India // The Northeast //


Around 310km northeast upriver from Guwahati, Jorhat has an airport and road connections to Kaziranga, Nagaland, Guwahati, Kolkata and northern Arunachal Pradesh. You will almost certainly have to wade through the city at some point on your trip, but for now it is noteworthy as a transport hub alone.

Within striking distance of Jorhat, MAJULI is often described as one of the largest inhabited river islands in the world, but erosion in recent years is threatening its claim and, indeed in the long run, its future. Regardless of its precise status, Majuli is a fascinating place and a true gem of the Northeast, largely because of its unique Vaishnavite sattras (Hindu monasteries), though it is also a haven for birdwatchers.

There are 22 sattras – institutions that contain elements of a temple, monastery, school and centre for the arts – on Majuli: each consists of a prayer hall (namghar) surrounded by living quarters for devotees, and ghats for bathing. Music, song and dance are essential elements of the devotional life of the sattras and you may be lucky enough to catch one of the performances are sometimes arranged for large that parties of visitors.

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