Majuli or Majoli is a large river island in the Brahmaputra River, Assam, India.Majuli island is accessible by ferries from the City of Jorhat. The island is about 200 kilometres east from Guwahati. Majuli, the largest pollution free fresh water river island in the world, a treasure island of culture, snuggles in the bosom of the mighty Brahmaputra. The landmass of this region extends for a length of about 90 km along east-west direction and about 850 sq km. along the north south.
The island has been the hub of Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture, initiated around 15th century by the revered Assamese saint Srimanta Sankardeva and his disciple Madhavdeva. Many Satras or monasteries constructed by the saint still survive and represent the colourful Assamese culture. The saint took refuge in Mājuli and spent a couple of months at Beloguri in West Mājuli, which was a place of grandeur for the historic and auspicious, ‘Manikanchan Sanjog’ between Shankardeva and Madhavdeva, this was the first satra in Mājuli. After the “Manikanchan Sanjog”, sixty five satras were set up. However, today only twenty-two of the original sixty-five are operational. Sixty-five out of the six hundred and sixty-five original satras in Assam were situated in Majuli.
The main surviving Satras (Satra) are:
• Dakhinpat Satra: Founded by Banamalidev, a supporter of Raasleela, which is now observed as one of the National Festivals of Assam.
• Garamurh Satra: This “Satra” was founded by Lakshmikantadeva. During the end of autumn, the traditional the Raasleela is enacted with pomp and celebrations. Ancient weapons called “Bartop” or cannonss are preserved here.
• Auniati Satra: Founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva, the satra is famous for the “Paalnaam” and Apsara Dances and also its extensive assortment of ancient Assamese artefacts, utensils, jewellery and handicrafts. It also has a hundred and twenty five disciples and over seven hundred thousand followers worldwide.
• Kamalabari Satra: The Kamalabari Satra, founded by Bedulapadma Ata, is a centre of art, cultural, literature and classical studies on the island. Its branch the Uttar Kamalabari Satra has performed cultural programmes of the Satria Art all around the country and abroad.
• Benegenaati Satra: It is a reliquary of antiques of cultural importance and an advance centre of performing art. Muraridev, the grandson of Sankaradeva’s stepmother was the founder of the Satra. The royal raiment belongs to the Ahom king Swargadeo Godadhar Singha, is made of gold. Also preserved is the royal umbrella made in gold.
• Shamaguri Satra: The satra is famous for the mask making in India.