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Dibrugarh City Guide: The Last Big Town on the Banks of Brahmaputra River

Sunset over the Brahmaputra River on the outskirts of Dibrugarh city
Sunset over the Brahmaputra River on the outskirts of Dibrugarh city
Junction between Mancotta Road and RKB Road in Dibrugarh
Junction between Mancotta Road and RKB Road in Dibrugarh
New Market early in the morning at Dibrugarh
New Market early in the morning at Dibrugarh
A man walking down a street in Dibrugarh
A man walking down a street in Dibrugarh
An old man walking out of an old tea hotel in Dibrugarh.
An old man walking out of an old tea hotel in Dibrugarh.
A new shopping complex at RKB Road Dibrugarh
A new shopping complex at RKB Road Dibrugarh
A mosque in the midst of the New Market at Dibrugarh
A mosque in the midst of the New Market at Dibrugarh
A fish seller at New Market Dibrugarh
A fish seller at New Market Dibrugarh
An old shop at New Market Dibrugarh
An old shop at New Market Dibrugarh
Makeshift temple on the banks of the Brahmaputra River
Makeshift temple on the banks of the Brahmaputra River
Makeshift bridge made from bamboo over the Brahmaputra River
Makeshift bridge made from bamboo over the Brahmaputra River
Canoes yoked to the shore at Brahmaputra River
Canoes yoked to the shore at Brahmaputra River

Dibrugarh was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. In my college days in Shillong, my neighbor was a friendly guy from Dibrugarh, where they owned a decent double storey building with a neat garden sprawled in front. They would occasionally go home for weddings and funerals. I had heard many of their stories that I felt I knew a lot more about the place than I actually did. 

 I paid Rs.70 fare for a bus ride from Jorhat to Dibrugarh. Travelling along the Guwahati- Dibrugarh trail was a lot easier than I thought it would. There were vehicles plying through the highway at most times and one can easily hop on any bus without too much to worry. By now I had travelled around 450km of Assam plains dotted with thick forest, golden rice fields and thousands of small water bodies. And lately, I had seen lots of tea gardens. 

As soon as I arrived at Dibrugarh, I checked into a hotel near HS Road. It looked like a town just awakened to the boom of modernism; fast growing infrastructure and big brands just beginning to set up stores. But on one hand it is one of the oldest cities from the British Era. During the Second World War when the Japanese were fast advancing from Myanmar and the Naga Hills, Dibrugarh was used as a military camp and a base to transport evacuees to from Myanmar. 

Since the arrival of the British in Assam in the year 1826, tea was gradually introduced in Jorhat, Dibrugarh and other parts of Assam. Today Assam is one of the largest producers of tea in the country. Tea along with oil and handicraft products, are the major source of economy of this town. 

Dibrugarh doesn't have too many relics of the British colonial past like grand bungalows and old clubs. The topography of the town had changed after the 1950’s Medog Earthquake. The 8.6 Richter scale earth quake changed the course of the Brahmaputra River and was responsible for destroying three-quarters of the town. What we see now is mostly a new town built out of the rubble from that quake. 

Most of the shops and hotels are on the HS Road and Mancotta Road. HS Road has shops on either side. It is probably the most happening place with a cinema hall, a cyber café just opposite and some high rise buildings. The junction between RKB Path and HS Road has a good eatery that serves great Chinese and Indian food. New Market just behind HS Road market is the biggest shopping area and also has a big food market. 

How to Reach:

Mohanbari Airport is around 15km from the city. Dibrugarh is also connected to other cities by train, most notably, the Dibrugarh-Delhi Rajdhani Express which operates twice a week. The city is connected to other parts of the state and also Arunachal Pradesh by road.

Where to Stay:

There are many tea estates that offer accommodation and food. They can be slightly expensive, but offer great ambiance and a wonderful first hand experience of the whole process of tea making. Other hotels in the city are H20, City Regency, Kusum Hotel, and Hotel East End etc. 

 

  

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