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North East Diary | Day 18 | Majuli

As usual, me and Prakash get up early and go for a long morning walk. I also had chat with the taxi drivers and few other people, both yesterday and today. Based on all these, I learn many things.

The law and order is very good in the island. There is an MLA, and he is also a minister in the present govt. (But I could hardly see any development in the island). There are schools, colleges, hospitals, and all types of shops. There is no industry and hence no pollution. There is an SBI branch and an ATM. There are few more banks, ATMs, police station, post office, local city busses etc.

There are two petrol bunks. Even though the petrol had to be ferried till the island with an added cost, it is priced along with rest of Assam. When the water level in the river goes down, the petrol tanker lorry cannot be ferried till the island. In such cases, they use barrels to ship the same.

By default, only rice is grown here. Of course, there are many varieties. A variety called Komal Chawal (soft rice) is special to the island. If we soak this rice in hot water for 15-20 minutes, then it gets cooked. We also tasted especial chutney made out of white sesame, a special lemon, chili etc.

Even though it is an island, it is not difficult to find brides and grooms for the prospective people. Cost of living is comparatively cheap here. There are no mosquitoes.

We also visited two Satras. In a tourist’s language, without going into detailed technicalities, you can call a Satra as a place of Lord Vishnu’s worship, i.e., a temple. And if you visit one Satra, then there is no need to visit other Satras. For an outsider, they are all same.

It is difficult to visit Majuli without the help of a tour operator, or at least a guide. Alternatively you can book a lodge and take their help. Because, there are no sign boards in the so called roads, and taxis are difficult to find easily, when you get down from the ferry.   But if you have a guide, then you can go and explore the village in your own vehicle also. It takes around two days to explore. The taxis charge around Rs. 1500/ plus fuel cost, per day. As there are no good roads, the mileage is around 5-6 km per liter.

The island is a heaven for bird watchers. You can hire a bicycle and do photography cum bird watching on your own. The rent for a cycle is around Rs. 50/ per day.

After lunch, we head towards Kamalabari Ghat, which is near to our lodge. The ferry is at 2 pm. But as the distance is more to Neamati Ghat from here, it takes around two hours to cross.

We board the ferry at 2 pm and reach Neamati Ghat at 4 pm. This ferry is normally crowded, I was told. And the seating arrangement is also not good.

If you want to explore the island clearly, then you have to keep at least 2 nights + 1 day for this.

It starts drizzling when we reach the ghat. And we hurried to our Tempo Traveller quickly. It is 4.20 pm, and is already dark. Now we take another route to reach the highway, NH37, towards Shivsagar. To our surprise, this road is in good motorable condition.

Our next and last place on the itinerary is Shivsagar. We reach there at 6 pm. It is dark and we can’t do much sightseeing. However, we are able to see the Shivadol (Shiva Temple). It is a magnificent temple and all of us liked it.

From here w move on towards Dibrugarh. On the way we stop at a restaurant for a cup of tea. We also have a closing-in ceremony, thanking all the concerned people.

From here, we reach Dibrugarh at 9 pm. We have dinner at the lodge. Prakash’s and Kulkarni’s family stay in the lodge as their return flight is from Dibrugarh. EG Bhat’s family and my return flight is from Guwahati. So we start back to Guwahati at 11 pm.

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