Sunday, 8 January 2012

Digboi, Assam

Digboi is an important city in the Tinsukia district of Assam and is commonly known as the 'Oil City' of the state. In fact, the country’s first oil refinery was established in this town, in the year 1901. The history of this town dates back to the year 1869, when a group of people from the Assam Railway and Trading Corporation found the legs of their elephants soaked in black mud that smelt somewhat like oil. In 1889, after much exploration and investigation, a small oil establishment was started here, by the British, which was later enlarged to form the first oil refinery of the country, in the year 1901.

People say that Digboi actually got its name from the phrase “dig – boy – dig”, which the British used to tell the laborers as they dug the fields for crude oil. There has always been a strong influence of the British culture and tradition over the lifestyle of Digboi. The world famous golf course in the town, with 18 holes, is a major attraction. Apart from this, some of the beautiful bungalows that the British had constructed for themselves can still be found in this town and attract tourists and travelers from all across the globe.

Digboi is also a great place to indulge in shopping as traditional textiles and handicrafts, unique only to this area, can be purchased from the local shops and cottage industries, that too at reasonable prices. Some of the major tourist attractions in the place include the famous War Cemetry, Golf Course, the local clubs, Saikhowa National Park and the Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary. A number of guest houses and tourist residential places have also been constructed in the area, so as to promote tourism in the upper zone of Assam.

Places to See:

Amidst the vast expanses of dense forests and exquisite tea estates lies the 18-hole golf course of Digboi, considered to be the best golf course in the whole of Upper Assam. Every year, tournaments, at both national and international level, are played here and people come from all over the country to enjoy or take part in the events.

Digboi Oil Refinery is one of the oldest oil refineries in the world which is still in operation, with a massive capacity of about 0.65 MMTPA. The history of Digboi dates back to the year 1869, when some men from the Assam Railway and Trading Company found the legs of their elephants soaked in black mud, which smelt somewhat like oil.

Stillwell Road is a 430 km long road, built in 1944 AD, by the British General Vinegar Joe Stillwell. At that time, it was considered to be the costliest road in the world. The prime aim of constructing this road was to maintain the supply line to China, from Ledo Railhead in Assam, during the World War II. 

Digboi town is located in the north-eastern corner of Assam, on the road to Ledo, near the border of Burma. Just 1.5 km from the Indian Oil Centre, on the road to the Pengaree Tea Estate, lie the remnants of the most dramatic event that took place in the history of Digboi, during the Second World War.


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