‘Majuli on Cycle’ presents soul of Majuli to visitors - NEWS SENTRY

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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

‘Majuli on Cycle’ presents soul of Majuli to visitors


Guwahati: A cultural immersion initiative by the Root Bridge in association with Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) and ESAF, the Small Finance Bank, ‘Majuli on Cycle’ presented the soul of the world’s largest river Island, Majuli to a group of visitors including domestic as well as foreign tourists during this Rongali Bihu. Majuli on Cycle is the first curated carbon free story telling tour ever conducted in the river Island.  
As many as 25 guests including foreign tourists participated in the day long cycle ride in Majuli on the first day of Rongali Bihu and experienced the life and culture of the people living on the Island by visiting the Mising villages, a farm to see agricultural practices, the art of mask making at Chamaguri Satra, the ancient pottery art practiced by locals at Salmora village and by savoring the traditional Mising food before dipping themselves in the serenity in the backdrop of the breathtaking view of sunset over the mighty river Brahmaputra. 

Root Bridge, an advocacy group for ethical travel introduced this carbon free travel to set a bench mark for Thoughtful Travel in world’s largest river island. Unlike regular tour, the organizers took the visitors through off beat roads and the bicycle was the mode of travel.  All the Travellers, accompanied by the Storytellers of Root Bridge, ride the bicycle through paddy fields, crossed a rivulet, river beds, enjoyed farming practices in the Island with the locals besides visiting the Chamaguri Satra, one of the main attractions for tourists in the Island.

“Cycle is the best way to explore this beautiful river island. Root Bridge’s initiative will help the tourists to experience the Majuli in a better way. I wish more people explore the island using carbon free vehicles,” said Majuli Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Nimbalkar, IPS, while flagging off the Majuli on Cycle from Garamur.
The first day of the Bihu, being the ‘Goru Bihu’ (Cattle bihu), the tour started with participants taking part with locals in giving a traditional bath to the cattle in one of the Mising villages in the Island and taking part in the fishing activity with the locals in the village.
The tourists were then taken to an agricultural farm in the Island where they witnessed the agricultural practices followed by the locals. The tourists were welcomed in the village with a Mising Bihu dance and Dhol performance performed by the village to give them a slice of Mising culture. All the programs were specially curated for the visitors to get the life and culture of missing community.

The guests were also taken to the Chamaguri Satra to show the art of mask making and to the Salmora village to show the pottery art practiced by the locals. In the evening all the tourists were taken to the river bank to witness the magnificent sunset view over the mighty Brahmaputra river. As the tourists enjoyed the breathtaking sunset view, a musical Jugal bandi of Pepa, Gagana and Bihu song and dance was also performed by artistes from Kamargaon in Majuli, that added to the experience of the tourists.
Shri Pallav Gopal Jha, IAS conferred the Root Bridge Award 2017 to eminent dhol exponent Shri Bogai Bora Ojah, popularly known as Bogai Ojah. Root Bridge constituted the annual award to honor the unsung heroes of North east India who, who has contributed towards the art and culture of the region thereby promoting travel and tourism industry. The Award includes a trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 10,000.
“Root Bridge’s cultural immersion program Majuli on Cycle is a great initiative. District Administration is happy to extend all the help to such novel ideas. Majuli Is going to be the country’s first ever carbon Neutral District. Root Bridge’s carbon free travel is a great example for meaningful travel and is supporting our project,” said Majuli Deputy Commissioner Shri Pallav Gopal Jha, IAS while conferring the award to Shri Ojah. District Superintendent of Police, Vaibhav Nimbalkar, IPS also attended the award ceremony and felicitated Shri Bogai Ojah.
“I have been playing dhol since I was ten year old. Playing dhol is a passion and I still love playing it. I have taught hundreds of my disciples to play dhol and all of them are now performing to different audiences. I have not done it for any award. However, an award is definitely a kind of recognition and an encouragement,” said an emotional Bogai Ojah (80) while speaking briefly on the occasion.
“Root Bridge wants to create a bench mark for thoughtful travel in Majuli. Majuli has a character and a soul. This should be preserved. We are against mass tourism. Root Bridge will introduce a curated storytelling cycle tour in Majuli daily basis and this will help both the travelers and host community.  We are so happy and overwhelmed by the government’s positive gesture for our humble project,” said Root Bridge Founder, Javed.
Participants who attended the event also expressed their happiness. “This is novel idea. The cycle ride was exotic. We enjoyed every minute. It’s a great initiative and we were able to know the life of Majuli, culture, art and everything in a single day,” said Dominik, a visitor from Germany who participated in Majuli on Cycle.
The Root Bridge Award ceremony which was held at the La Maison De’ Ananda in the evening was attended by several guests including domestic as well as foreign tourists and local inhabitants of Majuli. The Award ceremony was also attended by Root Bridge Senior Manager, Ms. Ajanta Hazarika and senior Journalists of Majuli, Shri Mitu Khataniar, who also spoke on the occasion.

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