Majuli, the World's Largest River Island
As per the geographical history, initially it was a long narrow piece of land that had the river Brahmaputra flowing on its north and river Buri-Dihing to its south untill they met at Lakhu. It was once known as Ratanpur and was the capital of the powerful Chutia Kingdom.
In 1750, there had been a catastropic flood, that continued for 15 days and it changed the course of the these two rivers. The Buridihing point of confluence moved 190 km east, the Buridihing became the Buri Xuti and Brahmaputra became Luit Xuti. Over the time flow in the Luit Xuti decreased and it became Kherkuti Xuti, while the Buri Xuti by erosions over time get expanded and become the main course of river Brahmaputra. In today’s map Majuli has Brahmaputra river in the south, with its anabranch Kherkuti Xuti falling into the Subansiri River in the South.
As per the Government survey in 1891 the geographical area of Majuli was 1256 square kilometer, whereas as of today’s report the land area is not more than 515 square kilometer.
Majuli is home to few tribals, non-tribals and schedule tribes. The tribals include Mising, Deori and Sonowal Kachari, non tribals include Koch, Kalita, Ahom, Chutia, Keot, Yogi etc; whereas schedule tribes include Kaibattras and few others. Total population of majuli is 1.5 laks (approx) and has 144 villages. The Mising tribe has maximum population in the island and widely spoken language. Farming and cultivation are the major earning sources of most of the population here.
It is the hub of neo-vaishnavite culture initiated around 15 century, by the then Great Assamese saint Srimanta Sharkar Deva. He met his disciple Sri Sri Madhabdeva here in Majuli and the meeting is considered as a very auspicious event, hence named as Manikanchan Sanjog. After this event Shankardeva established sity five Satras in Majuli. From then till today, the Satras have been considered as the most holi places for the people in Assam and play a major role in maintaining and following a holistic living.
In today’s time most visited and known satras are: Auniati Satra, Garamur Satra, Samuguri Satra, Kamalabari Satra, Dakshinpat Satra, Bengenati Satra, Bihimpur Satra.
The major Festivals that draw visitors and tourists not only from Assam but also from the different parts of India and abroad are Raas Mahotsav, Ali Ai Ligagng and Bhaona Samaroh. Raas Mahotsav is celebrated every year in the month of October continuously for 4 days. Ali Ai Ligagng is the major cultural festivals of Mising tribe celebrated every year during mid February.
The Natural Environment
Majuli is Beautiful. It is still very rich in Natural environment. All around here is only greenery and amidst it, there are many different kinds of birds and other wildlife. Majuli is in fact a cluster of wetlands and hence rich with aquatic bodies too. Due to absence of Industries and factories the air quality is always high, which is one of the many reasons for witnessing many varieties of endemic as well as migratory birds round the year. The Natural beauty and richness has become a major attraction for the Artists and Naturalists across the world.
With time Majuli has gained as one of the most sought after destination for the people across Indian and abroad. It can be said that, in Assam, next to Kaziranga National Park, it is the 2nd destination where maximum number of foreign tourists visit every year. People come to Majuli with a planning of 1 or 2 days but often found to extend their stays. Because it is so relaxing and enjoying spending time here; knowing the people, their lifestyle, ages old customs and traditions, the natural beauties never let the visitors easily to go back to a much crowded city life. The sky is always clear at nights as well as in days. The Full Moon coming out from the Kherkuti Suti is incomparable, the Sunset on the river Brahmaputra, and the Milky way in clear night sky leave people crazy.