Places to visit in Dibrugarh, Assam - Awesome Assam
Dibrugarh is a town located on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra River in Assam. It is one of the easternmost parts of India. And because of its unique isolated location, it is, in a way, cut off from mainland India. With minimal industrial growth (except in the tea industry), Dibrugarh has a close connection to nature featuring crystal clear blue skies and pure oxygen to breathe. Located on the banks of mighty Brahmaputra river, this lesser known and as yet less explored town of Dibrugarh is home to vast tea gardens that provide a breath-taking landscape of lush greenery. So, let's explore this town together.
Where is Dibrugarh, Assam, located?
Dibrugarh town is the administrative headquarters of the Dibrugarh district in Upper Assam, Northeast India. It lies at a distance of about 444 kilometres away from Guwahati (the largest city of Assam) or about 435 kilometres away from Dispur (the capital of Assam state). The Brahmaputra river borders the entire town of Dibrugarh in the north. The Burhi Dihing, which is the tributary of Brahmaputra, slices through the district from east to west.
How to reach Dibrugarh, Assam?
Dibrugarh is well connected by airways, railways, and roads. In fact, it is also linked to other districts in Assam via waterways.
Dibrugarh airport is located 15 kilometres away from the main town in an area named Mohanbari. The airport is connected via direct flights with Shillong (Meghalaya), Guwahati (Assam), and Bagdogra & Kolkata (West Bengal) and New Delhi. The flights run daily, though the frequencies might be low.
Dibrugarh railway station is amongst the biggest railway station in entire northeast India. Through the eastern rail network, it is well-connected to major cities in India like Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Kochi, Kanyakumari, Trivandrum, and many more.
National highways number 15, 17, 27, 29 and 37 link the state of Assam with other neighbouring states and cities. Since the completion of the Bogibeel bridge, Dibrugarh has been connected to the northern banks of the Brahmaputra, which eventually leads to Arunachal Pradesh. Government, as well as private buses, ply from Guwahati to Dibrugarh multiple times a day. You will also find shared tempo travellers running from Guwahati to Dibrugarh all day long.
Ferry services link Dibrugarh to the areas of the Dhemaji district across the Brahmaputra River. Even luxury cruises sail from Guwahati to Dibrugarh and back.
What is the best time to visit Dibrugarh, Assam?
Dibrugarh is blessed with a moderate climate, and mostly the weather is pleasant irrespective of the time of the year. As such, October to March is considered the best time to visit Dibrugarh. However, you should plan your visit in line with what you want to experience.
March and June months are the tea harvesting seasons. So, if you are interested in visiting tea gardens and having a cup of freshly harvested flush, these months are the best time to visit Dibrugarh. The tea gardens are closed between December to February for pruning and maintenance. But you can definitely still see them from outside.
Dibrugarh receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon (April/May to September). If you want to see the greenery in all its glory, right after monsoon would be a great time to visit Dibrugarh. Remember that rains bring their own challenges with flooding of the Brahmaputra river and waterlogging woes in the low-lying areas. Even national parks/ safaris are closed during this time.
If you want to experience the rich culture of Assam, the best time to visit Dibrugarh is during the Bihu festivities. Bihu is the harvest festival and marks the end of the harvesting season in Assam. It is celebrated with tremendous zeal and enthusiasm. Rongali Bihu is celebrated in April, Kongali Bihu in October, and Magh Bihu in January/ February. The dates are based on the Hindu calendar.
What are the best places to visit in Dibrugarh, Assam?
Brahmaputra and Tea estates are of course the main attractions within Dibrugarh town. There are few places as well that might interest you.
1. Tea estates
50% of India's Assamese tea crop is grown in the districts of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, and Sivasagar combined. A drive through Dibrugarh will bemuse you with umpteen shades of green in a single expanse of a tea estate. Miles and miles of green land are covered by tea gardens. Owing to the Brahmaputra river, the soil of Dibrugarh is mainly fertile alluvial soil, which further assists good tea cultivation.
Assam tea gardens are very different from the Darjeeling tea gardens when it comes to the style of growing. In Darjeeling, tea is grown on slopes that are 700-2000 metres above sea level. Whereas, in Assam, tea is grown on flat land (30-40 metres above sea level). To prevent damage to the tea plantations from scorching heat in summers, black pepper trees are grown between the tea plants that provide shade and keep the temperature cool.
You will be surprised to know that Dibrugarh alone has more than 250 registered tea companies, and each company has acres and acres of land for tea cultivation! This is barring the small-scale tea growers. Tea tour is one of the reasons why tourists visit Dibrugarh. This includes a walk-through tea plantation and a guided visit to a tea factory where you understand the process of tea growing, harvesting, making, and trading.
What better way to experience the tea cultivation of Dibrugarh than to live in between a tea estate! Chang Bungalows (built during the British colonial era) surrounded by tea gardens on all sides are renovated and refurbished by the Jalans (the oldest tea growers of Assam) for tourists to stay and get a feel of living in a heritage property in the middle of a tea estate (More on this in our upcoming blog).
2. DTP Dyke
DTP Dyke is a riverside promenade in Dibrugarh built along the Brahmaputra banks. A major part of Dibrugarh town was eroded away in the earthquake of 1950 that caused severe floods. That is when the Government of Assam decided to build the dyke. It is used as a place for jogging, cycling, and walking by both the locals and the tourists.
Entrance to DTP Dyke is free of charge, and you can spend as much time there as you want to. We recommend visiting the dyke early in the morning or late in the evenings to catch sunrise or sunset. These timings are perfect for photography. You will get an incredible view of the Brahmaputra glistening with golden colours because of the sunlight reflecting water.
3. Bogibeel bridge
The Bogibeel bridge on the Brahmaputra River in Dibrugarh is India's longest rail-cum-road bridge. It is 4.94 kilometres long and has a double rail line on the lower deck and a 3-lane highway on the upper deck. Bogibeel bridge is located just 20 kilometres away from the state of Arunachal Pradesh. It hence is of strategic importance to India as it significantly eases India's ability to transport troops and supplies to Arunachal Pradesh, which shares a border with China.
In our opinion, Bogibeel bridge is the best place to watch the sunset in Dibrugarh. We went to a restaurant named Kanchanjanga, located right below the bridge on the banks of the Brahmaputra River. The place has cottages for staying, a playground for kids, a unique concept restaurant, and a dolphin viewpoint. We actually were able to spot 3-4 dolphins galloping in the river within a span of 5 minutes. We opted for a 1-hour evening cruise in the Brahmaputra and watched the sunset from the boat which was without a doubt one the best sunset experiences we have had.
The sky displayed an incredible array of colours with the setting sun, and getting to view such a magical phenomenon from the centre of the water was a fantastic experience. Bogibeel bridge lights up with colourful lights as the darkness surrounds, and all this light gets reflected in the river water below. All in all, the sunset cruise is perfect for everyone, be it photographers, family, couples, or children.
Entrance fee for Kachanjanga – INR 30 per person
Ticket for boat cruising Brahmaputra River – INR 500 per person that includes 1-hour boat ride, complimentary mix veg fritters and tea
4. Jokai Botanical Garden
Located 12 kilometres away from Dibrugarh city centre, Jokai Botanical Garden is a storehouse for germplasm and endangered species of flora. The garden is divided into various zones like an orchid house, rainforest, medicinal plants, etc. Jokai Botanical Garden will give you a feeling of being in a tropical rainforest where you can wander amongst tall trees. It is a good place to visit for nature lovers especially if you have time. If you need to skip something in Dibrugarh due to lack of time, we would recommend skipping this.
5. Jagannath temple
Jagannath temple in Dibrugarh is the exact replica of the one in Puri, Odisha. It is very well maintained, and along with the main Jagannath temple, there are several small temples dedicated to various deities in the temple complex. A quick visit to the Jagannath temple in Dibrugarh will leave you with peace and tranquillity. The temple is located very close to the tea gardens of Dibrugarh.
6. Jalan mandir
Jalan Mandir in Dibrugarh is a temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Goddess Radha. The temple is made of white marble, and the surroundings are full of greenery with big lawns and tall trees. Unlike other temples, Jalan Mandir is seldom crowded, and hence you can spend some time in quietude here.
What are the places to visit near Dibrugarh, Assam?
Around Dibrugarh is where it becomes more interesting. There are quite a few varied places around Dibrugarh that ranges from interesting culture, paradise for birders and nature lovers, and some historically interesting places.
1. Namphake monastery
Namphake monastery is a Buddhist monastery in Namphake Village in the Dibrugarh district of Assam. The monastery is located 60 kilometres away from the main Dibrugarh town. All the residents of Namphake village are Buddhists in religion and belong to the Tai-Phake community that migrated from Myanmar to Assam in the 1800s. They maintain their own unique culture.
Namphake Buddhist monastery, situated on the banks of Burhi Dihing River, is said to have been established in the year 1850. It houses a giant statue of Lord Buddha along with numerous smaller statues. We lit candles and incense sticks inside the Buddhist temple. We also found a Buddhist Pagoda, an Ashokan Pillar, and statues of Buddha's disciples in the monastery campus. Colourful flags adorn the entire campus creating an extremely peaceful environment.
Apart from the Namphake Buddhist monastery, also visit the nearby Namphake museum that is created as part of a restaurant. The museum showcases photos, utensils, attire, and unique households of the Tai-Phake tribe. A leisurely walk in the village allowed us to see the raised/ elevated bamboo huts, interact with the community, and understand their culture in a better way.
2. Joypur Rainforest
Joypur (or Jeypore) Rainforest is located 65 kilometres away from Dibrugarh's main town. It is an evergreen forest marked by the rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. Spread across 108 square kilometres, the Joypur rainforest houses hundreds of species of orchids and trees as tall as 50 metres high. The forest also accommodates an incredible number of rare and endangered animals, including sloth bears, Assamese macaque, flying squirrels, and leopard cats.
Every year, a Rainforest festival is organised at Joypur Rainforest that includes fun and adventure activities like trekking, camping, elephant riding, and bird watching. This festival attracts thousands of tourists from across India.
3. Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary
About 50 kilometres ahead of Joypur Rainforest is the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary. Located about 100 kilometres from Dibrugarh town, this wildlife sanctuary is a major elephant habitat and has 47 different species of reptiles and mammals. It harbours the largest stretches of lowland rainforests in India, home to the rare white-winged wood duck – the state bird of Assam. To enter the sanctuary, you need to obtain a permit from the Forest Range Office in Digboi. It's best that you hire the services of a local guide who could take you deep inside the forest reserve; you might easily lose your way inside the thick rainforest.
4. Digboi Oil Centenary Museum
Digboi is an oil town located 84 kilometres away from the main town of Dibrugarh in Upper Assam. In the early 18th century, crude oil was first discovered in Digboi, making it the birthplace of the industrial revolution in this region. The town houses the oldest running oil well in the world, and at that exact place, the Digboi Oil Centenary Museum is constructed. The museum showcases samples of different types of fuels, refined fuels, and by-products. A stroll through the museum will make you understand how the British discovered oil.
Beside the Digboi Oil Centenary Museum, you will find a bunker used by the British Army during World War II. You will also find a well-maintained and well-documented war cemetery 4 kilometres away from the museum that used to be a burial ground of the bygone warriors of World War.
Entrance fee for Digboi Oil Centenary Museum – INR 10 per person; Photography is prohibited inside the museum.
5. Margherita coal museum
Just 18 kilometres south of the Digboi Oil Centenary Museum is the Margherita Coal Museum. This museum is established to preserve materials from over 120 years of coal mining in India. It showcases various instruments used in coal mining since the 18th century, including machines, tools, vehicles, engines, and pumps. The museum houses a replica of an actual underground mine which is very interesting to visit. Some locomotives on display are too cool to believe.
Entrance fees to Margherita Coal Museum – INR 10 per person
6. Dibru Saikhowa National Park
Located about 100 kilometres away from Dibrugarh town, Dibru Saikhowa National Park is bounded by the Dibru River on the south and Lohit and great Brahmaputra River on the north. The national park is the largest salix swamp forest in northeast India, attracting many endangered species. More than 350 species of birds have been spotted at Dibru Saikhowa National Park so far.
Dibru Saikhowa National Park was established to protect the critically endangered species of white-winged wood duck and wild ferral horses. The river around the sanctuary is even frequented by dolphins. You will be able to spot a variety of fauna while on a boat safari in the river around the sanctuary. The other activities at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park include bird watching, trekking, river cruising, village touring, and night camping.
How many nights should one spend in Dibrugarh, Assam?
While touring Dibrugarh, you need to keep in mind that all the places of interest are located far off from each other. Along with road conditions, you will have to spend quite some time on road to cover all places around Dibrugarh. If you have to choose one place around Dibrugarh town, we would recommend covering the Namphake monastery and getting a different cultural insight.
An ideal Dibrugarh itinerary will look like this:
Day 1: Visit the Jagannath temple, Jalan temple, and DTP Dyke (in the evening)
Day 2: Explore Tea Gardens early in the morning, followed by Jokai Botanical Garden, and then head to Bogibeel Bridge for the sunset
Day 3: Full day excursion to Namphake monastery, Jeypore Rainforest, Digboi Centenary Museum, and Margherita Coal Museum (You will have to start early)
Day 4: Trip to Dibru Saikhowa National Park
Note: You can also plan to spend a night near Dibru Saikhowa National Park. The roads to the places mentioned on Day 3 are narrow and very okayish in condition, so consider the time spent on the roads.
Where to stay in Dibrugarh, Assam?
This one's a no brainer. If you visit Dibrugarh and don't spend time amongst tea estates, have you really explored the place?! That's why we chose to stay in a heritage house surrounded by acres and acres of tea estates. Choosing to stay at Mancotta Heritage Chang Bungalow was the best decision we took on our Assam trip.
Mancotta Heritage Chang Bungalow was previously owned by the British Indian Tea Company and is an ideal representation of how the Britishers lived in the estates. The heritage bungalow is built on stilts (known as chang ghars in Assamese). The wooden bungalow has 4 large double rooms and 2 single rooms in the attached annexure. The chefs at Mancotta prepare authentic Assamese food, which is to die for! 5 stars for the service and hospitality. We were free to roam in the surrounding tea gardens and enjoyed every moment of our stay here.
If you would like to checkout other options to stay in Dibrugarh, click on images below to see available hotels and homestays in Dibrugarh, Assam -
Other important information:
The biggest tip we would give to the people living in Western India and visiting Assam is to wake up super early, as the sun sets pretty early on this side of India. Every minute of the daylight counts. The sun rose as early as 5:30 AM in Dibrugarh and set by 4:30 PM when we visited in December. It gets pitch black dark by 5:00 PM (Daylight timings might vary in summer).
Since we were just two of us, we rented a two-wheeler to get around in Dibrugarh. If you are on a tour where you have booked a car for the entire trip, that will work too. However, hiring a car on a daily basis may turn out to be expensive.
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We hope this guide helps you plan a trip to Dibrugarh and to the nearby places. Should you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below, or you can directly mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.