Majuli, the largest river island in the world, is one of the most attractive tourist destinations. Sadly, the island is shrinking at an alarming pace. Since the last couple of decades, it has been eroding 3.1 sq km every year. This means, if correct measures aren’t taken at the right time, the rich cultural heritage of this island will be a thing of the past and a story in our history books.
Root Bridge Foundation, an NGO with its tremendous efforts towards conservation and sustainable tourism in the Northeast, opened Majuli Cycle Café in early February this year. The cafe is a part of the Majuli Sustainable Tourism Development Project (MSTDP) – an initiative by Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC).
Here’s how Majuli Cycle Café is making a difference, and creating and spreading awareness on eco-tourism. It is the only story-telling cycle tour provider in Majuli. Its signature Orange Cycles help tourists explore Majuli’s nook and corner. Books in its library are arranged through crowd sourcing, along with other sources of entertainment and spaces for art to be presented in various ways. Some of the most beautiful items to buy are cane and bamboo products besides the exemplary work done on the world-famous traditional masks of Majuli – allowing its tourists to relate better to the designs and hence the stories they connected to.
Besides eco-tourism, Root Bridge Foundation is also encouraging livelihood activities such as, Mirjim, that allows regional communities to generate a living through their skills – which is mostly creating products, such as table runners, mats and shawls from raw materials (bamboo and cane). These products are also displayed for sale at the Majuli Cycle Café.
Further, Majuli Cycle Café is the only community centre in Majuli that provides cycle-renting, a library and quaint reading spaces, coffee shop, an art gallery, and space for art performance. With its multiple offerings, the Majuli Cycle Cafe is slowly becoming a favourite hangout place for tourists, as well as the locals.
Reasons to visit Majuli and the Majuli Cycle Café:
– You get to cycle around in the world’s largest river island
– You’re allowing yourself to explore a culture that is rich and preserved
– You will probably become an eco-tourism ambassador at the end of your tour!
It’s not very easy to reach Majuli, but this journey is fun!
– By air: There are two airports you can fly to – the Guwahati Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport OR the Jorhat Airport. In both cases a train, one has to take a cab or a bus to reach the final destination.
– By train: No direct trains are available for Majuli. Hence the best option is to take a train ride to Jorhat and then an exciting ferry ride across the Brahmaputra. Ferries are available at ‘Nimati Ghat’, which is 14 km away from Jorhat.
– By road: Majuli is easily accessible by road. Take some time off from your hectic schedule and plan a road trip with your mates!
Edited by T3 team