The Guinness World Records has officially designated Assam’s Majuli as the largest river island in the world. It is situated in the Brahmaputra River. The river island covering an area of around 880 sq. km has toppled previous record held by Brazil’s Marajo Island in the Amazon river.
About Majuli island
- The fluvial riverine island is formed by the Brahmaputra river system. It is surrounded by Subanisri River in the North, main Brahmaputra River on the South and kherkatia Suli, split channel of Brahmaputra River in northeast.
- The island has total 144 villages with a population of over 160,000 and a density of 300 individuals per square km.
- Majuli Island is mostly inhabited by Mishing tribal people. Apart from them, there are inhabitants from the Deori and Sonowal Kacharis tribes. On the island languages spoken are Mising, Assamese, and Deori
- Majuli island has a rich and diverse agricultural tradition. As many as 100 varieties of rice grown organically i.e. without pesticides or artificial fertilisers.
- It is the nerve centre of Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture initiated by saint-reformer Srimanta Sankardeva in 15th century.
- The island had some 65 satras (monasteries adhering) to Vaishnavism. But large numbers of them were relocated to the mainland after being washed away.
- The main surviving satras include Garamurh, Dakhinpat, Kamalabari, Auniati and Bengenaati.
- Majuli island is a rich environmental hotspot harbouring. It is home of many rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds.
- Due to erosion of river-bank, the island has lost around one-third of its area in the last 30-40 years caused mainly due to frequent flooding of the river.
- In June 2016, Assam Government had officially declared the island as the district making it India’s first island district.
- The island has been nominated for the World Heritage Site status. It has been included in the tentative list by UNESCO.
Majuli as first Island District of India
In September 2016, Majuli was also declared as first island district of India after it was inaugurated as the 35th district of Assam by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.