GUWAHATI, April 20 - A cultural immersion initiative by Root Bridge in association with Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) and ESAF, the Small Finance Bank – ‘Majuli on Cycle’ – showcased the heritage of the river island to a group of visitors including foreign tourists during the Rongali Bihu. Majuli on Cycle is the first carbon-free story-telling tour ever conducted in the river island.
As many as 25 guests including the foreign tourists participated in the day-long cycle ride in Majuli on the first day of Rongali Bihu. They experienced the life and culture of the people living on the island by visiting the Mising villages, an agricultural farm, the art of mask making at Chamaguri Satra, the ancient pottery art practised by locals at Salmora village, and by savouring 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 the carbon-free travel to set a bench mark for thoughtful travel in the river island. Unlike regular tour, the organisers took the visitors through offbeat roads with the bicycle being the mode of travel.
“All the travellers accompanied by the storytellers of Root Bridge rode their bicycles through paddy fields, crossed a rivulet, river beds, enjoyed farming practices in the island and interacted with the locals. Cycle is the best way to explore this beautiful river island. Root Bridge’s initiative will help the tourists to experience Majuli in a better way. I wish more people explore the island using carbon-free vehicles,” said Majuli Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Nimbalkar, while flagging off the Majuli on Cycle from Garmur.
Pallav Gopal Jha, Deputy Commissioner, Majuli, conferred the Root Bridge Award 2017 to eminent dhol exponent Bogai Bora Ojah, popularly known as Bogai Ojah.
Root Bridge constituted the annual award to honour the unsung heroes of the North-east who have contributed towards the art and culture of the region thereby promoting travel and tourism as well. The award includes a trophy and a cash prize of Rs 10,000.
“Root Bridge’s cultural immersion programme ‘Majuli on Cycle’ is a great initiative. The 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 Jha while conferring the award on Ojah.
“I have been playing the dhol since I was a ten-year old child. It’s a passion and I still love playing it. I have taught hundreds of disciples to play the dhol and all of them are now performing in front of different audiences. I have not done it for any award. However, an award is definitely a recognition and an encouragement,” said octogenarian Bogai Ojah.
Asserting that Root Bridge wanted to create a benchmark for thoughtful travel in Majuli, Root Bridge Founder Javed said that Majuli’s character and a soul needed to be preserved while promoting tourism. “This should be preserved. We are against mass tourism. Root Bridge will introduce a curated storytelling cycle tour in Majuli on a daily basis and this will help both the travellers and the host community. We are so happy and overwhelmed by the government's positive gesture for our humble project,” he said.
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 on a single day,” said Dominik, a visitor from Germany, who participated in Majuli on Cycle.