Bamboo village of Majuli: Gaurmur, Assam
Gaurmur is a tiny village which is located in the heart of Majuli, the largest river island in the world. Gaurmur is home to a few bamboo hut home stays and hence has become a village which is frequently visited by backpackers from all around the world.
The best way to reach Gaurmur is to hop onto one of the many shared vehicles which are locally referred to as magic from Kamlabari Ghat. These vehicles charge a nominal amount and take around 25-30 minutes over a pretty bumpy stretch starting from the Ghat to the main road which is around 3 km.
Once in the village, the first thing travellers will notice is plenty of white sand along the ground and bamboo frame stilt houses all along the small lanes and bylanes.
The best way to get around this tiny village is by either hiring a bike or car for a day. If time is not a constraint, then renting a cycle and peddling around is the best way to explore the island and get a first hand feel of the place.
The main attraction in and around the village are the different satras or monasteries which are dedicated to Lord Vishnu and depict different forms of the god.
One thing everyone who travels to Majuli will notice is that the villagers are extremely warm and always ready to help and even go out of their way to guide the tourists around. This is something the rest of the North East is sadly missing.
Most of the houses are either stilt houses or small houses made of concrete or mud. The art of making bamboo houses was first taught to the villagers by a French couple who reached Majuli while on their travels. The only condition they put forward was that they should be allowed to stay free of cost on all their future visits to the island.
The shops in the village are lit up with the help of kerosene lamps and candles after sundown and don’t have electricity in the night. All the houses in the Gaurmur village have beach sand around them, this is to give it a beach feel which adds to the ambience of the place.
Accommodation in the village is limited to a handful of bamboo hut home stays which need to be booked at least three weeks or more in advance and a few basic guest houses which are along the main road.
The bamboo huts give travellers a once in a lifetime experience of how life on the river island is. The rooms have attached bathrooms and a small verandah. Hot water is provided in a bucket on demand since geysers are banned on the island.
Food options in the village are limited to the home stays which provide meals. These include Puri Baji and chai or tea for breakfast. Dal, rice, chapati, papad, potato vegetables like mini potatoes grown locally are the staple lunch. Chicken and fish either grilled or curry is also available.
While in the village, a bowl of rice beer is a must. You can request your guesthouse or home stay owner to get you a bottle or two. Remember to tell them in advance since it takes a good four to six hours to prepare.
The best time to visit Guramur is during the winter months from November to mid-April. During the monsoon, the island of Majuli is pretty much inaccessible from the outside world with the water levels of the River Brahmaputra always above danger zone.
Guramur has excellent network connection of nearly all leading brands from across the country and also has plenty of ATMs which makes travel around the island pretty much hassle free.
If you’re visiting the island of Majuli, then the best place to actually experience and feel the flavour of the cultural captain of Assam is a couple of nights in the bamboo huts at Guramur. This is an absolute must.
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