Majuli is a famous island in the River Bramhaputra, flowing in the state of Assam. It is the biggest district island in the country and is quite close to Jorhat. In 2016 it became the first island to be made a district in India. It had an area of 880 square kilometres (340 sq mi) at the beginning of the 20th century, but having lost significantly to erosion it covers 880 square kilometres (340 sq mi) as at 2014. Majuli has shrunk as the river surrounding it has grown. The island is formed by the Brahmaputra River in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, an anabranch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri River in the north. Mājuli island is accessible by ferries from the city of Jorhat. The island is about 300–400 kilometres (186–249 mi) east from the state's largest city Guwahati. It was formed due to course changes by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, mainly the Lohit. Mājuli is the abode of the Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture.
Why visit Majuli?
→ To visit The Vaishnava Satras founded by Sankardeva.
→ To celebrate the Raas Mahotsav in Majuli
→ To visit during Paal Naam and Ali-Aye-Ligang festival
→ To explore the colourful culture of the tribes
→ To see the Folgu Utsav and Porag Utsav
→ To explore the Mask Making and Pottery Making culture in Majuli
How to reach: Majuli is well connected with Jorhat and Lakhimpur district of Assam. You need to board a Ferry to reach Majuli island from Jorhat town. Nimatighat is the nearest port situated in Jorhat district, it takes 1.00 hr to reach Majuli from Nimatighat. Ferry service is available from 7 am to 3.30 pm. Jorhat also serves as the nearest road connection from Majuli. On daily basis, you can avail the ASTC buses within the state. There are several day as well as night deluxe buses from Guwahati to Jorhat in the interval of seven hours.
You can also reach Majuli from Lakhimpur district by road via Dhakuakhana.
By Train: There are no railway stations in Majuli. To reach Majuli by train, tourists will have to take trains from Guwahati to reach Jorhat , the nearest railhead to Majuli. From Jorhat, buses and taxis will transport tourists to Neemati Ghat where ferries are available for a ride to Majuli.
By Air: There are frequent flights to Jorhat from Guwahati, as well as other parts of the country, especially the eastern zone. There are four flights in a week from Kolkata to Jorhat too. From Jorhat, take private bus to the Neemati Ghat. Tourists can also book a taxi from Jorhat, and take it on the ferry. Also there is an airport named Lilabari Airport in North Lakhimpur and from there Majuli can also be reached via Dhakuakhana.
Weather: The island of Majuli enjoys a sub-tropical monsoon climate, as is found in the other parts of Assam. The climatic conditions prevalent here are similar to that in the northeastern zones of India, Nepal. Summers are usually hot and have extreme humidity. The average annual rainfall in the area is around 215 cm. All the major festivals in the island are held in the winter season, when it is cool and pleasant. In fact, the best time to visit Majuli is from October to March. Let us get some more information on the weather & climate of Majuli.
The summer season in Majuli is from March to July and is quite hot and humid. During these times, the temperature may even peak to 34oC. Tourists prefer to stay away from the season around this time.
The monsoon season in Majuli starts around July and lasts till August, after which the post-monsoon season follows. During this time, the entire island gets covered in the beautiful green cloak.
The winter season, on the other hand, starts from November and lasts till February. The average temperature during the season is around 7oC to 18oC. It is during this season that the Majulians engage themselves in various cultural activities. This is the season when the various fests and fairs in the region are celebrated.
A wetland, Majuli is a hotspot for flora and fauna, harbouring many rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds that arrive in the winter season. Among the birds seen here are the greater adjutant stork, pelican,Siberian crane and the whistling teal. After dark wild geese and ducks fly in flocks to distant destinations. The island is almost pollution free owing to the lack of polluting industries and factories and also the chronic rainfall.
The island was a long, narrow piece of land called Majoli (land in the middle of two parallel rivers) that had the Brahmaputra flowing in the north and the Burhidihing flowing in the south until they met at Lakhu. It was once known as Ratnapur and was the capital of the powerful Chutia kingdom. Frequent earthquakes in the period 1661–1696 set the stage for a catastrophic flood in 1750 that continued for 15 days, which is mentioned in historical texts and reflected in folklore. As a result of this flood, part of the Brahmaputra discharged southward into what was the Burhidihing's lower channel and Mājuli island was formed.
The Burhidihing's point of confluence moved 190 km east and the southern channel which was the Burhidihing became the Burhi Xuti. The northern channel, which was previously the Brahmaputra, became the Luit Xuti. In due course, the flow in the Luit Xuti decreased, and it came to be known as the Kerkota Xuti; and the Burhi Xuti expanded via erosion to become the main Brahmaputra River. The locals speak in Assamese and Mising language mainly. A few speak in the Deori language as well. Mājuli has been the cultural capital of Assamese civilisation since the 16th century; based on written records describing the visit of Srimanta Sankardeva — a 16th-century social reformer. Sankardeva, a pioneer of the medieval-age neo-Vaishnavite movement, preached a monotheist form of Hinduism and Vaishnavism and established monasteries and hermitages known as satras on the islet.
The island soon became the leading center of Vaishnavinism with the establishment of these satras. After the arrival of the British, Majuli was under the rule of the British until India gained independence in 1947. It is as of 2016 the world's biggest river island
Did you know?
Majuli is the world's largest river island.