Majuli - the Great River Island
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Being the largest river island in the world , Majuli draws ample tourists from India and abroad. But you have to go to Majuli with an open mind . None of the glitz and glam of the metros , no facilities of a 5 star hotel or even that of a 3 star, or public transport that will take you anywhere for your asking . Remember its in one corner of North east India , remote for even people living in the nearest town of Jorhat. Secondly , never visit Majuli during the festival of Bihu (14th January) . The town is closed,just shut down..... shops, tourists sites and restaurants everybody goes on a holiday .
We reached Nimatighat at 11 am to board the ferry to the island of Majuli , prestine in its beauty and ethnic in its taste
The ferry carries everything possible from cars , motor-cycles, animals, firewood , cement, vegetables apart from the 120 passengers. You can't blame anybody because that is the only way one can commute to the island . So there you are rubbing your shoulders with one and all , everybody friendly , no pranksters or skunks around .
The journey took us 1 hour 10 minutes , a trip to remember and a sight to behold ! A bright and breezy January morning , the Mighty River Brahmaputra looking like a sea more than a river. The tranquil waters flowed as the ferry sliced through the water silently like a shark. The fishing nets were cast ,while the migratory birds stood in the sand-banks serenading to one another . We disembarked at Kamalabari ghat which was thronging with men ,women ,animals ,firewood ,veggies all waiting for the ferry to take them upsteam to Nimatighat.
The Government Guest house is an Assam -type structure providing the basic amenities and simple food . 14th January is Magh Bihu , a harvest festival which is celebrated with lots of feasting , dancing and singing
A visit to the Satras is a must when in Majuli .There are 36 of them , both big and small, each a small principality as it were ,the head priest who is informative, erudite has full control over his flock of monks and devotees.Each Satra is unique in its own way . The Samuguri Sattriya makes masks which are used for "bhaonas"(dramas)while others promote "Sattriyya" dances. Everbody and anybody can join the "Naam" (hymns)
In the evening we went to Danny Gam 's resort for dinner . "La Maison de Anand" , the resort, is very indigenous in its design and conception . Dinner is served hot near the fire with a spread of "Mising "delicacies of BBQ fish chicken and exotic side dishes all for $12.. Bamboo huts on stilts provides accomodation to tourists at a reasonable rate. Cycles and motor bikes are available to see the country-side. The setting of the sun across the river is resplendent making you want to capture it on celluloid. There are umpteem number of tea kiosks where you can sip a cup of hot tea( if the stalls are open ) and watch the lazy world go by, .....time truly comes to a standstill in Majuli.