1 Ali aye ligang
In the middle of February, the festival of Ali aye ligang is observed with a lot of fanfare. Beginning on the second Wednesday in February and continuing through the next week, it is observed and celebrated for five days. There are dishes consisting of pig, fish, and birds as well as purang apin (rice wrapped in unique leaves), apong (rice beer), and other regional dishes and fares. The ancient Mising dance Gumrag Soman is performed in every community to honour the supreme Donyi polo (mother sun and father moon) and to request an efficient crop and harvest year.
The phrase Ali Ai Ligang is made up of the terms “Ali,” which refers to legumes, “Aye,” which denotes seeds, and “Ligang” (to sow). On the first Wednesday of the Mising lunar month of “Gimur Polo,” the Mishing community celebrates Ali Aye Ligang. The ceremonial beginning of the paddy seeding on the first day of the festival serves as a marker and ploughing and tree cutting are prohibited all throughout the festival. It would be a great opportunity to experience and participate in this celebration with the people if you visited the area in February.
2 Raas Mahotsav
One occasion that draws a lot of travellers to Majuli each year is Raas Mahotsav. Every year in November, Majuli celebrates the Raas Mahotsav Festival in honour of Lord Krishna with contagious fever. With the aid of traditional dances, masks, puppets, singing, and dancing, the numerous monasteries on the island present various versions of Krishna’s life that are accompanied by a wonderful riot of colours.
The Island becomes a divine location for the four-day event that begins on Raas Purnima day. Majuli transforms into a true place of pilgrimage during the Raas festival. Majuli gets a lot of people visiting from the day of Lakhi Purnima.
During this festival, the satras take on the role of the main attractions as they recreate and pay homage to Lord Krishna’s life and the Raas Leela through elaborate preparations and a great presentation that includes plays, devotional songs and dance, masks, and traditional musical instruments. Try to visit Majuli in the month of November do that you could experience this amazing Raas Mahotsav.
3 Observing numerous endangered bird species
Majuli Island’s rich floodplains and extremely productive wetlands provide a variety of birds with the perfect place to reside. It not only provides for the needs of the resident birds but also draws in a lot of migrating birds, including several rare species. Birds can be found in more than 250 different species. Among these are a number of endangered species of birds.
Only present in India and Cambodia, the Greater Adjutant is one of the world’s rarest stork species. They are scavenger birds that are crucial to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Only 1,200 of the bird’s original population survive in the world, making it severely endangered. Unfortunately, due to pollution and rapid urbanisation, Greater Adjutants are in danger of losing their marsh habitats.
Another unusual bird that can be found in Majuli is the pelican. Their long beaks and large neck pouches, which they use to gather prey and remove the water before ingesting it, set them apart from other animals. They can fit a little over 3 gallons (11 litres) of water in their bag. They can only hold two to three times that much in their stomachs. Being gregarious creatures, they frequently move in flocks and are laid out in a line. Due to habitat loss, disturbance, and environmental contamination, their populations have declined, and three of their species are threatened with extinction. Before its too late, people must go visit this place and observe the endangered species of birds present in this place.
Due to its geographical, physiographic, and climatic features, the Majuli Island supports biodiversity. The river Subarnsiri and its tributaries Ranganadi, Dikrong, Dubla, and Tuni, among others, border the island on the north-west, the Kherkutia Suti (a Brahmputra spill channel) on the north-east, and the main Brahmputra River on the south and south-west. Majuli is located in Assam’s broader Brahmaputra Valley and is subject to monsoon weather. Except during the driest months of December and January, the environment is kept moist by its location, the presence of wetlands, and the high-water table.
The network of tributaries largely influences and effects the development of the island’s hydrological systems and the island’s many land forms, including marshes, swamps, chapories, and wet land. The physical and geographical factors that generate annul flooding result in the transport of fine silt and clayey sediments. These features of Majuli Island give rise to the development of a wide and large variety of flora and wildlife. They are some of the important elements that were essential to the development and establishment of the Majuli Island’s cultural landscape. Evergreen and deciduous trees, grasses, and a broad variety of marsh flora, bamboos, and canes thrive in areas with heavy rainfall, high soil moisture content, and flat plains. There are many different types of trees, shrubs, palms, bamboos, ferns, aquatic plants, and other plants in the Majuli. If you are a flora enthusiast who has interest in exploring different species and types of flora then this is the place for you.
5 Making traditional masks
Over the years, the traditional Majuli mask-making culture has contributed greatly to our intangible cultural legacy. Srimanta Sankaradeva introduced it as an aesthetic interpretation into Sattriya culture.
The raw materials used to make Sattriya masks, or Mukha, include bamboo, cane, potter’s clay (kumar maati), cow dung, jute fibre, paper, cotton cloth, shola pith, and natural colours and these are biodegradable. To create the finished product, the craftsmen work in a sequential order. Making the basic construction out of split bamboo organised in a hexagonal pattern is the first step in the procedure. Jaatibaah, a variety of bamboo, must be two to three years old in order to be pliable. A layer of cotton cloth dipped in potter’s clay is placed on top of the hexagonal framework. The cloth is then covered in a clay and cow dung mixture, which is then cured in the sun. The artisans work on the mask’s look once it has cured. The next step is to glue cloth to the clay-covered mask. The mask is painted with natural colours when it has completely dried.
These masks are currently employed for a variety of purposes in addition to the conventional theatrical performances, including contemporary plays, home décor, and museum exhibits. The goal of Majuli’s mask makers is to use their ancient skills to reflect contemporary manifestations of globalisation. This inventive creative experiment has made this custom well-known all across the world. These masks are also offered as presents to family, friends, colleagues, etc. The heritage of mask-making is being actively preserved by the people of Majuli today also so that it could continue forever. Try observing the method of mask making you will realise it is very interesting and many tourists get attracted towards these masks and feel tempted buy them.
6 Agriculture and Bamboo
The primary sector of the economy is agriculture, with paddy as the principal crop. Majuli has a thriving and varied agricultural culture, where up to 100 different types of rice are farmed without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilisers. A few of the fascinating varieties of rice produced include the bao dhan, which is grown underwater and harvested after ten months, the Komal Saul, a special variety that can be eaten after soaking the grains in warm water for 15 minutes, and the Bora Saul, a sticky brown rice used to make the traditional cake with fish known as pitha.
Everything from furniture to fishing gear to musical instruments is made out of bamboo. The homes are also constructed of bamboo and are raised on pillars to block rainwater entry. With paddy fields and a natural pond as its surroundings, Majuli’s Ygdrasill Bamboo Cottage is tranquil and unique in its sort. Each hut has an adjoining bathroom and is constructed of bamboo from the area. For tourists who are looking for a real and unique bamboo cottage experience, this is an excellent spot to stay.
7 Pilgrimage and Culture Tour
Many visitors come to Majuli Island solely to participate in a pilgrimage and culture trip. Majuli, an Assamese pilgrimage island, is notable for its scenery, culture, and, most notably, for being a location where Vaisnavism has flourished since the fifteenth century. There are 22 Satras on the island, all of which are exquisite representations of Assamese culture and traditions. If not all, you could look into a handful.
Satras are Vaishnavite institutions where plays are presented, prayers are conducted, and instruction is given. On Majuli Island, some of the earliest satras date back to the 17th century. You can choose to visit Chamaguir, a well-known Satra, on Majuli Island. You can observe individuals creating the ancient masks based on Ramayana and Mahabharata figures here.
8 Village tour
The scheduled castes, non-tribals, and tribal people make up Majuli’s population. The Misings, Deoris, and Sonowal Kacharis are a few of the tribal groups. Communities that are not part of a tribe include the Koch, Kalitas, Ahoms, Chutias, Keot, Yogis, etc. The majority of the island’s Mising residents are descendants of Arunachal Pradesh immigrants who came to Majuli decades ago. Speaking languages include Deori, Assamese, and Mising. The island includes 144 communities with more than 150,000 residents. People will get to see the traditional bamboo and mud construction of houses which eventually has given way to concrete ones.
There are farming and tribal villages spread out across the entire island of Majuli. You can enjoy Majuli Island’s lovely culture and traditions by taking a village tour. You might expect to witness locals engaged in the renowned traditional craft of hand weaving along a roadside.
The term “Borgeet” is used to refer to a unique collection of devotional songs that were written in the late 15th and early 16th centuries A.D. by Sankaradeva and his disciple and associate, Madhavadeva, the leading Vaisnavists in Assam. The songs were set in ragas that were mentioned in ancient Indian musical treatises. It must have been a later, reverent addition by their devoted followers that gave the adjectival prefix Bar, which means magnificent or superior, its meaning. This might have an impact on the melodic grandeur of the songs as well. The symbol Dhrung, short for Dhruva, denotes the opening two lines of a Borgeet.
Since Borgeets are not performed in dramas, these songs are sung primarily for the dramas. There are works for rhythm, etc., in the Ankiya Geets. They are composed primarily for popular entertainment and vary from drama to drama.
The Majuli Music Festival is a yearly music event that takes place in November in Majuli’s stunning natural setting along the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. At the event, more than 30 independent musicians from various parts of India will play live music. Majuli Music Festival is here to provide lovers a variety of experiences through music, art, culture, food, and, of course, the traditional Rice Wine, with a vision to promote rural tourism, uplift the local population, and make Majuli self-sufficient. You may relax and enjoy the experience of living on an island, local style, while exchanging cultures and making new friends from all over India and the world at the largest independent music festival in the country.
10 Boat making
One of the most popular activities on the island is building boats. For a really long time Majuli has been home to crafts linked to boat manufacturing as the people residing there have always engaged in boat making. As a result, the islanders are skilled in building boats. Both Sattras and people from other communities like this craft. In the area, Auniati and Kamalabari Sattra are well-known for producing high-quality boats. Every family in Majuli typically has a boat, which is used primarily during monsoon season and floods. Because they are a convenient and affordable means of transportation, boats are utilised for commuting from one location to another.
The primary line of work for those from Salmara, Borgayon, and Nawsali is building boats. These villages’ 3000 families rely on this historic boatmaking industry. Boats were traditionally fashioned of Azhar wood, which is now exceedingly expensive. Therefore, the wood from Semalo, Uriam, Outenga, Atrocarpus chaplasha (Samkathal), and Hijal trees, which are locally abundant, is the main material used to create boats. Guttaiya nao were boats that were traditionally made from a single piece of wood. Today, split timber is used to construct boats. Depending on their intended usage, boats are given names. Boats are still built using traditional tools like chisels, rivets, and hacksaws and blades. A sustainable cycle of boat manufacturing and consumption on the island is essential to the economics of boat building. Boat production is currently limited in scope. This ancient craft is supported by a ready market that is present in Majuli and the surrounding areas. Tourists are often intrigued by the methods of boat making in Majuli. You can also go watch and learn their methods of boast making if it excites you.
Majuli’s traditional kind of cottage industry is pottery making. Usually, pots were exchanged for paddy, which is the main food source for the people who live on this island. In order to swap their pots for paddy, potters travel from village to village, especially after harvest. In the past, pots were sold along the Brahmaputra from Dhuburi to Sadiya. Pottery-making is mostly practised by Kumar communities in Majuli.
Again, the annual weather patterns on the island dictate the methods used in pottery making. To stockpile dirt for floods, shallow pits are created in the ground during the pre-monsoon season. Alluvial deposition fills caves and dugouts left following clay extraction during the flood season, which lasts from June to September. Dugouts are typically filled with clay deposits due to the discharge of a lot of silt and sand.
The 26 different types of earthen pots made in Majuli are primarily traded during the post-flood season. Examples of these pots include mola, nadia, choru, pati kalah, becha lkalah, and chaki. The women mix clay, silt, and sand for the major lump in the puddle. Women majority of who are employed in pottery and potter trade manually shape it, air dry it, and bake it in a furnace. The men gather driftwood, bamboo, and banana leaves to prepare the furnace. The furnace is heated for 8 hours and again for 4 hours using drift wood and other fuel wood, respectively.
This conventional method of cannabis production provides a living for close to 5000 people. Pottery is an inherited trade. Regardless of their castes, it is performed by the community’s consecutive generations of members. Since the river Brahmaputra provides the clay needed to make pottery, potters are reliant on it. The main means of transportation for the commerce of pots is the river. Bamboo and lumber that are readily available locally are used to create the tools needed to produce pots. The potters themselves make these. Tourists can observer as well as engage in pottery themselves to get the authentic experience of pot making.
Traditional looms are made in Majuli using bamboo and timber, both of which are easily accessible. The several types of raw materials used for weaving cloth include cotton, silk, muga, pat, and eri. Bombax ceiba, often known as the simul tree, is a typical species in Majuli and is used to extract cotton. As a result, it is accessible both inside and outside of Sattras.
Locals raise silk, muga, and mulberry to produce thread. Locals must grow trees on which these larvae thrive, such as the leaves of Litsea cubeba (Mezangkori), which the larvae of this species feed. By combining its dust with lime, Morinda angustifolia (Asu gas) is used to generate red coloured dye. This dye is utilised to colour cotton fabric.
The majority of the families on Majuli Island are weavers. Domestically, both men’s and women’s traditional attire is weaved. They create dress materials like hand-woven mekhla, chaddars, riha, churia, cheleng, and borkapor, among others. Majuli communities from various regions all weave. Some of the tribes, including the Katani, Yogi, and Nath, are regarded as weaving tribes. Along with cotton textiles, the Mishing village on the island is renowned for its silk cloth weaving. Domestically, silk from cocoons is made. The government’s sericulture department provides cocoon eggs. Along with agriculture, weaving is their primary occupation. The main industry in places like Sonari Atti and Lezep Chuk village is weaving.
In the current time, people have started to combine traditional clothing with sewn attire. As a result, the demand for hand-woven clothing is met locally. Small-scale marketing of prepared fabric is done, and it is marketed in the adjacent urban areas.
Since there have been people living on the island, fishing has been the Kaivarta community’s traditional vocation. The occupation’s guiding and important factors are the landform, water level, aquatic vegetation, and seasonal fluctuations. plays a key part in preserving the natural cycle, preserving the area’s ecological importance. For a portion of the population of Majuli, fishing is one of their primary means of subsistence. Most scheduled castes and tribes like the Mishings and Deories practise it. The principal resources of Majuli Island are the various kinds of water bodies. They consist of marshy ground, ponds, rivulets, and other types of wetland. Man has developed a variety of fishing methods dependent on the depth of the water and likelihood of fish.
With the change of season, fishing strategies also vary. Different traditional tools have been created locally for fishing in various locations. The tools were created based on the water level and the likelihood of catching certain sorts of fish. There are many different types of fishing nets, including the Borjal (large net), Ghat, Phansi, Kerang, Kewali, Looter, and Tongi jal. You can fish anywhere but fishing in Majuli is special as they use traditional methods so you should go there and try it out yourself.
14 Kamalabari Satra Majuli
Kamalabari, a Satra in Majuli, was established by Bedulapadma Ata. It has been and still is the epicentre of culture, literature, the arts, and classical studies. This satra has given the state a number of notable cultural leaders. Numerous well-known dancers from Assam’s classical dance tradition, including Muktiyar Bayan and the late Maniram Dutta, are featured in this Satra. This satra trains a large number of performers, many of whom go on to perform on both domestic and international stages. The inhabitants in this satra are so hospitable that you will learn a lot about their way of life and culture, making it a must-see when you are in Majuli. It is one of the most famous satra out of all the satras hence one must definitely visit it.
15 Dakhinpat Satra Majuli
One of the most well-liked satras is the Dakhinpat Satra on Majuli Island in the state of Assam. A Sri Vanamalidev follower named Vamshigopal founded this Satra in the year 1584. To feel the peace and authenticity of this satra and the place, a number of devotees go from all over the world to this satra. Several lovely floral forms, religious symbols, and animal forms are engraved on the satra’s entrance gate. On the inside walls of the satra, there are also numerous exquisite paintings and sculptures to be seen. Sri Sankardeva is credited with creating Dakhinpat Satra, which is regarded as a haven for dances.
The monks who reside in the satras are referred to as Bhakats and devote their entire lives to serving the Lord. The writings and artefacts that are inscribed on the Sanchi tree’s bark are preserved thanks in large part to the efforts of the satradhikars. This satra lavishly and passionately celebrates Rasotsava. One of the important festivals in the state of Assam is this one. The art and culture that are prevalent in Majuli are clearly visible at this location.
16 Garmur Satra Majuli
One of the Majuli’s royal satras is the Garamur Satra. It was founded in 1656 AD by Jayaharideva and is regarded as a significant holy site. The atmosphere in this old satra is really melancholy. There used to be two Garmurs, but they were eventually combined into one. Many antiquated items and antiques may be found at this Vaishnavite site in Majuli, which might provide visitors a better understanding of the locals’ religious practises.
The change to turn this monastery into a semi-monastic one was started by Sri Sri Pitambardev Goswami. In the satra, worshippers congregate in a shared prayer chamber to ask the Almighty for his blessings. The satra is kept neat and orderly, and the isolation of the location brings serenity to the mind and soul. The Raslila festival is one of the many cultural events that are organised at the Garamur Satra. Despite being against the laws of the other satras, both men and women participate in this big celebration.
17 Auniati Satra Majuli
The Auniati Satra was formed in 1653 AD by Sultanla, a monarch of the Ahom people. The Lord Krishna, also known as Govinda, is the idol that is worshipped in this satra. Originally from Jagannath Puri, this deity was erected here. This well-known satra has twelve branches spread over the state, with the main branch in North Guwahati. In Assam, this satra is regarded as the cultural heartland of Satriaya and Vaishnavism. Along with performing daily religious duties, the satra also engages in a variety of other activities, such as singing and dancing in satriayas, teaching various religious texts, and writing biographies of Vaishnavite saints.
You might attend the devotional performances held here in order to glorify Lord Krishna during your visit. This satra’s primary prayers begin in the morning and go till the evening. The satra celebrates numerous holidays and special occasions, including Bohag Bihu, Janmashtami, Holi, Kati Bihu, Paal Naam, and others. At the satra, numerous cultural events are organised throughout these significant occasions.
18 Tengapania Majuli
On the banks of the Brahmaputra River in Majuli, there is a breathtaking location called Tengapania. Machkhoa, Dhakuakhana, and the Disangmukh surround this lovely location on all sides. It’s a popular location for picnics as well, where you can enjoy quality time with loved ones while taking in the natural splendour. Tengapania is beautifully framed by the river, which adds to the area’s beauty.
This place has a golden temple building that is of the Ahom architectural style. This temple’s beautiful pillars and statues are intriguing to view. The tourists can spend some time unwinding and enjoying themselves at this lovely picnic location in addition to visiting the different satras at Majuli.