Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Amazing facts of Majuli, the largest fresh water island in the world

The largest river island Majuli ,Assam India Today 
Majuli,  the  largest fresh water islandYouTube

Majuli,  the  largest fresh water island in the world, is located in the middle of the mighty Brahmaputra river just 20 km away from the Cultural Capital of Assam - Jorhat. Now the entire island has been declared a district. This island district can be reached only by ferries from towns like Jorhat. It is a seat of Neo-Vaishnavite culture, unique to this island. Dry months do not spell danger to the people here, however, the wet months  are difficult to pass through. Though they bring in plenty of rain, it is wrought with dangers due to major flooding. 

Naturally formed with a serene ambiance in the bosom of the mighty Brahmaputra and quietly lying far away from the hustle and bustle of city life and urban madness in between the two rivers of Subansiri and Kherketia in Upper Assam, Majuli is simply awe-inspiring, a paradise for those who would like to meditate and  go into a trance, leaving behind them the  dull, mundane life. 

The following are other interesting facts about this vast highly fertile river inland:

01. The vast island, formed by the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, is subject  itself  to shaping and reshaping (Geomorphological process of denudation and deposition) with each major flood; eroded land mass is transported and redeposited as sediments elsewhere downstream.

02. Massive flooding in 1750 was the main cause of the formation of this huge island in the middle of bigm river. This serene island, not yet polluted, supports  unique bio-diversity system and  is home to numerous exotic birds, including migratory birds.

03. Among the 248 villages on the island, 166 are facing threats due to flooding. A couple of thousand families are living on the embankments and their homes are prone to destruction during major floods. The total area of 875 sq. km in midstream of the delta system is a nature's wonder.

04. Since 2001, according to the media report,  3,000 plus families have lost their land to erosion and safely relocated elsewhere.  Embankments are still home to more than 2,000 families.

young women on the Majuli Isle, Assam.
05. There are neither  major educational institutions  nor employment opportunities on this island.

06. In  September 2016,  the island was declared the largest river island by the Guinness Book of World Records toppling Marajo in Brazil. The government has a proposal to lay concrete roads covering many areas and improve other facilities on the island.

07. The government has recently allocated Rs.1200.00 crore to  preserve and improve amenities in the island of
Majuli. This includes a cultural university and a post-graduate college.

08. The union government has a  proposal to build a 121-km long national highway  connecting  Majuli with two major towns — Jorhat and Lakhimpur. This will bring in lots of tourists from India and abroad as this place is rich in fauna and flora. Yet another attractions are the festivals, art, culture and spirituality.

09.  People here follow the teachings of  saint Srimanta Sankardeva who propagated the Neo - Vaishnava tradition; it is a variation of Vaisnavism. 

10.  The island is inhabited by Mising tribes, Deori and Sonowal Kachri tribes and they  speak Mising, Assamese and Deori language.

11. Because of  massive erosion,  the number of  ‘Satras’- Vasihnavite monasteries came down from 65 to 32.  

RailYatri blog

12. In the last three or four decades one third of the island is lost due to flooding. 
Steps are underway to dredge the Brahmaputra and its tributaries and remove silt deposit which in turn would control flood and erosion.

Majuli Island, rare stork birds.Times of India
Majuli Island, Assam. Thrillophilia

13. Connectivity with the outside world -ie. the arrival of more tourists should not affect the pristine purity and the cultural sanctity of this place. The people are very particular about safeguarding the unadulterated   Majuli’s culture and spirituality.