Things to do in Majuli
The best thing to do in Majuli is to get lost in serenity of the River Island. The backdrop of lush green Island, the rustic life, the simplicity of the people around often tempts the visitors to roam around leisurely exploring the Island, which has also became the first river district in the country in 2016. However, our storytellers have chalked out some itineraries considering the history, culture and Vaishnavite legacy of the Island that has been continuing for more than several centuries in the Island.
Peep into the history
The Satras are the unique religious as well as socio-cultural institutions in the Island that propagated the principles and ideals of Neo-Vaishnavism, a religious movement started by 15th Century reformer and scholar Srimanta Sankardeva. The Neo Vaishnavite movement mainly focused on the spiritual and religious upliftment of the people and impacted largely on the people living on the Island and elsewhere in the state. The Satras has still retained the centuries old tradition and legacy practiced in old times and its worth visiting to peep into the history and culture of Assam.
As some of the Satras had also enjoyed patronage from the Ahom Kings, they are also the repository of some rare and unique items like the Royal robes of some of the Ahom Kings, their weapons, some inimitable ivory items, which are worth seeing.
Originally there were 65 Satras in Majuli. However, erosion of landmass by the River Brahmaputra has forced most of them to relocate to other places in the state and there are only 22 Satras existing in the Island now. The Dakhinpat Satra, Aauniati Satra, Garamur Satra, Kamalabari Satra, natun Kamalabari Satra are some of the Satras worth visiting in the Island.
An art worth learning
A visit to the Chamaguri Satra located in Majuli is worth not only to witness survival of a centuries-old art but also to try your hands in learning the tricks of the art of mask making. Masks are the part of ‘Onkiya Bhaona’ (act based plays), an innovative theatrical medium innovated by Srimanta Sankardeva, which basically narrates the stories of victory of virtue over vices. The 15th Century reformer had innovated the masks to present to the audience the characters of Vaishnavite scriptures to make it more real. Although some other Satras in the Island also practices the art of mask making, Chamaguri Satra has been able to create
A visit to the Chamaguri Satra located in Majuli is worth not only to witness survival of a centuries-old art but also to try your hands in learning the tricks of the art of mask making. Masks are the part of ‘Onkiya Bhaona’ (act based plays), an innovative theatrical medium innovated by Srimanta Sankardeva, which basically narrates the stories of victory of virtue over vices. The 15th Century reformer had innovated the masks to present to the audience the characters of Vaishnavite scriptures to make it more real. Although some other Satras in the Island also practices the art of mask making, Chamaguri Satra has been able to create niche in preserving and practicing the century-old art form.
The Satradhikar of the Chamaguri Satra Sri Hemchandra Goswami himself is an expert mask maker and earned recognition by the Sangeet Natak Academy for his art. Learning the tricks of mask making at Chamaguri Satra itself is a lifetime experience as one would be part of a century old art practiced in the Satra.
Witnessing Pottery art
The visit to Salmora area of Majuli is a must to witness another historic art form. The three potters village in Salmora area of the Island could be delight to anyone who is interested in art and history. The potters in Salmora area does not use potters’wheel but are hand-made pottery—they use their fingers and palms to shape the clay into different earthen pots and idols. Close to 300 families of artisans are engaged in this historical art and they earn their livelihood by making the pottery. Worth mentioning here that the pottery artisans of Salmora has also kept alive the historical tradition of barter trade, which was prevalent in ancient days.
The land in Majuli is fertile and agriculture is the mainstay for most of the people living in the Island. The farmers in Majuli (Mostly Mishing tribesmen) are humble and still practices the primitive agricultural practices like ploughing the land with bulls and planting the plants with their hands. During the agricultural season, it is worth visiting the agricultural fields to have a firsthand knowledge about the agricultural practices in the Island and interacting with the farmers, who will welcome you with a smile despite uncountable hardships they face.
The women of the Island who are equally industrious helps the men in the field. While the men plough the land, it is the women who plants the rice saplings to the field during the season. Women in fact takes the forefront during the harvest festival and it is mainly the women who harvests the grains in the fields.
One can also go for fishing with the Mishing men, who are expert fishermen for some catch on Brahmaputra river on their small boats to experience the struggle of the tribes. The different fishing nets and fishing rods used by the tribal people and the techniques they use while fishing is worth experiencing.
The mesmerizing Sunrise & Sunset view
The view of the sunrise and sunset from any of the river bank in Majuli is a mesmerizing experience in Majuli.