In my Majuli Travel Guide, I share everything you need to know about traveling to this beautiful island, after spending 3 days on the island, myself.
Majuli, also known as the world’s largest inhabited river island, is located on the upper banks of the Brahmaputra river in the northern part of Assam, India. Well known for its lush greenery, exotic birds, old satras, and the rich Mishing culture, Majuli truly is a wonderful place that is worth visiting when in Assam.
It has a perfect blend of nature, history, and culture – the key elements of experiential travel.
In this post, which is my comprehensive travel guide to Majuli, I share all the details, information and my special tips to help you have a memorable experience on the island. While you do follow the tips and suggestions in my guide, don’t forget to have your own little adventures!
So, let’s dive in. Welcome to my Ultimate Majuli Travel Guide!
Table of Contents
Where is Majuli?
Majuli is located on the banks of the Brahmaputra river in upper Assam. It is carved out by Luit (or Lohit) and Kherkatia (the two tributaries of the Brahmaputra river) on the other side. If you cross the Luit river, you will reach Lakhimpur, another district of Assam.
If you look at the maps, Majuli doesn’t seem to look like an island because the Luit and Kherkatia tributaries are not visible. However, once you start navigating using maps on your phone, you will be able to notice these tributaries.
Pictures of Majuli Island in Assam
Before writing about Majuli, I thought I will engage your visual senses and get you excited about the place. So, here are some of the actual pictures of Majuli, in Assam.
Is Majuli Shrinking in Size?
Yes. Majuli has lost about half of its land in the last century, due to erosion by the Brahmaputra river.
Although there are sandbanks and concrete walls built to protect the shores, experts believe that the island will be completely submerged by 2030. To know more, read this article by the Independent UK.
Why is Majuli Famous?
Majuli is popular mainly because it is the largest inhabited river island in the world. However, there are more things to this island that make it an experiential traveler’s dream destination.
Majuli is home to the Mishing tribe. The Mishing tribe makes for almost 70% of the population on the island. It is one of the predominant tribal groups in Assam apart from the Bodos and the Tiwas.
Majuli also has the highest number of satras – ashrams of people who follow Vaishnavism and practice the sect (more about this in the upcoming section).
Further to this, Majuli is home to several species of birds – a fact that is usually not highlighted but you really need to see it to believe it.
Who Inhabits Majuli?
Majuli is mostly inhabited by the Mishing people. Almost 70% of the population on this island belongs to the Mishing tribe.
Apart from the Mishing tribe, Majuli is also home to several Assamese people who practice Neo-Vaishnavism in their satras.
What is the Best Time to Visit Majuli?
The best time to visit Majuli is from October – March when the weather is relatively pleasant. Avoid the summers and the monsoon as the island gets dry, and flooded respectively.
How to Reach Majuli From Guwahati (and Jorhat)?
The best way to reach Majuli is by taking an overnight bus from Guwahati to Jorhat. You can find plenty of buses on Redbus.in or visit the ISBT in Guwahati, and board one from there. The journey takes between 7 – 9 hours depending on the bus.
I took the Extacia Business Class bus, and had a wonderful experience! The bus arrived on time, the seats were clean and luxurious, and the journey was butter smooth. I highly recommend Extacia for this journey.
Also, do note that if you do arrive in Jorhat at 4:30 or 5:00 AM, you will not find any people around and the shops will be closed. If you’re traveling alone, this could be a problem. There are two ways to deal with this:
- Make sure you book a late night bus and arrive at around 6 – 7 AM in Jorhat, in the morning (highly recommended for solo female travelers).
- If you are renting a bike in Jorhat (to take to Majuli), you can inform the bike rental company about your early arrival and request them to let you stay in their office until 7 AM as the first ferry starts at 7:30 AM.
After reaching Jorhat, you need to take a ferry to Majuli since it’s an island located on the other side of the Brahmaputra river. However, you need to board the ferry from the ghats.
From Jorhat, you need to go to the Neamati Ghat from where the ferry departs to Majuli. The ride from Jorhat to Neamati ghat takes about 30 minutes.
You could either rent a bike in Jorhat (I highly recommend All Ride Rental – their service is professional and top notch) or take a rickshaw/cab to reach the ghat. If you’re renting a bike, the charge would be around 600/- INR per day.
Once you reach Neamati ghat, you can board the ferry to Majuli. Once you arrive in Majuli, you need to get down at the Kamalabari ghat. The whole journey takes about 1 – 1.5 hours. More details about the ferry timings and the rates are mentioned below.
Here is a summary of the route:
Tip: On your way to the Nemati ghat, enjoy the scenic beauty of Jorhat. Observe the traditional Assamese-style homes.
Ferry Timings/Rates From Nemati/Kamalabari Ghats
Nothing explains better than a picture. So here I am sharing a picture of the ferry timings and the rates from both the Kamalabari and Nemati ghats to the Majuli island.
Do note that bikes and cars are allowed on the ferry too. In case you’re driving to Majuli or taking a bike there, you can transport it using the ferry.
If you’re arriving in Jorhat early in the morning (by taking the overnight bus from Guwahati), do take the first ferry at 7:30 AM if possible.
Where to Eat Breakfast at Neamati Ghat?
You will find several stalls and small shops at the ghats. If you’re taking the early morning ferry, it is most likely that you will need to eat at the ghats because the restaurants in Jorhat will not be open yet.
You can try roti subzi and lal cha (red tea) at any of these food stalls. The meal will cost about 30/- INR.
Once you have a filling breakfast, you can enjoy the views of the Brahmaputra river while ferrying to Majuli.
Where to Stay in Majuli?
Here are my top recommended places to stay in Majuli:
At 650/- INR per night for 2 adults, the Risong Family Guest House is the most affordable and a comfortable place to stay at, on the Majuli island. The owner of Risong, Monjit, is quite well-known in the island, and belongs to the Mishing tribe. He has a humble personality and a welcoming attitude.
Monjit is also well-versed with the entire island, so he can always give suggestions about what to do on the island. I highly recommend Risong Family Guest House for your stay in Majuli.
If you are interested in trying out the authentic cuisine of the Mishing tribe, you can request Monjit and he will arrange it for you at their kitchen.
Majuli gained popularity after a French couple visited the island and constructed a bamboo cottage known as ‘La Maison De Ananda’. Yes, La Maison De Ananda is the first ever cottage that was built in Majuli!
I had the opportunity to stay here, because Monjit (the owner of Risong Family Guest House) owns this property too. The cottage is pretty huge with three single beds and has a spacious bathroom with a geyser. It is slightly expensive and is priced at around 2,000/- INR per night but the experience of staying here is worth it.
Another property owned by Monjit is Enchanting Majuli. It has great reviews on Google. Do check it out while you're there.
Okegiga Homes is yet another beautiful resort that has options for cottages and camping. Although I didn’t get a chance to stay here, I did visit the property and it looked quite lovely.
It has good ratings on Google and Booking.com as well. Be sure to check it out while you’re there. A bamboo cottage is priced at around 1,500/- INR per night.
Located slightly further from Okegiga Homes, Ayong Okum is close to the Luit (or Lohit) river - the tributary of Brahmaputra responsible for carving out the island.
The property is quite beautiful with an option for cycling as well. A cottage here costs about 1,500/- INR per night.
This cottage is owned by a friend of the owner of All Ride Rental (the bike service in Jorhat that I had earlier recommended).
Relatively new, this property is close to a pond and is located right at the entrance of the island (where the resorts begin). A cottage here costs about 1,500/- INR per night.
These are the properties that I personally visited, enquired, and had a good look at - both the inside of the cottages and the bathrooms. I recommend any of these properties in Majuli; you can opt for them based on your preference.
Where to Rent Bikes/Bicycles in Majuli?
In the beginning of my post, I had recommended All Ride Rental for renting bikes in Jorhat. However, if you haven’t rented a bike in Jorhat, you can still do so in Majuli.
For renting a bike, please reach out to Monjit, the owner of Risong Family Guest House. He charges about 500/- per day for the bike.
Another alternative to explore the island is by renting bicycles. You can rent a bicycle for 150/- INR for 12 hours from a local shop.
Things to do in Majuli (Popular and Offbeat)
Here are my top recommended things to do in Majuli, to truly experience it to the fullest:
Explore the Island by Bike/Bicycle
Majuli truly has a breathtaking landscape. As you ride through the tall green bamboos nestled on the sides, and spot the green fields dancing in the warmth of the sun, you will suddenly be reminded of the healing power of the color green.
Green has the power to calm your senses. And Majuli is green.
To simply be able to enjoy this vastness of greenery is an experience in itself.
Explore the island by bike/bicycle leisurely (you can find information about renting bikes here).
On your journey, you will also notice several small water bodies like lakes and ponds casting the beautiful reflection of the sun and the sky.
Spot the Wide Variety of Bird Species
Majuli is home to more than 260 species of birds where 90 of them are winter migrants that fly in from Tibet and Siberia. During winter, around 30,000 birds assemble on the island.
Some of the resident birds here are the Asian openbill, the black stork and the white-necked stork. Some of the migratory birds here are the northern shoveler, pintail, and grey-headed lapwings.
You can spot several birds while exploring the island. However, the Government recommends Chakoli Beel, Vereki Beel and Daukpara as some of the popular bird watching sites. For more details, visit their website here.
Fun Fact: The whiskered tern which is claimed to have been found only in Jammu & Kashmir, is also found in Majuli.
Visit the Satras
Majuli is referred to as the spiritual hub of Assam due to the presence of the highest number of satras in the region.
A satra is an institution where spiritual and religious practices of Neo-Vaishnavism are carried out. Neo-Vaishnavism was founded by Mahapurusha Srimanta Shankara in the 14th - 15th century AD when the socio-cultural situations of Assam were deplorable.
He propagated Neo-Vaishnavism to bring universal love by combining it with art forms like music, singing, dance, and drama.
There are 31 satras as recognized by the Majuli Cultural Landscape Act, 2006.
I couldn’t visit all the satras and upon the advice of Monjit (our local friend and owner of Risong Family Guest House), I visited four of them which are the most influential satras of eastern Assam.
The Dakhinpat Satra has a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, several halls for doing puja, and residences for the inmates. The inmates of the Satra practice brahmacharya. However, some of them stay only for a brief period and leave if they cannot adhere to its practices.
Deepak Bharali, one of the inmates of Dakhinpat Satra showed us around and invited us to his home serving us a bowl of freshly made dahi (curd). The inmates of the Satra are quite friendly and will answer any doubts or questions you may have about their practices.
The Samaguri Satra is famous for mask-making. Like I mentioned earlier, the principles of Neo-Vaishnavism are propagated through cultural forms like dance, music, and drama.
In Samaguri Satra, the inmates make masks and use them for theatrical performances in Majuli and in other states (some of them include Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Kolkata). They use these masks to narrate stories and educate people about Neo-Vaishnavism.
The process of making these masks is quite interesting. First, a basic framework is made using bamboo. Then, clay and cow dung are used to sculpt the mask. Once the mask has dried up, it is woven using threads for durability and design. Finally, the mask is painted and allowed to dry.
The Auniati Satra is my favorite satra among all of them. The reason being, it has a museum that contains the artefacts of the Ahom civilization, which ruled Assam between 16th - 17th century AD.
Some of the artefacts that you can find at the museum are ancient coins, the Bhawna dress, musical instruments like Kali, Dotora, and Veru, and personal belongings of Gadadhar Singha who was the king of the Ahom civilization.
In addition to this, the museum also has personal belongings of former leaders of the satras.
An interesting book that I found here, named Sri Hastamuktawali, is the first ancient book of dancing in India (1696 - 1717 AD).
You can also find several copper plates with inscriptions belonging to the 16th - 18th century AD.
The temple in Auniati Satra is quite beautiful as well. It is perfect for a few minutes of silence and prayer.
Uttar Kamalabari Satra
The Uttar Kamalabari Satra has ample greenery and a peaceful atmosphere. I couldn’t spend more time here as the sun had just begun to set, and I had to leave.
However, it looked very serene and had more greenery compared to the other satras.
Tip: Visit the satras as per the above order i.e. Dakhinpat -> Samaguri -> Auniati -> Uttar Kamalabari. You can cover all the four satras in a single day
Interact with the Mishing Tribe
Visit the Bokora Gaon Garamur village, and look for a chance to interact with the people of the Mishing tribe.
I had the opportunity to interact with the Mishing people on a casual stroll one morning.
I found a woman weaving a gamcha on a traditional loom, in her home. Much similar to the other tribes in North-East India, the women of the Mishing tribe weave their own clothes as well.
The woman welcomed me heartily and offered a glass of water. Her neighbors came over as well. A grandpa from the house next door explained to me the working of the loom.
There was a vivacious grandmother seated outside who was really excited to see me. We took selfies, exchanged smiles and laughter, and she said to me, “You look like my daughter”.
I still remember all of us seated outside and having a conversation when none of us knew the other’s language. Yet, it was the language of love and curiosity that kept us going.
Note: Please be respectful when entering their homes. Carry a smile, be calm, and wait until they welcome you. Please do not barge into their privacy.
Bathe in the River/Stream (at your own risk)
Majuli has several ponds, lakes, and fine streams of the Brahmaputra river. The villagers do not bathe in every water body. However, I found one location where a bunch of kids were bathing in a stream.
I thought this was the safest place to spend sometime in the water. Below are the coordinates of the stream:
I am also sharing a picture of the entrance to the stream to help you navigate better. It is of a Shiva Mandir which is quite close to the Risong Family Guest House.
Note: Please swim at your own risk. The water gets quite deep in the middle. So, please take the necessary precautions.
Observe the Fireflies
At the time of sunset, close to ten thousand fireflies light up the fields on the Majuli island! It is one of the most spectacular things to witness on the island.
The view looks like the sky, studded with a million glittering stars, has dropped to the ground.
Take your bike and head out to witness these sparkling wonders of nature. Do not miss this at any cost!
These are my top things to do on the Majuli island. Feel free to explore the island further and create your own little adventures!
Where to Eat Veg/Vegan Food in Majuli?
Majuli has very few restaurants that have good vegetarian/vegan food. I am recommending a few restaurants where I ate at, and absolutely loved the food.
Ural Food Court
I ate lunch here on the first day and absolutely loved the food! The Assamese veg (and vegan) thali here is simply lip-smacking. The thali costs about 100/- INR and they serve a wide variety of dishes like pumpkin subzi (curry), mix veg subzi (curry), rice, dal (cooked lentils), and so on.
They have breakfast options as well.
Krishna Food Court
What a heart-warming restaurant this place is! Run by a young family of 4, the Krishna Food Court is one of the top restaurants in Majuli island. It’s for everything chinese, italian, and american.
They serve chowmein, pasta, french fries, cold coffee, tea, and many more delicious items. I tried their veg chowmein and pasta, and believe me, it was the best I had had in a long time!
To top this, their kitchen is spick and span. I took a sneak peek into their kitchen and was quite impressed by the cleanliness.
Local Food Stalls
I cannot read Assamese but I found a wonderful food stall on the main road (sorry for being vague) with a board as below.
I had breakfast here and the food was quite tasty! I ate roti subzi, and paratha subzi, and I really liked the food.
A classic Assamese breakfast consists of roti, aloo subzi (potato), a lentil curry (chikpeas/peas), and pitika (mashed potatoes).
Your Resort’s Kitchen
In case you find the above options to be limited, you can even order from your resort’s kitchen.
Where to Eat Authentic Mishing Food in Majuli?
As an experiential traveler, I always yearn to eat the local food. Since Majuli is mostly inhabited by the Mishing tribe, one should not miss eating their local cuisine.
The best place to find authentic Mishing food is at Risong Family Guest House. The owner, Monjit himself, belongs to the Mishing tribe and has a kitchen where they cook authentic Mishing food.
A veg (and vegan) thali costs about 250/- INR whereas non-veg thalis range from 250/- to 500/- INR in case you opt for more meat variants.
I tried the Mishing food at a friend’s newly launched resort and was quite blown away by the flavours. The food was slowly cooked on wood fire, and had smoky flavors to it. I was served rice, pumpkin curry (with the flavors of cardamom!), brinjal pitika (burnt and mashed brinjal) and yellow lentils (dal). The flavors were quite distinct from the Assamese and other tribal cuisines that I had had.
Where to Buy Authentic Rice Beer in Majuli?
Rice beer is quite predominant in the homes of several tribal groups in Assam. It is prepared at home and consumed by the family members.
Be it the Bodos, the Tiwas, or the Mishings, everybody consumes rice beer at their homes.
In fact, serving rice beer to their guests is a way of showing their hospitality. To top this, rice beer is one of the most delicious beverages out there. It is sweet, less pungent, and organic.
In order to buy rice beer in Majuli island, you need to enquire at the local markets or at any of the local shops. You need to place an order and pay in advance. It would take about 4 - 5 hours to prepare your order but trust me, it is absolutely worth it.
How is the Mobile Network Connectivity in Majuli?
The mobile network connectivity in Majuli is quite robust. I use Airtel and I never faced any issues with the network. Both data and voice work pretty well.
The same goes with the other mobile networks too.
Is Majuli a Good Place for a Workcation?
Majuli is a developed island. You will find ATMs, banks, shops, and restaurants on the island. The mobile network connectivity is good as well.
However, resorts here do not have a WiFi connection. In fact, that is something that I have observed in Guwahati as well.
So, if you have a good data network on your phone and can work by connecting to it, then yes, Majuli is an attractive location to work from. The lush greenery and the serene atmosphere truly make it a rejuvenating place to work from.
Is Majuli Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
A 100% yes. Majuli is absolutely safe for solo female travelers. The locals on the island are kind and friendly. Their genuinity sparkles in their eyes.
How Many Days to Spend in Majuli?
A minimum of 2 days with no cap on the maximum, is ideal for exploring Majuli.
Departing From Majuli to Jorhat (or Guwahati)
In order to reach Jorhat (or Guwahati), you need to take the ferry from the same ghat (Kamalabari ghat) from where you had earlier gotten down on arrival.
There is a specific tip that I want to give you, regarding the departure. Hence, I created this section.
Please do not take the ferry post 10 AM or at noon. The sun will not forgive you, and neither will the crowds. The best time to take the ferry is early morning or by 9 AM.
I took the ferry at around 2:30 PM and I literally had to sit beside the driver while he ferried us over the Brahmaputra river. There was a separate compartment to seat the passengers below but it was too crowded and I decided not to sit there.
Our ferry-man was a friendly man! He resembled Mahatma Gandhi and wore a bright smile on his face throughout the journey. I had to take a picture with him.
I hope my post has inspired you to visit Majuli and helped you plan your trip!
If you plan to spend a few days in Guwahati, my post 17 Things That Make Guwahati Truly Special will bring a smile on your face!
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