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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!

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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!

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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?

 

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