Majuli is well-known for being the largest riverine island in India. It is situated in the northeast part of India in a state called Assam.
From the south, the Brahmaputra River surrounds the 352 sq. Km area. The sub-branches of Brahmaputra, Subansiri, and Kherkutia Xuti are on the north. The place has some interesting facts that even some Indians are not familiar with. Here are some of them:
1. This Island Formed from Continuous Floods
When it comes to the history of this place, researches have told us an interesting fact. The island didn’t exist 300 years ago. During the 1750s, there was an earthquake that had caused catastrophic disaster throughout the state.
One of the results of this earthquake was a flood which caused heavy sedimentation. It is how the island developed and got populated slowly by many different groups of people.
2. The Island of Mixed Tribal Ethnicity
Even though it is Neo Vaishnavite renaissance’s epitome, Majuli is a place where many tribal groups reside. Some of them are Mising, Deoris, Ahoms, and Sonowal Kacharis. Even though there is a difference in the lifestyle and culture of each ethnic group, they maintain peace amongst themselves, which is something we see in many different parts of India.
Having so many different tribal groups, one can expect different types of clothing, food, and social culture, including colorful festivals. Still, Hinduism is the religion of the majority of this island.
3. The Art of Making Mask
Anyone who visits Majuli – the largest riverine island in India, is going to be amazed by the art of mask-making that is done in this area at a significant level. The masks are colorful and resemblance of the ancient Indian culture with the touch of Hinduism.
The art of mask making started by the hands of Srimanta Sankardeva, who was an Assamese saint. Chamoguri satra’s devotees still practice the art, and it is one of the vibrant cultures of the place. It is not just something to sell for money but a sacred act amongst the followers. The mask is done from the inspiration of character from the Bhagwat Gita.
4. Land of Neo-Vaishnavite sect of Hinduism
Neo-Vaishnavite is a sect of Hinduism, and Majuli is the place where it is practiced the most. It is a new branch that had its start from the 15th century on the hands of Saint Srimatra Sankardeva.
The saint also worked on the construction of monasteries, also known as ‘Satras.’ The “Manikanchan Sanjog” is the first satra that is still present up to this day.
5. Ferries – The only Mode of Transportation to Reach Majuli
As a great place of culture and beauty, people often visit this place. However, there are no concrete roads that people can take to reach this vibrant area. That is why taking ferries is the only option of transportation. The locals use boats to travel, and people who love boat travels can find it as their favorite place to visit.
6. Ali Aye Ligang – The Spectacular Festival
Mising Tribe is the majority of this island, and Ali Aye Ligang is one of their festivals. Starting every year on the second week of February, the Ali Aye Ligang festival is favorite amongst the tourists. One of the greatest things about joining the festival is the foods that you never knew existed.
Some of the meals are ‘Puran apin’, which is just rice with the wrapping of distinctive leaves, ‘apong’ or rice beer, fish, pork, and roasted chicken. “Gumrang Soman” is the Mising tribe’s traditional dance that is seen during the festival. It is a good time for tourists to visit and enjoy.
7. Migration of Beautiful Birds
During winter, many beautiful and peculiar bids visit this island due to its natural resources and warmth. The arrival of these magnificent birds is one of the reasons why people love to visit this island in the cold.
The birds are unharmed by people as they are seen as the guests of these areas. The Brahmaputra treats these birds with food, and they come back every year from thousands of miles away.
And.. here is a shocking fact about Majuli.
Majuli is fast disappearing into the depths of the mighty Brahmaputra
After mentioning many spectacular things about this place, there is bad news to inform. The Brahmaputra floods a significant area of this island, and as years pass by, the condition is getting worse due to increased flooding of Brahmaputra.
The Brahmaputra is taking away lives and homes with its water, and the entire island and its residents are at significant risk. The vibrant culture should be protected so that the future generation can appreciate the history it bears.
Majuli apart from being the largest riverine island in India is one of the most beautiful places in Assam, but the recent flooding issues have raised the eyebrows of many officials and NGOs. The affected people have been given help, but their damage is irreparable. The future of this riverine island is at stake because there are many things about this island that makes it a national treasure.