Planning a trip to Assam anytime soon? We suggest drop the regular tourist spots this time and go slightly offbeat to one of the world's largest river islands - Majuli.
Located over an hour away from Jorhat in Assam, Majuli is the biggest among the several islands scattered along the Brahmaputra river offering beautiful views of the countryside, wooden boats, green paddy fields and rich culture. This freshwater island is also home to several tribes like the Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis and Missings besides being the epicentre of the Assamese Vaishnavite philosophy.
There’s so much to see and experience here that you can spend days without getting bored. It’s the land of satras, monasteries, festivals and spirituality where people are still far away from the workings of the modern world. Start with the Satras that stand as testimony to the Neo-Vaishnavism ideology and traditional art, culture and literature. Dakhinpat Satra is a beautiful reflection of the architectural style of Assam adorned with paintings on the inside and flowers and animals at the gates. Auniati Satra is known for its Apsara and Paalnaam dance and boasts of a wide range of Assamese utensils, jewellery and handicrafts. Other satras you must visit is Kamalabari, Gamur (don’t miss the Rasleela performance on a full moon night during the Rasotsava Festival) and Tengapania (known for its Ahom architecture besides being a popular picnic spot).
Check out the local markets for Majuli masks, clay pots, traditional dresses and boats. You can actually see all of it being made by hand by the local artisans and craftsmen. They receive orders for masks from across the country and world thanks to the quality. Also, don’t miss out on theatre and dance performances - it’s so colourful and vibrant. Try the traditional Assamese thali, spot a variety of birds and wildlife, catch the sunset at the end of the island and be sure to interact with the locals - they’re sweet and friendly.
We’d recommend staying at La Maison de Ananda for a local experience.
The island is sadly reducing in size at an alarming rate due to floods and soil erosion. So, plan a trip soon-ish!