Digboi – #AtoZChallenge2016

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I’m participating in the #AtoZBloggingChallenge 2016 with the theme – Pins on the Map of my Memory – which is about places that bear a special connection with me for reasons mostly personal!


D for Digboi

In the heart of Assam’s Tinsukia district, lies a beautiful town called Digboi, with soft rolling hillocks and undulating, long winding roads, straight out of a picture-postcard, where you will find quaint old-styled private houses and bungalows, beautiful churches and an eighteen-hole golf course, bearing strong traces of a British colonial past.

This is where the first oil well in Asia was discovered, rather accidentally, in the remote mosquito-infested jungles in early 1901. There is a very interesting story of how the town got its’ name. Apparently, the phrase “dig-boy-dig” was uttered by the English engineer W L Lake to his labourers who were digging for crude oil, after his men found elephants emerging out of the dense forest with oil stains on their feet. The rest is history!


The tea gardens at Margherita.

Today, Digboi is the headquarter of the Assam Oil Division of Indian Oil Corporation Limited and India’s oldest continuously producing oilfield refinery. The town draws hundreds of visitors every year, who come to enjoy its’ beautiful natural setting. Other tourist attractions include an oil museum and a wildlife sanctuary attached to it. But oil is not the only reason that draws people to visit this beautiful town. They usually go for the much sought-after traditional handicrafts and textiles that reflects the local culture of the region. The lush tea gardens of Margherita are just 10 km away and definitely not to be missed.

My relationship with Digboi goes a long way back. In fact, I’ve heard numerous stories of people who once lived here. I’ve travelled down the streets and alleys of this town back and forth, many times over, through my mother’s innumerable anecdotes and through granddad’s tales many years later, through my earliest memories that has made Digboi special in a way that few places are.

The journey of my life begins from here. I opened my eyes to this big, wide world in this beautiful town at the British-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) hospital in the days when my grandfather was posted here as a doctor.

I have memories of our vacations at my grandparents’ house, when I was a little older, of the countless uncles and aunts who would pamper me and the wonderful road trips we used to all go for! So many years have gone by since then..I now wonder if I did make a trip to Digboi, what will it be like? Will it be the same as I imagine?  Perhaps, a visit is due!

Do you have a childhood memory about a place that is special to you?


  • Archie


    Love the naamkaran story of the town 😉 to be honest I didn’t even know such a town existed. Thanks for sharing dearie 🙂

    • Esha Mookerjee Dutta

      Thanks dear! You’re not the only one…lot of people haven’t heard about this town unless they’ve been in the North-East. Precisely the reason behind me writing about it, in the first place 🙂

      • Archie

        Awesome! U r really being nice to us 😊😊 do hop over to my travel site when time permits to read about some of the American cities that I have covered for the challenge! Cheers dearie 😊

        • Esha Mookerjee Dutta

          Oh, yes, will definitely catch your posts…sounds very interesting, Archana! Thanks again :-))

  • vishalbheeroo


    How lovely reading where the name was borrowed from Dig Boy!! Assam is on my travel cards and interesting to read about it.

    • Esha Mookerjee Dutta

      Thanks Vishal! The North-East of the country has some exceptionally beautiful places for nature lovers! If you plan a trip to Assam do Meghalaya as well – they are just next door, esp Shillong!

  • inquisitivegeet


    Once returning from a train, I had this person from Assam, who couldn’t stop talking about the goodness of nature and he was such a sweet fellow and now I’m reading about it here.
    I guess, universe is trying to tell me something 😛


    • Esha Mookerjee Dutta

      I can imagine that Geets! If you’ve grown up in the hills, nothing strikes you as more beautiful…in fact all your life you keep searching for the place you left behind…! Strange are the ways of the human mind!!

  • Rajlakshmi


    Ohh the tea gardens look amazing!! I spent a year in Duliajan, about an hour distance from Digboi. But I didn’t know the history behind the name. ‘Dig Boy Dig’ Genius!

    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller

    • Esha Mookerjee Dutta

      Ah, Duliajan, been there as well! Old familiar names rake up so many memories…!

  • tinabasu


    Digboi, is special for you!
    The Sunny Side of Life
    Twinkling Tina Cooks

  • Kala Ravi


    Wow, that is a special place with an especial memory. I remembered this place from the geography lessons on oil resources in the country. And the source of its name, now I know!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂
    @KalaRavi16 from

    • Esha Mookerjee Dutta

      Yes, I know, we used to be so excited to see familiar names in our geography lessons! A very special place indeed 🙂

  • BellyBytes


    What an interesting story. I’ve been fascinated by the name Digboi and never really thought I’d ‘meet’ someone from there!

    • Esha Mookerjee Dutta

      Thanks, perhaps you’ll love to visit too, someday! Even in Bangalore, I bump into people with North-East
      connections…makes me very happy!

  • the bespectacled mother


    Connection connection and some more connection. This time it is Indian Oil Corporation. I have never been to Digboi but the name is very familiar to me since I lived in Guwahati for the first 9years of my life. My childhood is full of fond memories of the time spent in Guwahati and Shillong, of elephants working at logging sites, of rhinos in the sanctuary of Kaziranga, of waterfalls, of steamer rides in Brahmaputra.

    • Esha Mookerjee Dutta

      What a coincidence that we keep finding more and more connections between us?! Now, we have a strong NE connection as well!! Digboi, Shillong and Guwahati …hmm… very familiar to me! Even I have memories of countless road trips taken as a family! I’d love to Kaziranga once again though, this time with my family to see how much has changed over the years! Assam is very beautiful I feel..!

  • Corinne Rodrigues


    Truly a special place for you, Esha. It looks beautifully serene.

    • Esha Mookerjee Dutta

      It is Corinne! Do plan a visit there…you will be pleasantly surprised to find so much of natural beauty everywhere!

  • Shilpa Garg


    I have been to almost all major cities of the country except the North Eastern cities. It’s on our travel wish list and hope we get to explore it along with Digboi. Visiting a tea garden is on my wish list too. I liked the way this city got its name. Interesting.

    • Esha Mookerjee-Dutta

      Shilpa, the north-East is still pristine in comparison to many other places in the country mostly because it is still untapped by the tourism industry! The Seven Sisters are beautiful….you will love the natural beauty of these places and will keep coming back for more!

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