Majuli An island, some monks, and dance...
The Island of Majuli
Majuli is situated on the Brahmaputra, in the state of Assam in the extreme north-east of India. With its 800 km2, it is the largest river island in Asia.
The island has 140 villages and 160 000 inhabitants. 50% of these are Adivasi (ethnic animist minorities), the first to have populated the island in the 12th century. The Mishing tribes represent 47% of the island’s population.
Birthplace of the neo-vishnuite culture in Assam, the island harbours 22 monasteries (Satras) established as of 1650. They regroup about 1000 monks (bhakats).
The island is dangerously exposed to earthquakes as well as flooding and the devastating high water of the Brahmaputra.
Considerable erosion has already amputated one third of the island’s surface area in the past 50 years.
Of the 65 monasteries on the island, 43 have already been carried away by flooding.
Each year several Mishing villages continue to be inundated, as does vast amounts of the island’s arable land.
Majuli is also an environmental sanctuary and nesting place for thousands of migrant birds, they too victims of these endemic catastrophes.
A request to classify Majuli as a UNESCO World Heritage site is currently being examined.