Majuli, the largest river island in the world created by the river Brahmaputra in the south and southwest and its many tributaries in the north banks, is one of the main centres of the Neo-Vaishnavite movement in Assam.
Back in the 15th century, when the Ahom Kingdom thrived in Assam, the main forms of religious belief revolved around Saivism and Saktism. It was then that Assamese reformer Srimanta Sankardev started a cultural revolution by opposing the existing practices of society (such as sacrifices and casteism, amongst many others) by introducing Neo-Vaishnavism.
To further the movement, many Sattras (monasteries) were set up around the region. Sattras were a very important part of society which proved to be centres for religious study, worship and cultural preservation. Very importantly, they also fostered the development of various forms of traditional arts and literature. One fine example is the one-act play called the Ankiya Nat, an important part of Sattriya dance tradition.
Neo-Vaishnavism has played a very important part in shaping the culture of Assam today and there is no better place than Majuli to learn more about it.
TIME: 10 Hours