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Millions converge during Raas Leela at Majuli

By Farhana Ahmed
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NORTH LAKHIMPUR, Nov 15 - The river island of Majuli with its iconic satras preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of Vaishnavism of Assam for centuries has turned out to be a Vrindavan� the world of Lord Krishna � with the spectacular and enthralling presentation of the annual Raas Leela by the State Tourism department.

The river island became an incredible destination of the annual Raas Leela this time with more tourists, thanks to the tremendous development in road communication in the recent times. The cultural centrestage, long isolated by the Brahmaputra on the south and its drifting streams on the north, has been connected by roads to Lakhimpur district for quite some time now and the recent opening of the Bogibeel Bridge over the Brahmaputra connecting Dhemaji in the north to Dibrugarh in the south has completely changed the accessibility landscape to Majuli attracting a record number of visitors during the Raas Leela organised in dozens of venues, apart from the historic satras this year. Similarly, the construction of a long wooden bridge over the Kherkotiya stream and in Chelekghat has narrowed the distance to the island district from Lakhimpur, enabling vehicles to cross the water body without being ferried by time-consuming and unsafe boats.

The Bogibeel Bridge, opened last December has enabled Raas enthusiasts across the southern bank of the Brahmaputra up to the hills of Nagaland and Tirap Valley for the first time to throng Majuli. Enthusiast bikers from various distant places were also seen coming to Majuli during this Raas.

There were buses of Raas audiences arriving in different satras from faraway places like Sapakhowa, Sadiya through Dhola-Sadiya and Bogibeel Bridge. People coming from Digboi, Doomdooma, Margherita, Ledo, Lekhapani, Saikhowaghat from Tinsukia district, Duliajan, Namrup, Naharkatiya in Dibrugarh and many areas from Sivasagar district coming in all forms of vehicles are reaching Majuli using the Bogibeel bridge to cross over to Dhemaji and Lakhimpur districts enroute to Majuli.

The long wooden bridge over the Kherkotia stream of the Brahmaputra whose construction was completed recently is another one that has contributed to the Raas in Majuli this time with easy accessibility from the north-west side. The bridge, constructed at a cost of Rs 1, 32, 75,000 under SOPD (G), 2018-19, connects Lakhimpur district with Majuli from the Khabolughat side and its opening before Raas Leela also contributed to a large number of visitors crossing from the north. Another wooden bridge over the Lohit stream in Chelekghat side of the river island this time enabled people from Biswanath, Sonitpur and the western part of Lakhimpur district to reach Majuli easily this time.

However, the stream of Subansiri from Khabalughat-Maluwal has still to be crossed by ferries whose embarking and disembarking ends often change during the change of the seasons of a year. A permanent bridge over Subansiri connecting Maluwal to Khabalughat and Dambukial has been demanded by public here for more than three decades. If this riverine gap is bridged, Majuli will be well connected from North Lakhimpur and can be reached in less than an hour. Presently, Majuli is connected by land through Zengrai from the Dhakuakhana side.

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Millions converge during Raas Leela at Majuli

NORTH LAKHIMPUR, Nov 15 - The river island of Majuli with its iconic satras preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of Vaishnavism of Assam for centuries has turned out to be a Vrindavan� the world of Lord Krishna � with the spectacular and enthralling presentation of the annual Raas Leela by the State Tourism department.

The river island became an incredible destination of the annual Raas Leela this time with more tourists, thanks to the tremendous development in road communication in the recent times. The cultural centrestage, long isolated by the Brahmaputra on the south and its drifting streams on the north, has been connected by roads to Lakhimpur district for quite some time now and the recent opening of the Bogibeel Bridge over the Brahmaputra connecting Dhemaji in the north to Dibrugarh in the south has completely changed the accessibility landscape to Majuli attracting a record number of visitors during the Raas Leela organised in dozens of venues, apart from the historic satras this year. Similarly, the construction of a long wooden bridge over the Kherkotiya stream and in Chelekghat has narrowed the distance to the island district from Lakhimpur, enabling vehicles to cross the water body without being ferried by time-consuming and unsafe boats.

The Bogibeel Bridge, opened last December has enabled Raas enthusiasts across the southern bank of the Brahmaputra up to the hills of Nagaland and Tirap Valley for the first time to throng Majuli. Enthusiast bikers from various distant places were also seen coming to Majuli during this Raas.

There were buses of Raas audiences arriving in different satras from faraway places like Sapakhowa, Sadiya through Dhola-Sadiya and Bogibeel Bridge. People coming from Digboi, Doomdooma, Margherita, Ledo, Lekhapani, Saikhowaghat from Tinsukia district, Duliajan, Namrup, Naharkatiya in Dibrugarh and many areas from Sivasagar district coming in all forms of vehicles are reaching Majuli using the Bogibeel bridge to cross over to Dhemaji and Lakhimpur districts enroute to Majuli.

The long wooden bridge over the Kherkotia stream of the Brahmaputra whose construction was completed recently is another one that has contributed to the Raas in Majuli this time with easy accessibility from the north-west side. The bridge, constructed at a cost of Rs 1, 32, 75,000 under SOPD (G), 2018-19, connects Lakhimpur district with Majuli from the Khabolughat side and its opening before Raas Leela also contributed to a large number of visitors crossing from the north. Another wooden bridge over the Lohit stream in Chelekghat side of the river island this time enabled people from Biswanath, Sonitpur and the western part of Lakhimpur district to reach Majuli easily this time.

However, the stream of Subansiri from Khabalughat-Maluwal has still to be crossed by ferries whose embarking and disembarking ends often change during the change of the seasons of a year. A permanent bridge over Subansiri connecting Maluwal to Khabalughat and Dambukial has been demanded by public here for more than three decades. If this riverine gap is bridged, Majuli will be well connected from North Lakhimpur and can be reached in less than an hour. Presently, Majuli is connected by land through Zengrai from the Dhakuakhana side.

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