Majuli – The river island of India
Majuli or Majoli is a river island in the Brahmaputra river, in the Indian state of Assam. Majuli is often erroneously cited as the largest river island in the world by the Indian media, but in fact it is merely the largest freshwater island in South Asia. Majuli occupies an area of about 577 km², having lost significant area due to erosion.
The island is about 200 kilometres east from the state’s largest city — Guwahati, and is accessible by ferries from the town of Jorhat. The island was formed due to course changes by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, mainly the Lohit. Majoli is also the abode of the Assamese neo-Vaisnavite culture.
Majuli: Island in the Sun
Majuli, the largest river island in the world, is a civil sub-division of Jorhat District. It is located 20 km. off Jorhat town (Asom, India). It is a pollution free fresh water island. Total area of the island was 1250 sq.km., now it is about 650 sq.km.
Its length from east to west is about 90 km. & width from north to south is avg. 16 km. Majuli is a natural & cultural heritage site. With water bodies covering most of the areas , Majuli attracts plenty of birds both local & migratory.
About 25—26 Satras are remaining now in Majuli of which the Satras of Kamalabari, Auniati & Garmur are worth mentioning. These Satras are propagating the religious ideology of great Assamese medieval Vaisnavite Saint Sankardeva & Madhavdeva, preaching Satria culture.
Fair & Festival
Majuli, is famous as the world’s biggest river island, nestles in the lap of the mighty Brahmaputra. Her face uplifted to the limitless frontiers of the blue sky. Her feet perpetually caressed by the lapping waters of the holy Brahmaputra, her vision stretched to the distant hills of the Himalayan and other than the master craftsman who moulded the universe – God himself. No wonder then that the sublime and the serene atmosphere of the island – the intimate companionship of the soul with the elements and the river-provided the backdrop for the historic ” Moni Kanchan Sanjog” between Assam’s pioneer Vaishnavite Saints Shankardeva and his disciple Madhabdeva in the 15the Century. Ever since that meeting of the great minds and the subsequent establishment of “Satras” that followed, Majuli emerged as the crowning glory of Vaishnavite culture in Assam. Multifaceted in its attractions. Majuli, unfolds a vanity of interest to the tourist rare migratory birds, traditional handicraft and pottery; ethnic culture and dance forms; water sports etc.
PLACES OF INTEREST :-
Vaishnava Satras founded by Sandardeva, the father of Assamese culture. In fifteen century Shankardeva took shelter in Majuli and spent a couple of months at Beloguri (in west Majuli) which was a place of glory for the historic and auspicious; Manikanchan Sanjog’ between Shankardeva and Mahavdeval. This was the first “Satra” in Majuli. From “Manikanchan Sanjog” there had been sixty five “Satras growing up for propagation of ethics and socio-cultural ideals. But at present there are only twenty two satras in Majuli. The other had to be shifted to other safer places due to devastation of flood and erosion. Among those the main existing satras are :- Dakhinpat Satra, Garamurh Satra, Auniati Satra, Kamalabari Satra, Bengenaati Satra and Samaguri Satra. These Satra are the treasure house of “Borgeet”. Matiakhara. Jumora dance. Chali Dance, Notua Dance, Nande Vringee, Sutradhar, Ozapali, Apsara Dance, Satria Krishna Dance, Dasavater Dance etc. which were contributed by Shri Shankardeva.
Dakhinpat Satra was founded by Banamalidev, an exponent of Raasleela, which is now observed as one of the State festivals of Assam.
This Satra was founded by Lakshmikantdeva. During Autumn end traditional Raasleela is performed with great enthusiasm. Some ancient weapons are also preserved here.
Founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva, this satra is famous for ‘Paalnaam’ and Apsara dance and it also has considerable collection of old Assamese utensils, jewellery and handicrafts.
Kamalabari Satra founded by Bedulapadma Ata, is a center of art, culture, literature and classical studies. Its branch Uttar Kamalabari Satra has performed cultural programme of satria art in several states of India and abroad.
It is a store house of culturally important antiques and an advanced center of performing arts. Muraridev, the grand son of Shankaradeva’s step mother, had founded the SSwargadeoatra. The royal robes belong to the Ahom king Swargadeo Gadadhar Singha, made of Gold and an umbrella which is also made of gold, are preserved here.
(i) The entire plain tribes also possess a colourful and resourceful cultural entity.
(ii) Various species of rare migratory birds like Pelican are found Majuli.
(iii) Festival like ALI-AI-LVIGANG of the Mising tribe is also celebrated here during the first Wednesday of the month GINMUR POLO. (February – March)
(iv) The pottery making centre is situated at Upper Majuli.
(v) Many suitable places are there for viewing the full sunset during winter.
(vi) The PAL NAAM at Auniati Satra is a huge mela, helds at the end of Autumn.
(viii) Another Festival performed by the Sonowal Kacharis tribe is “Bathow Puja” where Lord Shiva is workshiped with high veneration.
There will be a lot of scopes to fit yourself as a part of this festival . Special events are being organized during the festivals days round the clock. Cultural programmes will continue with the participation of various traditional and classical cultural troupes of Assam and troupes from rest of the country, in addition to rich cultural heritage of Majuli.
Exhibition will also be there with the demostration of various Assamese products specially designed and prepared by experts artistes highlighting traditional glory of Majuli too. Assamese and tribal dishes of Majuli will also be made available, and food festival will also be organized during this time.
The festival will include a number of attractive allied activities covering various aspects. Leading exponents from wide spectrum of activities are being approached to make the occasion a remarkable one. Seminars are also being organized on different topics.
Therefore the festival will definitely make you reach a desired destination for adventure and spiritual tourism.
What to see
The assemblage and assimilation of all ethnic groups under the same sky, retaining their respective individual and traditional cultural entities is a very striking phenomenon that easily attracts the visitors to this island. With the glories history of five hundred years of Satriya living cultural tradition, the rich and colourful tribal cultural elements and the natural beauty with a unique assemblage of flora and fauna; Majuli has the charm to beckon the tourists unraveling itself as paradise on the earth. Extinct species of various migratory birds are found in Majuli which creates an environment of bird sanctuary.
On the bank of river Luit which is located in a backdrop of immense scenic beauty. This is only 1.5 km of distance from the Garamur, i.e. sub divisional head quarter of Majuli.
During the festival time coolest period will run, when average temperature is 100 to 150c . in this season different cultural activities encourage Majulian to engage themselves in creative activities. So that the ideal time for festival of this nature. in other hand, Majuli has its environment still protected from pollution in all climatic conditions.
The climate conditions as well as road communication facilities in Majuli, winter is presumed to be the suitable time for holding the festival. Therefore it is proposed to hold Majuli festival, 2002 in the month of November 21 st to 24th.