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Majuli - delightful Serendipity

Author: Dr. Surabhi Chetia


The pleasant morning rays slowly permeated the cloud ridden sky & my heart smiled, it is going to be beautiful journey today. I packed my enthusiasm along with a bit of curiosity & started my road trip from my home in DIBRUGARH towards Majuli, UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The early morning traffic was sparse so I reached Bogibeel Bridge on the Mahabahu Bhrahmaputra without much of stress. The lovely blue skies, floating white clouds & the picturesque mountains in front, the stage was all set for beautiful journey. The beautiful greenery along the road, the Ali  (small village roads). the row of Tamul Gos (betel nut trees) surrounding the rural houses, the people of Axomiya gaon getting busy with their daily routine reminded me of my childhood trips to my grandparents’ home, it was nostalgia. I crossed small town of DHEMAJi & took diversion to DHOKUWAKHANA road. The road took me through many big & small villages, the baho’r jewra (bamboo fencing) guarding the assam type homes, the pukhuri (small ponds) in backyard, the taat -xaal (assamese handloom) in side verandah, the flock of country chicken roaming the pasoli bari (vegetable garden) & the haah (ducks) crossing the road to take a dip in the nearby wetland, I was collecting some wonderful shots for my Facebook stories.

After driving for almost 3 hrs, when I saw the signboard “WELCOME TO MAJULI” suddenly I realised the atmosphere around me completely changed. I felt sudden tranquillity, I could hear the rhythm of Bor-Taal of Paal-Naam from a distance, people on the road were in their traditional assamese attire, all men adorned Dhoti -Punjabi & the ladies were in their Mekhela-Chador with Fulam-Gamusa on their neck, the perfume of dhup- agarbatti permeated the air & the shops in the bojar (local bazaar) were bustling with the devotees, the entire surrounding was soaked in the colours of devotion & spiritualism, I could feel it in my soul. The people of Majuli are so gentle& polite, I instantly felt at home.

Majuli Riverside

Majuli – A centre of neo-vaishnavite culture

Majuli is known for several rich cultural traditions centred around Neo-Vaishnavite monasteries or Satras. Srimanta Sankardeva, the 15th-16th century saint of Assam introduced unique form of Vaishnavism, Eksaran Naamdharma or shelter-in-one-religion, that reduced focus on ritualism & emphasised on Devotion or Bhakti to lord Krishna, through Sravana (mass listening)  and Kirtans (songs praising the name & deeds iof Lord Krishna). The Satra started as religious sitting or association with purpose of reciting & explaining the Bhagavata but over the years, it turned into a full-fledged socioreligious & cultural institutions that patronised literature, music theatre, dance, manuscript writing, painting & crafts. The main entrance gate (known as Batchora) is guarded by lions on both sides which signifies as the guardian of the Satra. The Satra has a circular structure with row of houses called Baha at the periphery & the Naamghar (main prayer house) & the Manikuta (the sanctum santorum) in which the Asana (wooden tetrahedral structure which has seven steps) at the centre.

The Manikuta in Namghar is symbolic representation of Vaikuntha.

The Satradhikar (main preceptor) is the head & principal administrator of Satra, Deka-Satradhikar (second preceptor), Govind Puriya (third preceptor) & Bhakats (student monks) dwell inside the Satra & lead an Udasin life (life of celibacy & pure devotion to the thinking of God). The Bhakats study religious scripts, religious philosophy, learn about various forms of prayers, religious dances & religious theatrical shows (based on Indian epics of Puranas, Vedas, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Srimad Bhagwat Gita, etc), paintings related to deeds of Lord Krishna, mask making, bamboo work & other forms of craft which are uniquely indigenous to assam. The Bhakats are chosen ones, usually the family from different parts of assam, volunteer to send their sons and the representatives from the Satra go and select them, based on their inclination towards Dharma, music & culture who, will choose to live life of celibacy during their stay in Satra. The Satra is epicentre of knowledge, spiritualism & culture of assam which nurtures & preaches about the heritage, music, indigenous musical instruments, Bhaona (theatre based on religious texts), various forms of songs (Satriya Geet, Gayana Geet, Ozapali Geet, etc). Satra has played very significant role in the lives of all the people of Assam, creating equality & unity among the people of Assam belonging to diverse ethnicity.

Sri Sri Auniati Satra

Sri Sri Auniati Satra is the biggest & most famous Satra in Majuli. It was established in 1653 A.D. or 1575 Saka by Ahom King Sutamala. He was given name Jayaddhwaj Singha after he adopted the Hindu religion (Vaishnava) from first Satradhikar of Auniati satra Sri Sri Niranjan Deva. The land where Sri Sri Auniati Satra is built, was covered with “Auni” a kind of betel leaf & “Ati” translates to higher ground, hence the name “Auniati”. The main idol is form of Lord Krishna, Govinda, was brought from Jagannath kshetra (Puri, Orissa). One of the significant festivals of Sri Sri Auniati Satra is Palnaam (incessant congregation of prayer or chanting of the name of gods by the inmates of Satra) in the month of Kati (kartik) month. The museum at the Auniati Satra preserves various ancient relics from the time of Neo-Vaishnavism & the Ahom kingdom like, ivory chair, ivory mats, sword of Lachit Borphukan (The Great Ahom warrior) etc, which represents important part of history & culture of Assam.

Sri Sri Auniati Satra

Sri Sri Dakhinpat Satra

Sri Sri Dakhinpat Satra is the oldest Satra in Majuli which has “Akhand-Saki” which is continuously burning since the establishment of the Satra. It is famous for its RAAS FESTIVAL held in month of November (Raas Purnima) for which lakhs of devotees’ flock to Majuli. The nearby wetlands & large vegetations attract large number of migratory birds, which can be sighted alongside the road approaching the Satra. The Satra also has huge Ponds, one of which is fully covered with white lotus. The chirping of beautiful wild birds, calm atmosphere & awesome sunsets make the visit truly spiritual.

Sri Sri Dakhinpat Satra

Samaguri Satra

Samaguri Satra is famous for making beautiful colourful masks made of special clay over delicate bamboo frame work. These masks are very sacred & are used in Bhaona (religious theatre showing Raas Leela of Lord Krishna) and for religious purposes only. The Bhakats of the Satra are specially trained in the craft of the mask making here & pottery work.

Mask made in Samaguri Satra


There are about 22 functional Satras in Majuli, each of them is famous for presenting & preserving the craft, art & culture of Assam in its unique way. Each of the Satra offers training for uniquely special craft or art. If you want to understand Assam, visit Majuli, you will feel the essence of Assam here so take time to explore & explore at your own leisure time.

Majuli has so much to offer apart, from the insight to culture & spiritualism. The flora & fauna is unique, the beautiful paddy fields cover most of the land area, huge spread of mustard field covered in yellow flowers in season are sight to behold, the water bodies attracts so many unique migratory birds (like the Pelican, storks, purple moorhen, white breasted waterhen, etc) , Beautiful Sunsets, White sand river beaches, Peaceful Rural Life , Eco-friendly accommodations in the form of “Chang ghor”( raised bamboo huts), Facilities of the urban town, Beautiful Cafes with lovely interiors, Handmade bamboo craft, Handloom textile of different tribes & local delicacies. The accommodations are budget friendly, two-wheelers &cycles are easily available on rent & cabs are available to roam around & the nearby areas, it has everything for all.

The best thing about Majuli is heaven for the photography enthusiasts like me. It is paradise for people who are in search of traquility, solitude & some me-time away from the busy city life. The charm of Majuli will definitely inspire the inner poet or the writer in you, even if writing is not your hobby.

I was reborn in Majuli…….

The Naamghar

Ancient Manuscript in Satra

Glimpses of Majuli

How to reach:

Guwahati is the Capital of Assam which is cosmopolitan metropolitan city with lots of Big Malls, busy Night life & tourist attractions. It is well connected to rest of India by flights from & to Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport where all the Airlines pligh. Guwahati has two Railway Stations, Guwahati Railway Station & Kamakhya Railway Station connected by Rajdhani , Shatabdi & many other Trains.

From Guwahati you can fly to major cities of Assam, like Jorhat, Tezpur, Dibrugarh. Jorhat is a major town near to Majuli , you can reach Jorhat either by train like Shatabdi or Rajdhani or Volvo Bus Ride (Red Bus is available) &  travel time is approx 5hrs of from Guwahati to Jorhat either by train or Road.You can reach Majuli by crossing Brahmputra river at Nimati Ghat, Jorhat, by River ferry (run by Govt of Assam) which runs from 8.00 am to 4.00 pm at regular intervals & the journey by ferry takes about 1 hr to reach Majuli.

You can reach North Lakhimpur by Flight, Bus or Train  from Guwahati ( approx 5-6 hrs of jouney) & from Noth Lakhimpur you can take 38 km road trip to Majuli by hired cabs or bus ride.

Dibrugarh Town, another major town in Assam,is also well connected by flight & trains like Rajdhani. You can take road trip either by Bus or Cab to drive through a distance of approx 150km enjoying the breathtaking natural beauty.

Accomodation available in Majuli –

You can stay  in premium hotel with comfortable AC & non-AC rooms in Dekasang Resort which is located in river side. You can enjoy the beautiful  Sunset & Sunrise by the river , take a stroll among the trails to view the beautiful birds, enjoy leisure time in the lovely garden inside the resort. If you visit in winters, they arrange Bonfire by the river too.

You can stay in beautiful bamboo cottage with modern facilities which serve home cooked meals. There are many ecofriendly cottage, accomodations in tents or you can choose to stay in homestay in the village which serve excellent hospitality at pocket friendly budget.

You can stay in Satras also where they have guest accomodation in few big Satra but for that prior permission is required as the rooms are subject to availability. (You are required to wear traditional indian attire , like kurta-pyjama or dhoti -kurta for males & saree or mekhala-chador  for ladies,for staying in Satra Guest Room)

For accomodation & furthur details please write to-  drsurabhichetia@gmail.com

Other tourist attractions:

White sand river beaches for picnics, Bird watching points with watch towers to view Migratory birds, trip to the local village to see village lifestyle, shopping for local ethnic handloom textiles, Beautiful Restaurants which serve ethnic & popular Indian dishes.

Though Majuli is small town but the Internet connectivity is very good & all the urban facilities are available. When in Majuli you must try the Local fish delicacies made from fresh fish sourced from the Brahmaputra River.