Majuli is one of the most exotic tourist destinations in the state of Assam, which also hosts the popular Majuli festival. The festival is a crowd puller that attracts locals and tourists alike to showcase the unique Assamese tribal, and neo-Vaishnavite culture. This 4-day annual festival is an opportunity to peep into the culture and traditions of the tribes that live in the Majuli river island that is situated by the river Brahmaputra. The venue for the festival is the banks of the river Luit that is surrounded by surreal views and infinite blue sky.
History of Majuli Festival in India
Majuli in Assam is known to be the largest river island in the world and it also holds a Guinness World record for being so. Locals claim that the island used to had a land cover of 880 square kilometers which got shrunk to 352 square kilometers over a period of time due to the effect of erosion and growth of the rivers that surround it. Many folklores also state that the Majuli island was formed as a result of floods and earthquakes in the 17th century. Legends have it that the island was known as Ratnapura in the 12th Century and it served as the capital city for the Chutia Kingdom.
Today, the Majuli island is known to be a hub of various tribes, some of the most prominent ones are Misings, Deoris, and Sonowal Kacharis. The island is home to many non-tribal and scheduled caste tribes as well such as Ahoms, Koch, Yogis, Kalitas, and Keot. The languages spoken on the island are majorly Mising, Deori, and Assamese. There are many monasteries and Satras located on the island where all the religious rituals are performed by the Neo-Vaishnavites.
Majuli festival is celebrated for four days annually in the month of November. The festival begins on 21st November and culminates on 24th November every year. Majuli festival is marked by many cultural programs, folk dances, and stalls dedicated to local delicacies of the tribes of Majuli. Many budding and established artists, dancers, musicians, and artisans participate in the festival.
Major Attractions of Majuli Festival of Assam
1. Handicraft Items and Traditional Attire
The festival also features exhibitions on hand-made home decor items from bamboo and cane along with many pottery items. These items are available at very discounted rates during the festival. One also gets to witness the locals in their traditional attires during the festival that are Dhoti-Kurta for men and Mekhla-Chadar for women. Apart from these, there are many special attires that are worn by some specific tribes such as Sgaopha (turban) by Dimasa Tribe, Dokhna (wrap around) by Bodo Tribe, and Mibu Galuk (t-shirt) by Mising Tribe.
2. Folk and Tribal Culture of Majuli
The culture and traditions of Majuli island attract a lot of tourists from around the world. A lot of different cultural programs are celebrated during the course of this festival which shows the customs of the people of the island. One gets to witness the folk dance and folk music of the place.
3. Local Food
A food festival is also organized with all the amazing delicacies of the state as well as of the tribes living on Majuli Island. Here one will get to relish dishes like Duck Meat Curry, Maasor Tenga (fish curry), Paro Manxho (pigeon meat), Silk Worm, Pitha (sweet dish), and Alu Pitika.
Majuli is a lush green river island that is visited by tourists from across the country. People arrive here to witness the most-visited religious destinations like Kamalabari Satra, Garmur, Tengapania, Auniati Satra, Dakhinpat Satra, and popular fairs and festivals of Assam. Apart from these spiritual and cultural delights, you can also indulge in some fun activities like boat rides, strolling in the village, cycling, witnessing sunrise and sunset, and the mighty and mesmerizing Brahmaputra river.
You can conveniently reach Majuli from Jorhat through various modes and routes. Jorhat is located at an approximate distance of 2100km via NH 27, 3,000km via NH 27 and NH 52, 1,300km via NH 27, and 3,200 km via NH 44 from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru respectively. Read till the end to find out some best travel options to reach this exotic river island.
The Majuli Island is approximately 300km from Guwahati and 20km from Jorhat. Below mentioned, is an approximate idea of distance and the best route to take from nearby places to reach Jorhat:
Shillong - 365 km via AH1/AH2 and NH 715
Dimapur - 125 km via Silonijan-Barpathar-Sarupathar-Bokajanghat Road
From Jorhat, you have to avail ferry service to reach the island and participate in the festival. You can opt for two regular ferry rides to Majuli, out of which one leaves at 10:30 in the morning while the other at 2:30 in the afternoon. These ferry rides are suspended if the Brahmaputra river is flowing above the recommended water level and speed. The boat ride begins from Nimati Ghat in Jorhat and terminates at Kamalabari Ghat and Dakhinpat Ghat in Majuli and both these ferry routes take around 2 hours to reach Majuli Island.
If you are planning to travel by rail then you have to get down at the Jorhat railway station as it is the nearest to Majuli Island. There are no direct trains from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru to Jorhat Railway Station hence you have to travel via connecting trains from Guwahati. You may reserve seats in Jan Shatabdi Express or JTTN intercity from Guwahati and GHY Intercity from Dibrugarh.
Jorhat Airport is the nearest airport to Majuli Island. AirAsia, IndiGo, Vistara, SpiceJet, and GoAir run direct flights from Delhi and Kolkata to Guwahati Airport. You may pick SpiceJet and IndiGo if you are arriving from Mumbai and looking for non-stop flights. From Jorhat Airport, you have to cover a distance of nearly 22 km via local transport to reach Nimati Ghat from where the ferry services operate. Private ferry services run 6 to 7 times a day from Jorhat hence reaching the island will not cause any inconvenience.