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Majuli

 

Majuli, the world's largest river island and accessible only by boat, is situated in the midst of the Brahmaputra River in the district of Jorhat to the east of Sonitpur and 20 km from Jorhat town. It is a pollution-free island currently totaling approximately 700 sq km. Measuring roughly 90 km from east to west and 16 km from north to south Majuli is a natural and cultural heritage site. With its abundant water bodies it attracts many species of birds, both local and migratory, including the pelican, Siberian crane and adjutant stork.

Majuli is a fascinating place to visit. It produces pottery and has a rich ethnic culture of traditional tribal village life. It is a melting pot of different plains tribes all of whom possess colourful and resourceful identities. The main tribes residing there are the Mising, Deoris and Sonowal Kacharis.

It is also famous for being the centre of the Vaishnava culture in Assam. In fact the Vaishnava sattras (monasteries) were founded by Sankardeva, the father of Assamese culture in the early 16th century when he took shelter in Majuli and spent a couple of months there. Originally sixty-five sattras were developed for the propagation of ethics and socio-cultural ideals, but now only twenty-two remain, the major ones being Auniati, (known for its jewellery and handicrafts), Garamurh (housing a rich collection of ancient weapons), Samaguri (centre for mask making), Dakhinpat (known for the traditional performance of Raasleela), Bengenaati (a treasure house of antiques) and Kamalabari. All the others, threatened by flood and erosion, were relocated to safer places. The sattras are regarded as the main centres for Assamese art, music, dance, drama, handicrafts, literature and religion.

The best time to visit Majuli is during the dry season between October and March.

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