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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 12, 2007
Assams Majauli Island awaits tourists
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Assams Majauli Island awaits tourists

The uncertain political situation in the North-East is being felt on the tourism front. Tourists arrivals to the picturesque Majauli Island, about 20 kilometers from Jorhat in Upper Assam, have not picked up for years despite the State Governments best efforts.

By Vachipem Kamondang

Guwahati, May 12 : The uncertain political situation in the North-East is being felt on the tourism front. Tourists arrivals to the picturesque Majauli Island, about 20 kilometers from Jorhat in Upper Assam, have not picked up for years despite the State Government's best efforts.

The island is crested in the bosom of the mighty Brahmaputra and is tucked up between Lohit and Khabalu.

The expansive Majuli Island is the sole river island in the world. The entire place has a different ambience, attracting people from far and wide.

According to local tour operators, only die hard travellers and nature lovers come to the island. This despite the Government's 'Incredible India' campaign to promote tourism in the country.

The ULFA's activities is also affecting tourism in the North-East.

"If the ULFA stops troubling, then tourists will come. If the Army operations are reduced, then tourists will come.

Although 30 to 40 foreign tourists come here, this time there are not many," Bhupen Bora, a tour operator, said.

Dhruva, another tour operator, said, "There has been a decrease in tourists arrivals. I have enquired from my tour operator friends in Kaziranga why there have been less tourists this time."

It is a known fact that social reformer Sankardeb visited the island in the early 16th century. Sankardeb propogated a form of Vaishnavism that was simpler and more accessible than the ritualistic Hinduism of the time.

Sankardeb established satras or monasteries on Majauli, to nurture this philosophy and practice of life. Such centres of culture are not getting their due attention due to the fear factor created by the insurgency.

Subhash Gupta, a tourist, said: "If the tourists are coming from outside, and if he has fear in his mind, then he won't like to come. If somebody is coming with his family, he will like to be sure of his and his family's safety".

Utpal Bora, a student, said, "Whatever fear factor is there, it is because of the fear factor created by the ULFA. People get scared in the name of Assam only."

"There have been several instances when tourists coming from foreign countries and from inside the country have been kidnapped. Then, such things create havoc in the mind of the people," Zuneet Khan, another student, said.

Majauli, the largest fresh water island in South Asia, is spread over 650 kilometers, and is known as a centre of Vasinavite culture. There are 25 monasteries in the area.

Many migratory birds, including the Greater Adjutant Stork and the Whistling Teal, come here from far off places. All this makes for a unique bio-diversity.

Majauli preserves the notion of the community. Among the majority Mising community, which migrated from the Arunachal Hills many years ago, traditions of 'Ali-ay-ligang' or the harvest festival are still preserved, and different ethnicities have been living together peacefully for generations.

It is organisations like the ULFA which are spreading discordant notes in harmonious Assam.

ANI

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