“Solitude sometimes is best society”- John Milton, Paradise Lost.
This line best captures the essence of Majuli Island. Majuli, nestled amidst the ever-shifting sand banks of River Brahmaputra in Assam, will soon cease to exist. The largest river island in the world is situated in India and we suggest that you visit it before it disappears. Majuli is among the disappearing islands of the world. This glorious paradise is home to picturesque sceneries, exotic flora and colourful avifaunal diversity. Come, let us take you on a virtual tour of this paradise lost.
Must See and Do
From the lush paddy fields to watery meadows; from Vaishnavite monasteries to the vibrant festivals, Majuli is home to rich culture and heritage preserved over the centuries. The island is home to the neo-Vaishnavite philosophy and houses many satras (monasteries). The monks here are only too keen to show you collections of Ahom royal artefacts, scriptures and more. In the wee hours of the morning, you can hear chants and sometimes even see dance rituals.
The island is an idyllic retreat and presents a great opportunity for birdwatching as it houses around 100 species of birds. The best way to explore the island is by taking a cycle and navigating the lush meadows, green fields and river banks. Marvel at the splendour of the river by going on a boat ride. While there, catch a fish by deploying traditional methods of angling to get a great catch!
Majuli is the place where the raas leelas of Lord Krishna are celebrated through various plays enacted by devouts. The festival takes place during mid-November every year. During this period, it seems as if the whole place has woken from its slumber — from children to teachers to shop owners, every person and every community takes part in the celebrations! The island reverberates with the sounds of drums, chants and the thumping of feet as various stages of Krishna’s life are portrayed in front of your eyes.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time to visit Majuli is between the months of September and March when the monsoon is in full swing and the river is swollen. The weather is cool, with minimum temperature around 7 degrees celsius and the maximum being 27 degrees celsius. Pack light woolens and jackets to keep warm during night.
How to Reach
The island is situated on Brahmaputra river and the nearest city is Jorhat. Jorhat is well connected by road and rail transport. You can choose to take an overnight bus journey from Guwahati to Jorhat and take a boat to Nimatighat from here. From Nimatighat, government run ferry services take passengers to Majuli. If you wish, then private motorised boats are also available.
Where to Stay
Garmur and Kalambari have a few good hotels where you can make your temporary abode. You can also contact the Assam Tourism Board and they will arrange a stay at their Circuit House. The satras or monasteries also provide accommodation in their guesthouses. If you wish to live like a local, then stay in one of the bamboo cottages of the Mising tribe. Again, your best bet would be to book accommodation in advance, and preferably through the tourism board.
Majuli Island makes you forget the pace of time. The serenity and calmness that generally accompany solitude will not let you miss your old ways even for a second. The island envelops you much like the mighty Brahmaputra envelops the island. And before you know it, your sense of self begins giving way to the elemental forces and you become one with the creation. Then, nobody can take the paradise away from you.
About the Author:
A wordologist, Etti Bali loves playing around with words, creating a world of absurd. In an ideal world, she would never wake up as she thinks slumber is the answer to all world problems.