Scenic Dibrugarh, on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, is popularly known as the ‘Tea City of India’. With swathes of lush tea gardens amid paddy fields, Dibrugarh along with Tinsukia and Sivasagar forms a triumvirate of tea-producing districts of Assam. Historically, an encampment for the great Ahom kings, its name is said to be derived from the riverside fort built by the British in 1824 on the banks of the Dibru (Dibaru) river, a tributary of the Brahmaputra – dibru is a Dimasa word for ‘water’, and garh means ‘fort’.
Best time to visit: Dibrugarh temperature remains at an average of 22.9 degrees Celsius, annually. You can visit Dibrugarh at any time of the year, however, October to March is the ideal time to enjoy the perfect weather.
How to reach
By Air: Mohanbari Airport is the nearest airport at a distance of 15km from the city. IndiGo operates non-stop daily flights between Dibrugarh and Kolkata & Guwahati.
By Train: Dibrugarh has a vast network of trains, connecting Dibrugarh railway station to the metros along with all other cities in the country.
By Bus: NH37 connects Dibrugarh with the rest of the country through a vast network of buses run by Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC).
Getting around: Local buses, auto and cycle-rickshaws are economical and convenient modes of transportation to move around the city. Taxis are also available to travel in the town.
A new but favourite multi-cuisine restaurant, it serves excellent fast food at a decent price. Regulars vouch for the pizzas, burgers, dosas and vada pav. They also serve great mocktails and desserts.
Lively yet cosy with an ambience that reminds you of a pleasant village home. Come here when you’re craving some comfort food.
A popular hangout in a narrow lane, it has the young university crowd drooling over its smoked chicken, pork steak and stir-fry dishes. They serve spicy baby corn, and non-vegetarians can try the prawns, fish, mutton or pork.
True to its name, this eatery is making waves with an excellent north Indian fare. Don’t leave without digging into their buttery naans and rotis, and yes, tandoori momos. They serve half portions too, so there’s no wastage.
Part of the reputed Delhi franchise, it promises excellent tandoori cuisine with delicious kebabs, curries, dal and more!
Being tea country, you are spoiled for choice so don’t forget to pack some original Assam tea to take back home.
The street shopping scene is also quite unusual as you can pick up traditional items like exquisite cane and bamboo crafts, silk saris and traditional garments like mekala chador, gamocha, japi and xorai.
Visit New Market for branded electronic goods, fashion, apparel, leather items and jewellery, Amolapatty for furniture. Chowkidinghee Bazaar has many eateries, so after a tiring round of shopping, there’s plenty of choices to beat post-shopping hunger pangs.
If you prefer the ease of malls as one-stop-shops for significant needs, try Sohum at RKB Path or Reliance Trends.
Dibrugarh is a small town with little opportunity to party. There are few places to chill out or break away from routine. Zaffran Bar on HS Road is a nice place for an evening drink or dinner while De Rock Café on AT Road is a cool youth hangout where people like to relax with friends and catch some of the best rock gigs in town. Another option is to hop into local watering hole Dreamland Bar for a drink. Dibrugarh Gymkhana Club is a lovely place to wind down in comfort but is only open to members and their guests. It may not involve drinks, but you could also catch a movie at the old Aurora Cinema Hall or the fancier and modern Galleria Cinemas in Sohum Mall.
Mancotta Chang Bungalow, Jalan Nagar Live the life of a burra sahib in an 1850s colonial plantation bungalow with antique décor. Balconies on the upper floor present grand views of the lawn and estate. With friendly staff at your beck and call, guided estate tours and exclusive horse riding trails, it’s a complete plantation experience.
Hotel Rajawas, AT Road Clean and hygienic rooms, a restaurant, bar and lounge with prompt service in a convenient but crowded location are what the hotel has to offer. A bit far from the airport, but only a sneeze away from the primary market and shopping mall.
Hotel Little Palace, AT Road A decent, affordable option near the Dibrugarh railway station and bus station, this 48-room hotel has a restaurant called Four Seasons serving regional, Indian and international fare.
Monalisa Hotel, Mancotta Road For thirty odd years, their comfy, clean rooms have been an ideal choice for backpackers and tourists alike. Accommodating staff and a convenient bar and restaurant Jonki n Panei serve authentic Assamese fare besides Chinese and Indian dishes.
Namphake Village: Your visit to Dibrugarh can’t get completed without exploring Namphake Village. Located 37kms away from the city and settled amidst abundant natural beauty, next to the river Burhi Dihing, the village is home for several Tai Phakey families. The beautiful Buddhist monastery with essential spots like Ashokan Pillar and the Buddhist Pagoda are the major reasons for making Namphake popular. The main temple comprises of a gold Lord Buddha statue and a holy water tank named Mucalinda Tank.
Festival time: There are many festivals celebrated here, but Dibrugarh comes alive during the bunch of Bihu festivals—Ringtail (spring), Bhogali (harvest) and Kangali (pre-harvest). The spring festival is the best time to see the whole city coming together to organise community pandals or stages where games, literary events, traditional Bihu dance, music contests and cultural programmes are held. It is quite a sight to catch dancers in their lovely gamocha, mekhala, dhoti and chadar (ethnic costumes) perform in the green fields to the beat of dhols and the pepa (hornpipe).
If you are done inhaling the aromas of tea from the factories around and feel like going on a long drive, take a 54km detour along the Dibrugarh–Tinsukia Highway and visit the Tilinga Mandir dedicated to Lord Shiva famous for its vast collection of temple bells (tilinga in Assamese) suspended from the ceiling. It is a sight to behold when you find bells made of brass, copper, aluminium in all shapes and sizes hanging all around the temple and even from the trees! For the faithful, the bells are given as offerings for every fulfilled wish, making it one of Dibrugarh district’s most popular and atypical tourist attractions. Make a wish here and who knows, you may return to tie a bell yourself! Incidentally, the first railway services in the North-East region began from Dibrugarh, so it holds a prime position in the history of the India Railways as well.