Although not so popular, Majuli Assam-“The World’s Largest River Island” came into my knowledge when I was reading about top tourist destinations in North East India. Majuli has recently been declared as the largest river island in the world by Guinness World Record. So I decided to have a visit to Majuli river island Assam on my journey to North East India and Bhutan.
Nestled between the mighty Brahmaputra River’s ever-shifting sand banks from the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri River in the north, Majuli Island had a total area of 1,250 sq.km. It has now shrunk to 352 sq.km. due to several earthquakes, changes in the course of the rivers and severe erosion. In June 2016, Assam Government officially declared the island a district making it India’s first island district.
Bamboo Houses at Majuli Assam
How to reach Majuli river Island Assam
The cheapest and best way to reach Majuli is to take a train from Guwahati to Jorhat Town (Overnight journey). A shared auto from Jorhat Town to Neamati Ghat and then a ferry till Kamalabari Ghat. There is regular government operated ferry services which take around 2 hours. The first ferry from Neamati Ghat is at 8:30 am and the last one at 4 pm. Once you reach Kamalabari Ghat, you will get a shared auto to reach Majuli which is a few kilometers away. Visit IRCTC for train bookings.
Note: For returning the last ferry from Kamalabari Ghat to Neamati Ghat is at 3 pm.
The closest airport to reach the Majuli lies at Jorhat.
Best time to visit Majuli Assam
Best time to visit Majuli is between October-March. During this month’s various dance events, music performance and dramas are organized. It will be perfect if you visit Majuli at the time of Krishna Janmashtami and Raas Leela. The Ali-ai-ligang festival is held between Feb-March and Paal Namm festival in the end of winter.
Stay Options at Majuli Assam
You can stay at Prashanti Eco-tourism Resort which is recently developed by Assam tourism or government circuit house. But to make your stay quite unique, the entire island offers private stilt cottages that offer home stays to visitors. I would recommend you to stay at ”La Mansion de Ananda” – Danny’s Hut. It is a Mishing Tribe styled bamboo hut built by 2 French architects located in Garmaour area. It’s a budget price cottage with delicious home cooked food available.
Prashanti Eco-tourism Resort Majuli river island Assam
The journey to this beautiful island starts with a ferry from Neamati Ghat. Going boating in the majestic Brahmaputra is probably one of the best experiences one can have. The ferry takes around 2 hours to reach Kamalabari Ghat and to witness the glorious views of mighty Brahmaputra. I would suggest to be at upper deck rather than sitting inside. Here, people stand with their cars, bikes, cattle etc. that are also being ferried along. On reaching you will get shared taxis to reach Majuli which is another half hour away.
Ferry to reach Majuli River Island Assam
On the way to Majuli, you can feel the peacefulness of the surroundings; the fragrance of the village clay, series of unique stilt houses and locals can be seen cycling on narrow paths. That’s what I wished to see for so long.
Keeping in view that I had just a single day to explore the beauty of Majuli, I started exploring nearby areas as soon as I reached. Island can be explored on foot or you can rent a bicycle. Seeing me clicking pictures of the surroundings, few local kids came. They asked to click their pictures from the big camera “Ha Ha the DSLR ” that I was hanging on my neck. Soon they became friendly and accompanied me to show their entire village.
My new friends at Majuli Assam
More and more of their friends joined and at one time it was about 15 kids around me. Their love and affection towards me cannot be described in words. It was one of the most amazing days of my life. Assamese people don’t lag behind in generosity and it comes naturally.
They kept increasing in no’s
Almost all homes in Majuli are made from bamboo. They are held on concrete pillars at the height of about two to three feet from the ground to prevent water from seeping inside. During the monsoon, most parts of the village get submerged into the water with water level as high as 3-4 feet. Therefore people use their self-made bamboo ferries to commute to their homes.
Transport means to reach house
The island houses several villages that are mainly inhabited by the Mishing tribe, the Deoris and the Ahoms, Mishing being the largest in population. They are very helpful people and love inviting visitors to their home and offer apong or rice beer.
Fishing time at Majuli Assam
Majuli is not only famous for its beautiful landscape but also for cultural celebration. Every year Majuli notices a lot of tourists just to experience the festivals like Raas Mahotsav, Paal Namm, and Ali-ai-ligang. Majuli is also famous for its mask making and pottery.
Villagers at Majuli Assam
You can also get a glimpse of the Neo-Vaishnavate culture that still exists here in the Satras and there are 22 of those. Garamurh Satra, Kamalabari Satra, Dakhinpat Satra, Auniati Satra, etc. just to name a few are the prominent satras of this beautiful island. The best place for cultural programs is Kamalabari Satra.
Cute kid at Majuli Assam
Being a wetland, Majuli is a biodiversity hot spot for flora and fauna, sheltering many rare and endangered species of birds. The island is a birdwatcher’s paradise with storks, pelican, and cranes being spotted here.
Kids of Majuli Assam
Due to inaccessible conditions that prevail here, commercialization has hardly made any impact. It makes you feel that you’re still living in the old era of 70’s or 80’s. The island in itself is a complete world – full of space and freedom – completely detached from the outside world and standing alone, without any influence of urban sprawl. Just the kind of magic a seasoned traveler would give away a few years of his life to behold and experience, at least once.
Cycling is so much fun here at Majuli Assam
As the climatic conditions are changing drastically, it is very much possible that the whole of Majuli Island could become nothing but just plain water. So I would recommend you to visit it as early as possible before it completely disappears. In a life where everyone is on their feet and is in a race of earning money, Majuli comes across as a reminder to stop, breathe and live. Life is a bit tough in Majuli but people of Majuli are full of life. They will help you in reminding that no matter how tough are the circumstances when there is a will there is a way.
Beautiful Majuli Village
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