Majuli: World’s largest river island located in the Brahmaputra River in Assam
Majuli was in news on 27 June 2016 as the Government of Assam approved its up gradation as a district. The approval was given by the State Cabinet in its first meeting after the formation of the government on 24 May 2016.
At present, Majuli is a Mohkuma, a sub division of the Jorhat District and represented by the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the Assembly.
Key facts related to Majuli island
• Geographical features: It is a fluvial landform (a riverine delta), a unique geographical occurrence and a result of the dynamics of the Brahmaputra river system.
• It is bounded by the river Subanisri and her tributaries on the North West, the kherkatia Suli (a spill channel of the river Brahmaputra) in the northeast and the main Brahmaputra River on the South and the South west.
• It is the largest mid river delta system in the world. It is also comprised of many islets locally called the Chaporis.
• Its area has shrunk from about 1250 square kilometers in 1891 to about 515 square kilometers due to the erosion of river-bank.
• Vaishnavite cultural centre: It is the abode of the Assamese neo-Vaisnavite culture initiated around 15th century by the revered Assamese saint Srimanta Sankardeva and his disciple Madhavdeva.
• There are a total of 30 Sattras or Vaishnavite monasteries including the Dakhinpat Satra which was established in 1584 AD.
• Each Sattra, represents, within its region, a centre for cultural activities and even acts as a democratic institution to settle local disputes.
• Most of the villages associate with respective Sattra, and the villagers partake in the activities of their own Sattra during festivals and occasions.
• These sattra villages and other vernacular settlements house people from various ethnic origins all of whom have settled in Majuli like Mishings, Deori, Sonowal Kachari, Koch, Kaivartta and Nath.
• Flora and fauna: It is a hotspot for flora and fauna, harbouring many rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds that arrive in the winter season.
• Among the birds seen here are the greater adjutant stork, pelican, Siberian crane and the whistling teal.
• Agriculture: Paddy, mustard, potato, pulses, sugarcane, wheat are the main crops cultivated on the island.
• Various seasonal vegetables and fruits like orange, banana, pineapple, jackfruit, etc are also grown in abundant quantity.
• Recognition: In March 2011, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) of the Union Ministry of Culture proposed to nominate the island for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The application is in pending.
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