an exotic river island in the mighty Brahmaputra river, the
biggest in the world. Experience an unspoilt Assamese rural
life, or the Mishing tribal life, and visit one of the many
Vaisnavite monasteries called Sattra. You can walk or move on
a bi cycle. Get a different feeling once you land at the
island, a feel of unspoilt nature will grip you. The great
divide created by the mighty river Brahmaputra with the main
land probably stopped the modern day development in the
island. It is a blessing in disguise as Majuli is the hotspot
of Assam's eco tourism development.
Masks: The masks of Majuli have a uniqueness. These are made
of clay, bamboo, cloth etc. Despite the size of the masks
these are quite light in weight. Masks are made on all the
characters of the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Puranas.
Assam masks of both wood and bamboo are used in various folk
performances .The tradition of mask making is a hereditary
skill passed down from father to son or teacher to students in
the Sattras. Most of the craftsmen who still shape these masks
are connected to or are inmates of the Sattras. They do not
belong to any specific cast group. The materials used in these
masks are mainly wood, bamboo and cane, as these are readily
available. Masks in bamboo and cane follow structure weaves of
basketry, which is a common item in every Assamese household.
This readily available skill is creatively adopted for mask
Mahisasura making as bamboo is a pliable material.
armature and initial form of the mask emerges when finally
split bamboo strips are loosely woven together. Once the frame
is complete, pieces of fine cloth dipped in sticky clay are
pasted over it in layers to completely cover the structure,
which is then dried in the sun. When half dry, a mixture of
clay and cow dung paste is used to shape the eyes and other
features as the final coat. Ears are usually made of bamboo
pieces, which are then stuck on. Another layer of cloth soaked
in clay is then applied and the mask is left in the sun to
dry. Later a smooth piece of bamboo, Kordhoni, is used to file
the mask and smoothen the surface. The jute or the bark of
trees is used for the hair, eyebrows and other accessories.
The mask is now ready to be painted. It takes about ten to
fifteen days to complete a mask. Earth and vegetable colours
are now being supplemented with chemical dyes. The masks as a
result look garish but are striking nevertheless.
size of the masks vary from some that cover only the face to
those that envelope the full figure and measure one hundred
and seventeen inches by sixty four inches. Some of the very
large ones are worn from the waist upwards. The traditional
colours used to paint the masks were hengul and haital or red
and yellow with black and white as accents.
are three types of masks: Cho Mask, Lotokai Mask, and Mukh
Mask .The Cho mask is usually the biggest in size. The head
and body portions of this mask are made separately. The
Lotokai mask is quite similar to that of the Cho mask but
smaller in size. The Mukh mask is only the mask to cover the
Koshakanta Deva Goswami, the head of Samaguri Sattra. He is
the master craftsman of the famous masks of Majuli. He is the
winner of the Sangeet Natak Akademy award from the Government
of India, a recognition for the outstanding contribution in
the field of culture.