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Himalaya

Day 93: Digboi, Assam

Michael Palin - HimalayaAnother night in a government guesthouse, this time on the plains of Northeastern Assam, a fertile salient pushing up into the tail of the Himalaya. The tropical lushness of these gently rolling hills is the work of the heavy monsoon rains that are channelled up the Brahmaputra valley. Overflowing flower beds almost reach up to the door and the guesthouse boasts the only 18-hole golf course in Assam.

The money in Digboi comes from oil, discovered here in 1889 and commemorated at the Digboi Centenary Museum of Oil, at which it is obligatory to remove your shoes before entering.

Also commemorated a few miles northeast of Digboi is the Indian end of the wartime Burma Road. Having so recently stood at the Chinese end, in Kunming, I'm interested to see what's left here.

There is very little. A strip of the old tarmac, which soon gets lost in the undergrowth, is all that remains of the road itself, and beside it is a patch of garden, complete with concrete furniture, that's called the Stilwell Information Park. The main feature of this display is a 20-foot high hoarding with a painted map of a section of the route, named after the American General 'Vinegar Joe' Stilwell, who pushed this supply line through.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 93: Digboi, Assam
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Digboi
  • Book page no: 217

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