Dibrugarh, is a city and is the headquarters of the Dibrugarh district in the state of Assam in India. Well known as the Tea City of India, Dibrugarh is a major city in eastern India in line with Guwahati and Bhubaneswar and is the emerging communication and industrial hub of North East India. Dibrugarh is also one of the two main cities in the state of Assam to receive urban development aid from the Asian Development Bank and is the nerve centre of industry, communication and healthcare of the upper Assam region. Dibrugarh is located 439 km (273 miles) east of Guwahati, the largest city of the Indian state of Assam. Dibrugarh is well connected to the rest of India by rail, road and air transport and thus serves as a gateway to eastern Assam and also parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Moreover, there has also been a consistent demand, particularly from the industrial sectors, for starting international flights from Dibrugarh to Bangkok and Singapore. Mega projects like Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited, India’s longest rail cum road bridge Bogibeel bridge and other upcoming modern urban infrastructure are transforming Dibrugarh into a vibrant city. Of late, the city of Dibrugarh is emerging as a popular destination for business and leisure trips for tourists from India and abroad and the 9th edition of the North East Business Summit was held in the city with the theme ‘Building bridges with South East Asia’, where representatives from South East Asian nations and business leaders of the country pledged to contribute substantially for the socio-economic growth of the North East. Dibrugarh is also a centre of education and research and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) organized the 18th National Space Science Symposium in the city in January–February, 2014. The city Master Plan area of Dibrugarh is 66.14 sq. kilometres and population is 186,214.
Buridihing, a tributary of Brahmaputra, divides the district from east-to-west. Buridihing flows through Naharkatia and Khowang, and at a later stage in its course, Buridihing acts as a divider between Dibrugarh and Sivasagar districts. The region is flat with a gradual slope from the East Arunachal hills to the west. The soil of the district is mostly fertile, alluvial soil.
It is the gateway to the three tea-producing districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, and Sivasagar. These three areas account for approximately 50% of India’s Assam tea crop, and this gives Dibrugarh its rightly earned sobriquet as the “Tea City of India”. Oil and timber are the other two big industries in and around Dibrugarh.
In 1950, the Medog earthquake, measuring over 8.6 on the Richter Scale, changed the course of the Brahmaputra River, and this caused the destruction of more than three-quarters of the town. It has since then been rebuilt, though the River is a constant reminder to the people who live in its shadow, of its turbulence and all-encompassing journey to the sea.
Dibrugarh derived its name from Dibarumukh (as a renowned encampment of Ahoms during the Ahom Sutiya War). Either the name “Dibru” evolved from Dibaru river or from the Dimasa word “Dibru” which means a “blister” and “Garh” meaning “fort”. Both “Dibru” and “Dibaru” are Dimasa words. The Dimasas add the prefix “Di-” (which means “water”) wherever there is small stream, a river, or a large river in a town or city. For example, “Diphu” (which means “white-water”), “Dimapur” (city with great river), etc. When the British came to this region, they constructed a fort on the bank of the river Dibaru. Therefore, this might be considered as the source of the name “Dibrugarh”.
The British arrived in Assam in the year 1826, following the Yandaboo Accord. They selected Dibrugarh as an administrative and commercial center in Upper Assam, making Dibrugarh a hub of activity in this region of north-eastern India. In the year 1842, Dibrugarh was announced as the headquarters of Lakhimpur District. During World War II, the town was the principal military base and was used as a transit camp for the evacuees from Burma. In 1971 the Dibrugarh Sub-Division itself became a full fledged district. Later, the Tinsukia Sub-Division separated as a District in 1989 from Dibrugarh District. Today Dibrugarh is a separate district, with the District Headquarters in Dibrugarh.