Digboi - A Tete a Tete with the City :
Location : North Eastern India, Assam
Best Time to Visit : November to February
Places to See : Digboi Golf Course, National Oil Park, and War Cemetery.
Souvenirs : Local Assam handicrafts
Digboi - The Tale of the City :
The tale of the city goes back to the time when the first trace of oil was discovered here. This was the place where the drilling of the first kind of oil well took place. History has it that the city of Digboi existed from the 18th century when oil was discovered in this place. In 1866, oil was drilled in the city of Digboi. In 1867 there were some workers who were in the process of laying the Railway tracks when they found that the elephants that were helping in the process had their legs full of mud. When they inspected it, it turned out to be oil. On taking a trail of these footprints, they found, it led to a ground. So the workers shouted “Dig boy dig”. Thus the city got its name. In the year 1889, the second kind of Digboi oil well got completed. This is very important in history as it has been producing oil for more than a century now. By the next ten years that is in the year 1899 more than 15 oil well had been constructed and the city of Digboi was gradually successful in putting itself in the Indian map for the right purposes. In the year 1901, The Refinery at Digboi got commissioned. In the year 1981, Digboi oil refinery became a part of the Government of India. But it still has retained its identity and is known as the Assam Oil Division. Digboi is important because this was the venue of the first oil field even before the Middle East. Digboi with its oil refineries, tea gardens, and coalmines is the richest in North Eastern India.
Digboi - Down the Ages :
Digboi down the ages occupies the two marvels in the world - that of being a centenarian in the oil field industry and of being amongst the oldest amidst the oil refineries in the world. In 1900 work started after Assam Oil Company founded the oil refinery. Later it merged with the Burma Oil Company and today crude oil is purified and refined with a variety of byproducts of oil. Dolls made of wax are a popular item here. Thus Digboi is not just an oilfield. It is a showcase of oil field related monuments in the history of India. India today is proud of having Digboi as the showcase to the world.
Digboi - A Rendezvous :
A rendezvous with Digboi, the oil monarch, reveals that the beauty of this place lies in the eyes of the tourist like a canvas painting. It is a small little beautiful island having the best of culture of the British colonial living. The sylvan surroundings and the wild nature of the ambience here remind one that once upon a time, wild elephants had gone berserk here. When the elephants moved out of the place then the oil fields started coming into the foreground. The forests here still have rhinos and tigers which are not an uncommon sight here.
Digboi - Travel Kitty :
When a tourist visits Digboi, the wild elephants land, one does not fail to notice that the travel kitty here is full of history, legends, and wild elephants and of course the smell of oil around. Added to this, the lovely British touch to most of the places here is evident in the clubs, in the golf courses that are around in the city. Digboi, the British product. Added to this this place has the unique feature of producing by products by which wax dolls are made. The dolls made of wax are the best travel kitty. And also the local Assam handicrafts that are found all over the place.
Digboi - Joie de Vivre in the City :
The joie de vivre in this city of oil, is that this has the intriguing privilege of having struck oil much before the flourishing oil countries of today. Thus putting India, in the world map of achievements, one cannot resist feeling proud that it hosts a hundred year old oil refinery. One who comes here gets to see the following :
National Oil Park :
The city of Digboi is a storehouse of oil and the museum here is a mirror to the achievements of the city. The parks also include the lovely sanctuaries which are Mother Nature’s blessing to this city. The beautiful ambience with the wildlife feel here is something to remember always. Added to this, a tourist can experience seeing the oldest well here which was discovered in the year 1889. Sometimes, the parks also have lot of elephants seen grazing idly here. And when one sees the Royal Bengal Tiger then one’s visit to the parks of Digboi is fulfilled. Besides all this, the sanctuaries and wildlife areas also have the best collection of birds all of rarest kind of species.
Eco Parks :
If you are a nature lover and lover and love to enjoy Nature at its fullest, then the Eco Park here is the ideal place to visit. It has the best of flora and fauna and is the pride of Assam.
Wildlife Sanctuaries :
Dibru Saikhowa Sanctuary : If you want to see rare species of birds and if you are a nature lover then don’t forget to step into this haven of birds. The White Winged Wood Duck is the most famous amongst the many migratory birds visiting this place. Added to this, this sanctuary also boasts of having the Feral Horses which are the wild horses.
The War Cemetery :
This is the place which has witnessed a lot of action and drama in the World War II time. The Japanese came very near to Digboi and were just around three days away by foot. A true history lover would acknowledge the contribution of the war heroes here and would certainly visit the cemetery and feel for those small youth who have laid their lives down for their country. The feeling that they did not do it without meaning, renders the tourist very reverent and surely enough the cemetery spreads an air of calm.
Golf Courses :
The Digboi Golf Course :
Yes, the British left behind their culture of golf in Digboi. This is the place which boasts of having the best golf course in Assam with 18 holes. Significant tournaments have been conducted here and there are many other golf courses with nine or eight holes found in Dibrugarh and other places like Doom Dooma etc.
One of the most important landmarks of Digboi is the Oil Museum. This is also known as the Centenary Museum. The significant part is that this is the only kind of oil museum found in the city of Digboi.
Centenary Eco Park :
Are you among the supporters of eco tourism, then this eco park is just the place for you to be visited, presenting a glimpse of the rich diversity of flora and fauna that abounds the state of Assam.
Tea Gardens :
Assam is synonymous with tea. Gardens of tea and plantations are very common here and there are many places like Margherita which are famous for this. Lying around 14km from Digboi this place sounding like the name of a Spanish girl is a great hub of tea gardens. Besides this, Margherita also has a number of factories for plywood and also is a centre of coal mines.
Coal Treasures :
This is a place which lies to the northwest of the tea gardens of Margherita. This is the land of coal mines. In World War II , this was the place where a lot of incidents took place. Joe Stillwell was a British general living here. He built the highway connecting Ledo with Myitkyina. The specialty of the highway is that the highway is around 430 km long and was constructed in the year 1944. It is considered amongst the costliest of roads of those days. Today there is no transport allowed on this road.
Oil Treasures :
Lying around 30km away from the hub of oil refinery Digboi, Naharkatia is a place famous for its oil wells.
This is another popular and famous town of oil refineries. It lies around 15km from the lovely Margherita gardens and has the best of scenic beauty . And why not as it finds its location on the foothills of the Patoi mountain ranges and also is sandwiched in the Arunachal Pradesh Assam border. The River Tirap is like the icing on this cake of beauty Duliajan. With its idyllic surroundings and serene ambience coupled with the majestic tea gardens, Duliajan is certainly a tourist’s delight.
Other Towns :
Dibrugarh has come to be the major tea revenue area. It has tea gardens which are amongst the largest in the entire world. With plantations more than a century old, Dibrugarh, the tea queen is a progressive city today. The District of Tinsukia has Digboi which is an oil refinery which is amongst the oldest in the world. Today Dibrugarh, the oil refinery land also is a producer of sugar cane, fish, pulses, rice etc. Minerals like coal and petroleum also are produced in this richly laden city. Thus with natural gas reserves, plywood factories, and tea industries, Dibrugarh today is a very well endowed city. Being among the world’s largest tea exporters, and lying on the River Brahmaputra’s banks, Dibrugarh has the districts of Tinsukia, Jorhat and Dibrugarh under it. Dibrugarh, the tea city of India, is the place where the John Berry White Medical School was founded thus paving the way for medical education this part of India. Thus Dibrugarh is a successful city and is also the entry to Arunachal Pradesh for many districts.
Thus Digboi, with its spell binding history and magnificent past, enthralls the tourist to the fullest and he is amazed to see the beautiful blessing of Nature in full flow.
As he leaves a tourist thinks “Dig boy Dig, dig the treasures of this place!”