Majuli, the biggest river island in the world, is located amidst the river Brahmaputra in Assam. Originally this island was spread over an area of about 1250 square kilometres. However, due to erosion, its size has now decreased considerably. According to the records of 2001, it covered an area of about 421.65 square km only.
The island of Majuli, which is popular as a pollution free fresh water island, is located at a distance of about 20 km from Jorhat town and about 200 km east of Guwahati, the largest city in the state. It is accessible by ferries, which can be taken from Jorhat. From east to west, Majuli measures 90 km and from north to south, it is around 16km. Most of the areas in the island are covered by water.
Originally, the island of Majuli was a long and narrow piece of land, which during ancient times was known as Majoli, meaning land in the middle of two parallel rivers. It was called so because it had the River Brahmaputra flowing in its North and the River Burhidihing flowing in its South. Both these rivers met at Lakhu.
During 16611696 frequent earthquakes occurred, which led to a disastrous flood in 1750. Due to the flood, the Brahmaputra got divided into two anabranches, one of which continued to flow along the original channel, while the other started flowing along the Burhi Dihing channel, which lead to the formation of the Majuli Island.
Majuli is the centre for Vaishavinism in Assam and is popular because of the Satras or monasteries and hermitages located here. The religious beliefs of Saint Sankardeva and Madhavdeva are preached at these Satras.
There are about 25-26 Satras still present in Majuli, the prominent ones being the Satras of Garmur, Kamalabari and Auniati, which attract tourists and reflect the rich culture and tradition of the land.
Majuli is also considered as the cultural capital of Assam and the cradle of Assamese civilization for more than 500 years. The Satras located in this place have well preserved antique items such as weapons, jewellery, utensils and other things that are of cultural importance.
Pottery in Majuli is also very famous because it is made from beaten clay that is burnt in ovens fired with driftwood, which is quite similar to the ancient Harrappan Civilisation. The culture and dance forms of this place remain unaffected by modernisation even today. The handloom work done by the tribes living in this place is well known.