Majuli Island may be losing ground to the River Brahmaputra’s floods, but it is currently the Guinness World Record-holder for the largest river island on the planet. Located about two hours from the Assamese city of Jorhat by ferry, Majuli also became India’s first island district in June.
Majuli is rich in culture, treasured for its centuries-old neo-Vaishnavite monasteries, known to stage dramas and make the Assamese folk theatre masks of bamboo and clay. Brahmaputra river cruises often stop at the island for village walks and birdwatching. In mid-November, people visit Majuli for raas leela performances over three days. The toll of erosion is turning the tide however, with locals moving as far as Andhra Pradesh for more stable living.
The island covers an area of 880 sq km, ranging between 10-15km in width—it is estimated that about a third of its area has been eroded by the Brahmaputra in the last 40 years. Majuli is home to 1.68 lakh people, most of whom belong to the Mishing tribe, and also the Deori and Sonowal Kachri tribes. The fertile soil yields many varieties of rice, some of which are unique to the island.
Getting There Ferries ply between Majuli’s Kamalabari Ghat and Nimati Ghat in Jorhat, Assam’s second-largest city (1.5 hr). Jorhat airport is located 7 km/15 min southwest of the city centre.