Majuli is known to be the cradle of Assam civilization. The largest river island in the world, Majuli is located near the mighty river Brahmaputra. It is a unique amalgamation of culture and heritage that might be at the brink of extinction due to global warming. The wonderful island is home to the ‘Satriya’ dance, the delightful drama style called ‘Bhaona’ and the temples associated with the Vaishnavite tradition within Hinduism. It is said that the father of Assam’s culture, Sankaradeva, established the first Satra here in Majuli. Let us look at the top five places to visit in Majuli–
1. Kamalabari Satra
The heart of all that is religious in the island, the Kamalabari Satra is the centre for all things related to culture, literature, art and music. The beautiful structure is slightly old and dilapidated but the intricate designs on the walls and ceilings are just as bright as they were when they were made. The North Satr is a section of the Satra that participates in cultural events of the Satriya art. The ceilings have colourful images of deities and Gods that bring Assamese culture to life. A must visits for those looking for a quick lesson in Assamese history, the Kamalabari Satra is a wonderful place to start your trip while in Majuli.
2. Dakhinpat Satra
Known for having the patronage of the Ahom rulers, the Dakhinpat Satra is a regal monument known for its prime religious as well as cultural importance. The festival of Rasotsava is celebrated here. On a full moon, the place is host to the festival’s highlight, the Rasleela which is performed here by local artists. A must-visit to get a glimpse of Assamese architecture as well as a sneak-peek into the culture of Satras.
The holy space of Garmur is home to the religious centre of the Vaishnavite tradition. It has numerous intricately carved pillars which hold up the roof under which the praying-area is located. The place also has artefacts and literature related to the Vaishnavite tradition for all those who want to learn more about the local culture. Considered to be one of the most prominent religious centres, the Garmur is certainly a place to visit for the serenity it gives.
4. Auniati Satra
Auniati Satra founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva is known for its collection of unique Assamese jewelry, utensils and artefacts. The beautiful yellow gateway to the Satra has lion statues on each side and carved deities all over. Popularly known around for the Apsara and Paalnaam dance that are performed here, the centre is well known as one of the most important centres for Assamese culture and tradition.
Tengapania is a golden temple-like structure, it is a remarkable example of Ahom architecture. The pointed pillars and the exquisite statues all around the place are mesmerising. The temple is located near the river Brahmaputra and is known to be a very popular picnic spot. The area is green and on a sunny day, it is the perfect place to hang out near the water and take in the serenity of the golden building. A must-visit while in Majuli, it eludes the kind of grace that Assamese culture embodies.
Majuli is known today as the fast disappearing island due to soil erosion and rising water levels. The island that was once known as the world’s largest river water island is now at the edge of extinction. The culture of Assam has many important historical roots in the island’s monuments, dances and people. Recently, due to the rising water-levels, the island has been in the news as many wildlife organisations are fighting for the preservation of this beautiful place. A must-visit in Assam for a unique glimpse into the strand within Hinduism and a sneak-peek into Assamese culture and cuisine, Majuli is the perfect weekend getaway that you have been waiting for.