Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Places to Visit in Eastern Assam -- Dibrugarh District




Along the river Brahmaputra is situated Dibrugarh, the largest tea exporting town in India. It is also the gateway to Arunachal Pradesh. Dibrugarh, surrounded by tea gardens with the misty outlines of the Himalayas in the background. Dibrugarh is located along the river Brahmaputra. Some times it is referred as the gateway to some districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Dibrugarh has direct access by road, railway and air to other parts of Assam and major cities of the country. NH-37 links Dibrugarh and other important towns of Assam, from where A/C and non A/C deluxe coaches are availble daily. Dibrugarh is linked with Guwahati by a broad gauge line. It is also connected with other cities of country by express and superfast trains. Dibrugarh has regular air flight from major cities like Delhi, Calcutta and Guwahati from its Mohanbari airport which is 17 km from the town. In Dibrugarh one can go around the tea gardens which are located in and around the town. A large number of tea estates are located along NH-37 covering large area of Dibrugarh district.

Located in the upper northeast corner of India, Dibrugarh is well connected with the rest of India. With regular connection to major cities of Assam by air, rail and road network with the rest of India, one does not need to worry about how to reach Dibrugarh. There is also no requirement of any kind of permit to travel in Assam

How to get there ?

Air Route :
Dibrugarh airport is connected by regular flights from Kolkata, the nearest international airport, and New Delhi. Besides there is also an air route to Dibrugarh from Guwahati the capital city of Assam.

Indian Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines and Air Deccan flies from Kolkata whereas Air Sahara flies from New Delhi into Dibrugarh.

Rail Link :
Three (3) major inter-state express trains operate on the rail link. Two of these trains originate from New Delhi i.e. Rajdhani Express and Brahmaputra Mail and one from Kolkata i.e. Kamrup Express. An inter-city shuttle plies daily between Tinsukia and Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. Tinsukia station is 45 kms from Dibrugarh.

By Road :
Easily accessible by road , Dibrugarh is well connected by road also . The NH-37 traverses across the state of Assam connecting all major towns and cities. Dibrugarh is 440 kms from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. The tourist destinations in Assam are also well connected by road network. Kaziranga National Park, home to more than 75% of the world’s population of the great Indian One horned Rhinoceros is only 240 kms from Dibrugarh.

When the British established their tea plantations in the mid-nineteenth century they quickly built comfortable bungalows designed to make life as pleasant as possible in what, was to them, a hostile and strange land. One of the main features of these buildings has given rise to their name – Chang bungalows. Chang in the local language means “raised on stilts” and the design served a multiple purpose; to keep the house cool by allowing breezes to blow underneath and to keep water and animals out! All of the tea gardens have at least one of these bungalows, most of which date back over one hundred years.

In Dibrugarh tea estate manager’s bungalows are being restored to their former glory, but with the addition of some modern amenities such as air conditioning and efficient plumbing. These bungalows are now available for guests to use. Enjoy a stay in one of these exquisite buildings and experience the feeling of being transported back in time to a period long gone.

Because the bungalows have very limited accommodation you will not get the feeling of being in a big hotel. Rather, you will be treated more as an honoured guest would have been treated in days of old with very personal and friendly attention.

Of course the accommodation is one thing but it is of no consequence if the other services are lacking. At the chang bungalows your every need is catered for. Laundry, shoe shine, complementary newspaper and, of course, food.

From the kitchen comes an endless variety of delicious meals. From Indian to Continental to oriental, our cooks can produce the best of fare. All served with efficiency and a smile.
When your trips take out overnight every try will be made to have the guests sleep in similar restored properties, many of which have been arrangements with. In this way a unique piece of history is being preserved, which would otherwise be at risk of being lost for ever.

More recent history can be found at Digboi, about two hours drive from Dibrugarh. It was around here that in the mid nineteenth century the first commercially producing oil well in India was sunk. Following this discovery the Indian oil industry was established. Today you can visit the oldest operational oil refinery in the world which was first commissioned at Digboi in the year 1901. Here there is a fascinating museum constructed to celebrate the first century of oil refining at Digboi.

The area east of Digboi formed the front line between the invading Japanese forces and the allied armies during the Second World War. Reminders of these grim days can be found at the well preserved cemeteries that commemorate the fallen soldiers of this campaign. Read the moving tributes to these men who died so far from home, the most poignant of which reads "When you go home, tell them of us and say – that for their tomorrows we gave our today".
Also from this period can be seen the remains of the wartime road – known as the Stillwell Road – that linked Upper Assam with Yunnan Province in China. Designed to keep the Chinese supplied, this road, which was built at the cost of many lives, was never to be a viable transport route. Today, only the occasional trace of this road can be seen, the remainder has been swallowed by the encroaching jungle.

Ever wondered what goes into making your morning cuppa? Now is your chance to find out.
Who better to tell you than a family of tea planters whose involvement in the Assam tea industry goes back five generations.

If you are staying in one of the heritage Chang bungalows you will already have a feel for what it was like to live on an estate during the early part of the last century. These bungalows, called Chang bungalows after their elevated construction (Chang means raised on stilts) are typical of the design that was to be found right along the valley of the Brahmaputra and many date back to the first tea planters who pioneered the industry in the Northeast.

The tea tours take you through the garden to see the different activities that vary from season to season. During the winter months the dormant bushes are pruned to ensure vigorous growth during the warmer months. Once the rains start and the temperature rises the gardens come alive with teams of colorfully dressed tea pluckers, predominantly ladies as they are said to be better able to pluck the delicate buds and leaves.

The harvest, which goes continuously from March to November, is taken daily to the factory where it undergoes an age old process to turn it into the finished product. All stages of the process are carefully controlled to ensure that the tea that leaves the factory is of the highest quality, a quality that has made Assam tea world famous.

Birding in the North East
The state of Assam and other North Eastern states of India, have the highest area under wetlands throughout the Brahmaputra and Barak Valley. From 50 to 5,000 mtrs variation in altitude and habitation, lush green to the Snow Mountains of the great Himalayan foothills and the Patkai rang, more than 900 species and sub species of birds exist.

This beautiful part of eastern India, which was closed / restricted for foreign visitors, has now opened up and foreigners / tourists are now welcome to the most unexplored destination in India.


Dehing Satra:

During the Moamoria uprising this satra received royal patronage from kings like Rajeswar Singha, Lakhi Singha, Gaurinath Singha. It is situated on the banks of the river Dehing under Larua mouza. This once famous satra is now in utter ruin.

Dehing Namti Satra:

This satra is situated under Sasoni mouza on the banks of the river Disang and is about 8 miles away from the town of Naharkatiya. At present, the main wing of the satra is at Namti in Nazira. It should be noted that this satra was at earlier times situated in between the roads Hologuri and Sariyahtoli in the District of Dibrugarh. This satra was established by Binandashyam Gohain. According to a book brought out by the satra Lachit Borphukan was one of the chef followers of Binandashyam Gohain

Dinjoy Satra:

The Satra is located at Dinjoy about 5kms north of Chabua Township. Amongst the twelve main devotees of Gopal Atadev, the distinguished devotee Aniruddha Dev founded a Satra first at Bisnubalikakunshi village of North Lakhimpur. Later on this Satra was shifted to Khutiaputa. During this period the Moamoria rebellion took place and this Satra fell into troubled waters. This rebellion took place when Astabhuj Gosain (Priest having eight hands) was the ninth head of this Xatra. After his demise, this religious seat of the Satra remained vacant for about fourteen years. Later on Pitambar Chandra Dev was made the head of the Xatra on the orders of Maharaj Gaurinath Singha. The Satra again fell into deep trouble when during this period there occurred a rebellion once again. Even after the end of the Moamaria rebellion this trouble continued at the time when the Burmese invasion began. After stability returned to the kingdom, Bhaktananda Gosain who had been absconding during the Burmese invasion, came to Barbheti Satra situated in Malowpather. Matibor Senapati, the son of Sarbananda Singha of Tinsukia(Bengmora), with due permission of Purnananda Singh Swargadev, brought Bhktananda Gosain first to Rangagara and then later on to the present site of Dinjan at Chabua and named the Satra thus established as Dinjoy Satra. The Satra since then(since 1837) has remained at this place and has become famous as the Dinjoy Satra.

Moderkhat Satra:

It is an extension of Dinjoy Satra. When Sidanandadeb Dinjoy was the head priest of Dinjoy Satra, his brother Chandrakantadev established the Moderkhat Satra at Moderkhat.

Garpara Satra:

This satra is situated in the Rohmoria mouza and was established even before the establishment of Dinjoy Satra. This satra is now being shifted to some safer place because of soli erosion. Narimaider was the first chief priest of this satra.

Koli Aai Thaan:

It is one of the oldest 'thanns' which belonged to the Ahom regime. Since time immemorial, this 'thaan' had a profound influence upon the people of Dibrugarh. It is considered to be very holy place and is held in great esteem by the people of Dibrugarh. Every year lots of people visit the 'than' to pray obeisance to Aai and seek her blessings. Koli aai has a profound influence in the religious history of Assam. She was the daughter of the head priest of Dibaru Satra. As the satra did not have a male heir it gradually disappeared, but then Koli Aai kept the spirit of the Satra alive along with her 'Mising'(a tribe) disciples. It is believed that Koli Aai was bestowed with divine power and ultimately she disappeared from the site. Though 'Aai Thaan' has no temples on idols or celebration of any annual religious festivals, yet the people has a strong religious hold in the hearts of the people.

Barbarua Maidam :

These age old two big graveyards (maidam) are sited 14 km south of Dibrugarh Town near National Highway No. 37. While it can not be ascertained for whom these graveyards were raised, but according to historian Sarbananda Rajkumar these graveyards were erected for BuraDihinigia Barbarua and DekaDihingia Barbarua. On the basis of size and structure it can be assumed that these graveyards were of certain high-ranking officials of Ahom Kingdom. There are also several other small 'maidams' at the site which are said to be the 'maidams' of the dead soldiers.

Bahikhowa Maidam :

Bahikhowa Dasarath Dowerah Borphukan was the 'Borphukan' (Chief of the Army Staff of Ahoms) during the reign of Rajeswar Singha. Borphukan 'maidam' is found in the 'Khowang' Tea Estate but at present it is in a dilapidated condition. Near this huge 'maidam' are three other smaller 'maidams' and moreover several other 'maidams' are also to be found in its nearly places.
Sarumechlow & Bormechow Maidam:

These two 'maidams' are found in the Lengeri mouza of Dibrugarh and are said to be the 'maidams' of the two queens of Sukhampha Khura Raja(1552-1611) who are known as Sorumechlow and Bormechlow.

Lekai Chetia Maidam:

This maidam is sited at Sessa near Mankota road. The 'maidam' is presently called 'Thaan' (a religious establishment) This 'maidam' is considerabley large in size. The location to the north of this maidam is called 'Lekai'. Lekai Chetia was an officer of Ahom kingdom during the tenure of Swragodeo Pratapsingha.

Raidongia Dol:

Among the various monuments that are to be found in Dibrugarh, special mention can be made of the 'Raidongia Dol' and 'Bezor Dol'. The 'Raidongia Dol' is situated in the Larua mouza near the Dihingia Barbarua road in the region of Kalakhowa. Adjacent to the dol is a large pond. The height of the dol is about 45 feet and its beneath is about 150 feet. Initially there were 24 statues on its walls, but now only 14 are to be found. It has been said that when Swargadeo Pramatta Singha married his sister to Raidnogia Barua, this dol and pond along with 200 pura were given as dowry to her.


alexander said...

thank u very much for ur info on lovely girlfriend PRIYADARSHINI has gone there and i miss her very very much.i just hope that she has a very nice and rejuvinating time in DIBRUGARH

indhu M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dimpy roy said...

Very useful post. Dibrugarh is situated at the northern most tip of Assam. Lush and green tea plantations set the backdrop for this small town. Situated along the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra, Dibrugarh is one of oldest and most important cities in Assam. Check out all best hotels in Dibrugarh also.

Debosmita Roy said...

Nice and informative post. Loved the write up. Well known as the Tea City of India, Dibrugarh is one of the two main cities in the state of Assam. There are places to visit in Dibrugarh and adjoining areas which offer its tourists a unique blend of tourist attractions.

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