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Majuli

Famous as the largest riverine island in the world, Majuli in the Indian state of Assam is also known for its rich ecosystem and Vaisnavite culture. Majuli has been nominated to UNESCO as a tentative World Heritage site. Majuli Festival - 21-24 Novemebr 2011
Majuli is located 20 km from the city of Jorhat in Assam; it lies in the middle of the great Bramhaputra River and is accessible by ferry. It is a unique destination, best described as the cradle of Vaishnavite culture and tradition in Assam; it is resplendent with various tribes, distinctive flora, fauna and pristine natural surroundings and idyllic atmosphere. It provides shelter to over 800 different species of birds, fresh water dolphins. It spans 90 km from east to west and 16 km from north to south.
The enchanting and serene surroundings in and around the island are a respite from the hustle bustle and monotonous urban life.
Majuli lies nearly 1100 km from the mouth of river Brahmaputra in Tibet. The island was originally known as Majoli meaning the land in the middle of two rivers. It was formed when the Brahmaputra River and its tributary the Lohit changed its course. The island has a population of nearly 160.000 and is an appropriate destination for travelers looking for eco and spiritual nourishment.
Some of the resident tribes of this island are Misings, Deori, Chutias, Sonoal kacharies. These tribes have distinct cultures that can be experienced during their cultural festivals. These festivals are not only a major tourist attraction, but also provide a valuable insight into the rich Assamese culture and heritage.
During the reign of the Ahom empire, Majuli became the place of residence of high ranking officials and flourished as an important port as at that time; the main form of transportation was by the river.
Majuli has preserved the culture and traditions of Assam for the past five hundred years. The neo-Vaishnavite religion was initiated by saint Srimanta Sankardeva and his disciple Madhabdeva during the reign of Dihingia Raja from 1497-1539 at Dhoahat –Belguri. Since then, several Satras or monasteries were constructed to honor the saint; these still exist on the island and have preserved the age old traditions, culture, dance forms, music and art of Assam.
Visiting some of the Satras will unfold the interesting historical background associated with them. There are about twenty two Satras at Majuli and each monastery boasts of its unique and ancient collection of Assamese pottery, handmade masks, handicrafts and prayer horns.
Majuli initially covered a total area of 1,250 square kilometers which now has considerably reduced to only 650 square kilometers due to continuous erosion of the area. The rich cultural, religious heritage and abundance of nature is responsible for its probable consideration as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The uniqueness in terms of its location, vast bio diversity and culture makes Majuli a very charming and cherished destination.
Birds and Dolphins:
The island is dotted with greenery and several water bodies that attract numerous migratory birds. Some of the rare and endangered species of avifauna seen here includes Greater Adjutant Stork, Pelican, Siberian Crane, Large Cormorant, Darter, Grey Heron, Open Bill Stoke and the Whistling Teal.
Both greater and lesser adjutant storks and open-bill storks have a large population in Majuli in two separate colonies — one in the heart of Garmurh town and the other at Namkatoni village in Kamalabari. The total estimated population is about a thousand. These birds have been nesting in tall trees in these two areas for several years now.
The great River Dolphin (Platinista gangetica) can also be seen in the Waters of Majuli.
Concern:
Majuli is facing a great threat of due to the continuous shrinking of its shoreline by Majuli Island experiences annual Flood and Land Erosion.
Environmentalist and social activists of the region have joined hands and started a campaign known as "Save Majuli" for the preservation of this sole river island of India.
Vaishnava Satras
The Vaishnava Satras were founded by Sankardeva, the father of Assamese culture. These Satras or Hindu monasteries represent the ancient culture and tradition of Assam. Some of the major Satras are Dakhinpat Satra, Garamurh Satra , Auniati Satra, Kamalabari Satra, Benegenaati Satra, Shamaguri Satra. They are centres of art, culture, tradition and handicrafts. Dakhinpat Satra Dakhinpat Satra was founded by Banamalidev, an exponent of Raasleela, Garamurh Satra Garmuh Satra was founded by Lakshmikantdeva Kamalabari Satra Kamalabari Satra was founded by Bedulapadma Ata, is a center of art, culture, literature . Bengenaati Satra Muraridev, the grandson of Shankaradeva's step mother, had founded the Swargadeoatra. The royal robes of Ahom king Swargadeo Gadadhar Singha, are preserved here.
Pottery making centre
Majuli is famous for Potteries that show trace influences from Egyptian and Harappan civilization. Located in upper Majuli this centre works to preserve the traditional pottery art of Majuli.
Birds
Various species of migratorybirds are found in Majuli during the winter months. The nests of storks can be seen on the tall trees at Majuli. During winter moths it becomes a birding hotspot with Little Grebe, Spotted Billed Pelican, Open Bill Stoke, White Adjutant Storke, Lesser Adjutant Storke, Darter, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Pond Heron, Cattle Egret, , Grey Lag Goose, Bar Beaded Goose, any many other birds found in abundance.
Exclusive hand-made pottery made from beaten clay burnt in fired kilns. The process is similar to the one used by the people of the ancient Harrappan Civilisation.
Marvellously woven Mekhela Chadars, the traditional attire of Assamese women will certainly attract your attention. Mishing, women make a world famous fabric called "Mirizim" in exquisite varieties and textures of silk and cotton.

Every year the Majuli Festival is celebrated in the month of November. It provides a glimpse of the cultural heritage that the place holds.

The festivities start from the 21st of the month of November and continue for four days ending on the 24th of November. The festival showcases the Neo-Viashnavite culture of the Majuli region. Cultural performances displaying the tradition of the inhabitants of Majuli are a specialty of this festival. Artists and artisans from all over the state also come to exhibit their handmade products at the Majuli festival. These include traditional handicrafts and garments, locally made cane and bamboo products, and so on. Food fests are also organized at the festival and there is a rich display of the local delicacies of the state in general and of the tribes of Majuli in particular.

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Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 22 °C 35 °C
Winter 7 °C 18 °C
The island of Majuli enjoys a sub-tropical monsoon climate, as is found in the other parts of Assam.
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