Majuli is the largest riverine Island located in the great Brahmaputra River. The island originally formed due to course changes by the Brahmaputra River and its numerous tributaries. Threatened by continuous erosion, the island has been shortlisted as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Largely wetland with a rich and diverse agricultural tradition, the island harbours many rare and endangered migratory birds and is accessible by ferry from the city of Jorhat.
Majuli is home to a number of monasteries and hermitages, known as satras that represent the colourful culture of Assam. Since the 16th century, the island has been the cultural capital of the Assamese civilization. Written records describe the visit of Sankardeva, a 16th century social reformer who preached a monotheist form of Hinduism called Vaishnavism. He was responsible for establishing the island’s monasteries that now serve as the leading centre of Vaishnavism. These monasteries and satras also preserve antiques, weapons, pottery, jewellery and other items of cultural significance made by the peoples of the island.
The people of the island are tribal folk, expert navigators by boat, whose culture and dance forms remain untouched by modernism. Handloom is a major occupation amongst the villagers with the island’s weaving exquisite and intricate, noted for its varied use of colours and textures. For the visitor, a trip to this unique island offers a treasure trove of culture and wildlife.
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