Kamalabari is a small township on the island of Majuli in Assam and is located at a distance of around 19 km from Nimati Ghat. The town of Kamalabari is the main gateway to the longest river island in the world and is the most important developed town in Majuli.
The best way to reach Kamalabari from Nimati Ghat is to hop onto one of the many shared tum-tums which leave from the taxi stand near the Ghat. These tum-tums are the fastest and also the most economical way of getting to the town of Kamalabari. The journey takes around 30-40 minutes and make sure to grab a window seat, the natural beauty inside Majuli island will simply blow your mind.
Once in the town of Kamalabari, the first thing travellers will notice is that nearly all the houses in the town are made out of bamboo structures and all of them are elevated around six feet from the ground. This is done in relation to the major floods the whole island has to deal with every monsoon with the mighty Bharamaputra flooding and destroying their houses.
The main source of income in Kamalabari is agriculture where various crops are grown and sold in the local markets. The main cash crop mostly comprise of different types of rice and vegetables such as potato and carrot. Tourism is slowly picking up and helping locals have a better standard of living with many from the younger generation getting involved in this booming industry.
Attractions in Kamalabari are the different satras or monasteries situated around the area. The Samuguri satra is very well known for its mask making craft where the locals are seen making different attractive masks each day.
The most important satra in Kamalabari is the Uttar Kamalabari satra which is the centre of Vaishnavism and the cultural centre of Majuli. Here one can find the monks dancing and singing during festivals. The Kamalabari satra is also known for the finest boat makers. Kamalabari satra is also famous for culture, art, classical music, literature and mythological studies practised over centuries.
Accommodation options in the village are limited to authentic bamboo hut home stays which are located pretty much all over the island. These home stays are very basic and have just a bed, mosquito net and a washroom. The home stays are also the only eating option since the culture of eating out has still not come to this part of the country. The food served in these home stays include sticky rice, dal, one vegetable and roasted fish.
The best time to visit Kamalabari is during the dry months from November to April and the best way to get a real feel of the place is to hire a cycle and pedal around the whole town or hire a bike/car.
Kamalabari is a place where one can come and stay for days if not weeks as the town has a very peaceful and laid back feel about it. Time stands still in this part of the country where people spend their days working in the paddy fields and chilling by the bonfire in the night. It is a must to stay two night in a bamboo hut to get a real feel of the place.