Monday, August 24, 2009

Majuli : The Mystic River Island at a Glance

Majuli which is famous for being the largest river island in the World is in Assam, India. It also boasts to the appreciation of being the largest fresh water island in South Asia. Majuli nestles in the lap of the mighty river Brahmaputra and is built in an area of 650 sq km.

The distance of the island from the state's largest city Guwahati is about 200 kms. It is accessible by ferries from the town of Jorhat .The island was formed due to the meandering changes by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries mainly the river Lohit.

Majuli is basically caressed by the lapping waters of the Brahamaputra and is stretched to the Himalayas. Majuli is said to be the abode of the Assamese Neo Vaishnavite culture.

Originally the island of Majuli is said to be long narrow piece of land in the middle of two rivers Brahamaputra in the north and Burhidihing in the south and they both conjoined at Lekhu. History reveals that frequent earthquakes in the period of 1661-1696 led to a catastrophic flood in 1750 . This flood resulted in the split of the mighty river Brahmaputra into two branches. One of the branches flowed in the original channel while the other flowed along the Burhiding channel resulting in the birth of the Majuli island.

The people dwelling in the Majuli island are mostly Tribals of the Mishing tribes from Arunachal Pradesh who migrated to Majuli centuries ago. Though the majority chunk are the Mishing tribes but the population also consists of people from the Deori and the Sonowal Kacharis tribes.

The languages spoken here are basically Assamese, Mishing, and the Deori .The island consists of one hundred and forty four villages and a density of 300 individuals per sqkm.

Majuli is a cultural conglomeration which has cradled the Assamese civilisation for the past 500 years. It is said to be the hub of the Neo Vaishnavite culture established by saint Srimanta Shankaradeva . It was by this saint that many satras or monasteries were established. The Satras are said to shield the antiques like the jewellery , weapons, and rest items of cultural importance.

As a land of cultural paramount, Majuli is multifaceted for its art and craft artefacts. One such example of grandeur is Pottery making. Potteries are made out of properly beaten clay which on a later stage is burnt on drift wood fire kilns in the same process as was done by the people in the era of Harrappan civilisation. Their culture and dance forms are also said to be untouched by modernism.

Handloom Industry in Majuli also commands an international reputation.

Majuli commands a place in the world map as a Bio diversity hub. Majuli unfolds a vanity as a wetland with a hotspot for flora and fauna. It also harbours many rare species of winter migratory birds like the large adjutant stork, Pelicans, Siberian Crane and the whistling Teal. The Island owns credibility of being pollution free owing to heavy rainfall and lack of factories and industries.

No comments: