Beached amid the mighty Brahmaputra River’s ever-shifting puzzle of ochre sandbanks is Majuli, which at around 450 sq km is India’s largest river island. Majuli flaunts unparalleled scenic beauty. The island is a relaxed, shimmering mat of glowing rice fields and water meadows bursting with hyacinth blossoms.
The two main villages are Kamalabari and Garamur. Highlights of a visit here include birdwatching (nearly 100 species live here) and learning about neo- Vaishnavite philosophy at Majuli’s 22 ancient satras (Hindu Vaishnavite monasteries and centres for art).
Surveys indicate that, at current levels of erosion, the island will cease to exist within the next two decades. So we suggest that you visit this tourist haven before it becomes as mythical as paradise.
The festivals of Majuli are another crowd puller. The Raas Purnima, that takes place in the Hindu month Kartik showcases a dance performance based on Lord Krishna’s life and the Majuli festival during which special events are organized, sees several cultural troupes from all over Assam come to the town.
Majuli will not offer anything exquisite or unique, but simple, ordinary and typical food with handful of popular items off the local state menu can be found here. The options can be somewhat limited and you might want to carry some food from home for a trip to Majuli. The popular items that you might find here include Khar, Laksa, Tenga and a few varieties of rice.
Jorhat is well connected by air, with daily flights from Guwhati, and four flights a week from Calcutta. From Guwhati, Jorhat is a seven hour bus ride. Buses leave early mornings and at nights. From Jorhat it is only fourteen kilometers to Neemati Ghat, from where you can get ferry rides to Majuli everyday.
About traveling within Majuli, you can use the boat services to go down the river for a unique experience. You can also rent bicycles to get around.
The best time to visit Majuli is to coincide with the ‘Rasleela”, at the time of the full moon in the time of Kartik (November), but Majuli can be visited all year round. Make sure to inquire about the weather conditions beforehand though. Majuli does not have a developed infrastructure for tourism. There are no hotels. You would need to inquire about the availability of rooms in the guest houses of the Satras. It might not be the ideal 5-star resort experience in a local paradise, but visiting Majuli is certainly a necessary break from the artifice and rumble of city life. Take a chance and visit Majuli.