpur, reach Bihupuriya (about 3 hours by car). Cross the river from Bihupuriya to enter Majuli. Drive for another 30 km on the island to reach the main settlement – Kamalabari Satra.
The toughest route (or the route that you shouldn’t even consider) is a land route. It goes from Tezpur – Lakhimpur – Gogamukh – Dhokua Khana – Kamalabari Satra. It takes more than 9 hours by car. It is tough because the road is in a very bad condition (To cross 60 km, you’ll require at least 3.5 hours).
Best Season: October – March
For the tourist map & other local details of Majuli, click here.
Things to see in Majuli
1. Auniati Satra
Auniati is the oldest Satra of Majuli. This Satra has an informational museum which contains a lot of ancient artifacts. Apart from the museum, you can also find a huge trunk of a basil tree.
If you get a chance, sit with Satradhikar (The leader of the Satra) for some spiritual knowledge.
2. Natun Kamalabari Satra
This Satra is worth a visit if you want to see how people in Satras live. It is serene, humble & very simple way of living. It is fascinating to see their lifestyle which very different from people like us.
3. Uttar Kamalabari Satra
Uttar Kamalabari Satra is a similar Satra with a better surrounding. I stayed at their guesthouse (Rs. 500/night for a room). This Satra is famous for its cultural programs. They have performed on various occasions in different cities of the world.
4. Shamaguri Satra
I kept the best for last. Shamaguri Satra is the most exciting Satra of Majuli. They are famous worldwide for their mask-making technique.
Visit Shamaguri Satra to know more about their history of mask-making. You can also buy some beautiful masks from them. If you want to create your own mask, you can learn it from them as well! (Considering you have a week to spend). These masks are so good that you would definitely want to buy one mask for yourself (I bought one).
5. Garmur Satra
Another Famous Satra with a museum & a long history. There is nothing different to see in Garmur Satra if you’ve already covered above 4 Satras.
6. Watch Raas-Leela
Raas leela festival happens only in November. This is when you can witness the stunning performances with authentic & ethnic costumes. It is all about luck because I saw Raas leela in December for some reason. Usually these performances happen in either Assamese or Braj language. Nonetheless, it is one of those lifetime experiences.
7. Nature Sightseeing
Majuli is India’s first carbon neutral district. There are very few cars. This makes it a wonderful spot to ride a bicycle. Rent it out & roam around the island’s deepest corners to be with nature.
Picture Credits: Parichay Mehta