Perhaps the greatest example of a man’s power of dreaming, believing in his dream and working continuously to realize that dream is illustrated when you step foot into the ‘Treasured Wheels Museum’ near Guwahati in Assam. Mr. Piklu Deka or Piklu Da as everyone calls him is the man behind this dream. What started as a dream to own a vintage car thirty (30) years ago has finally transformed in the shape of a museum with a collection of over 50 vintage cars, 50 motorbikes and much more.
A short half an hour drive from Guwahati will reach you to the Treasured Wheels Museum. You are greeted at the Museum Entrance by a collection of helmets used by Soldiers during World War II announcing your expeditions across a huge campus filled with the memoirs of the War. From vintage Russian Army Trucks, American Motorbikes to Chinese Paratrooper Cycles you are sure to find them here. The amazing part is that all these Motorcars are in a perfect running condition.
The various collection of Antique Motorcars present in the museum are as below:
Renault 749 CC 1948 model (back engine) ,
Sunbeam 800 CC (convertible) of 1933,
Morries 800 CC (convertible) of 1948,
Perfect Ford (hard top) of 1948,
Volks Wagon (back engine) of 1949,
Ford Jeep of 1942,
Ford Care of 1939
Buick of 1945.
Motorbikes collection include-
Ariel 500 CC (Red Hunter) of 1944,
British-made Albion (belt model) of 1901,
Royal Enfield 350 CC (chain drive) of 1940,
Norton 650 CC (chain drive model) of 1932,
BSA 500 CC (Golden flash) of 1938,
BSA 500 CC (Gold Star) of 1940,
BSA 40 CC (Paratroopers) of 1938,
Royal Enfield 150 CC of 1948,
Paradrop Scooter (Paratrooper model) made in USA in 1933,
Sunbeam 500 CC (Swift Drive) 1942,
Triumph 350 CC (chain drive) of 1934 and several others.
Mr. Deka’s love or the environment can also be seen at the Museum that is covered with lush Green surroundings. Mr. Deka he has planted around 22,000 saplings of litchis, guavas, bay leaves and neem across the campus of the museum which now makes it an ideal retreat for a weekend getaway from the City. Adventure junkies can enjoy trekking and boating facilities. Stay is arranged at Tree houses in the campus and sumptuous Assamese Traditional Cuisine can be savored on prior request.
Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to witness the ‘The Wheels of a bygone Era…’ ~ the Treasured Wheels Museum, Guwahati, the State of Assam, Incredible India!
The State of Assam in India has been bestowed with a vast reserve of Fossil Fuels. Assam has huge hydrocarbon potential, large quantities of low ash coal resources, limestone and dolomite deposits as well as a few other unexplored minerals in addition to a wide forest covers and abundant rivers. Coal mining is an important source of livelihood for the people in the state and the largest coal producing company in the world Coal India Ltd. has its operations in the state of Assam under its subsidiary North Eastern Coal Fields Ltd. (NECF).
Situated very close to the office of the General Manger of Coal India Ltd. at Margherita in Assam is India’s only Coal Museum. The brain child of the Ex. Chief General Manager of NECF Mr. A. K. Bora a coal mining professional and a war history enthusiast (he has never missed to watch any movie/documentary on the World Wars I & II), this museum of International standard was inaugurated on 29th October, 2012 and is opening for public viewing.
The Prime attraction of this museum are the century old Steam Locomotives. The State of Assam was once a British colony famous for coal mining at Makum Coalfields (now called Margherita). These steam locomotives were deployed at these mining sites for transportation of coal. The Engines deployed here were built during the late 1800s and early 1900’s by renowned locomotive manufacturer from Stafford, England W. G. Bagnall. The likes of the locomotives included JOHN (1924), SHELLY (1930), HASSANG (1897), DAVID and 796. Though these magnificent British marvels were built more than a 100 years ago, some of them are still operational at the Tipong Colliery while the others have been put up on public display at India’s only Coal Museum at Margherita in Assam.
The 796 Steam Locomotive standing with its Grace at Tipong Colliery
Our Tourist Standing for a perfect picture with the DAVID steam locomotive at Tipong Colliery
The SHELLY Steam Locomotive at Coal Museum in India
The JOHN steam locomotive at Coal Museum at Margherita
The HASSANG Steam Locomotive at Coal Museum in India
The Portrait of the DAVID Steam locomotive gifted by a Japanese Tourist at the Coal Museum at Margherita
Another important attraction of the museum is the practice of coal mining depicted in the form of real time models, a demo structure of an underground coal mine, necessities to be carried to the underground mines by the workmen like underground coal mining boots, cap lamps, shovels and other tools of mining, vintage underground telephones, etc. The museum depicts the history of coal mining at Namdang in Assam. It also contains actual models of transformers, haulages and Circuit breakers manufactured by Crompton Parkinson and Manchester & Scheffield, England.
Industry Runs on Many Wheels and Coal is the Prime Mover Depiction
Centenery Industrial Boring Machine
Dehing Underground Display Coal Mine
Coal Mining Practice Equipments
Cap Lamps used in Underground Coal Mining
Coal Mine Tunnel at the Dehing Coal Mine
Equipments for Coal Mining at Coal Museum
Haulages used in Underground Coal Minings on display
Other important attractions here at the Coal Museum are the Memoirs of World War II (rare pictures of construction of Stilwell Road, Pangsau Pass and Ledo airstrip, empty shells of bombs used in WW II), the history of the Assam Railways & Trading Co. Ltd (AR &T Co. Ltd.), a rare collection of stamps from over the world, vintage Cyclostyle machines, etc.
American Army Trucks plying on the Stilwell Road
American Troops wave out Luck to the Soldiers travelling to China on the Stilwell Road
Collection of Rare Stamps at the Coal Musuem
General Vinegar Joe Stilwell at the Battle Field
Legacy Type Writers
Querry Operations by the Assam Railways and Trading Company
Stilwell at kitchen
The Stilwell Road that played a major role in the March of the Allied Forces victory over the Japanese
This museum is must to see place for people in the coal mining industry and history enthusiasts. Post you visit to the museum you can savor a sumptuous meal of traditional cuisine at the Singpho Villa Restaurant at Singpho Ecotourism Lodge at Margherita and experience open cast coal mining at Tirap Colliery.
The Singpho Ecotourism Lodge at Margherita serves exotic delicacies of local Singpho Tribal Cuisine and gives you a chance to witness Singpho Tribal Culture and Traditions
Opencast Coal Mining at Tirap Colliery in Assam
The Open Cast Mining Equipments at Tirap Colliery
Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to witness the first hand experience of the”British Marvels” Steam Locomotives and India’s only Coal Museum – Tipong Colliery & Margherita, the State of Assam, Incredible India!
Many of our readers might have heard about the State of Assam in India and some might have even visited to sight the pride of Assam at Kaziranga – the ‘One Horned Rhinoceros of Assam’. It is no doubt that people would carry back one memoir from Assam that this is indeed a beautiful State! It is our quest to bring forth to the World that Assam’s beauty is not only limited to Kaziranga and the spectacular drive from Guwahati to it. Our State has many a story to narrate to showcase its rich culture and history. From the legends of the Kamakhya Temple to the Architectural Marvels of the Ahom Dynasty at Sivasagar. From the finest Tea Estates in the World to the its history in playing a pivotal role in the victory of the Allied Forces in World War II at the Stilwell Road. From the Grandeur of its five (5) exotic National Parks to the Rich Cultural Heritage of the World’s Largest Inhabited River Island at Majuli. From the Silk Town (Manchester of the East) of the World at Suwalkuchi to the World’s smallest river Island at Umananda. From Asia’s Oldest Refinery and Plywood Factory at Digboi to India’s largest Road Bridge and Road cum Railway Bridge at Sadiya and Dibrugarh. From the always welcoming Tribes of Assam to the perfect Ecotourism Getaways and Tribal Cottages, the journey across this State will indeed leave any visitor mesmerized and not to forget, we at Jungleideas will ensure to adopt all possible measures for your visit here to be the most memorable experience of your lifetime!
During your journey across Assam one must halt is at the Commercial Capital of Assam – the busy town of Tinsukia. Although a quick glance would seem it to be just like a normal modern day city; this place has been an important landmark in the history of Assam. Tinsukia was the capital of the one of the mighty empires of Assam after the Ahoms – the Muttack Kingdom founded by Swargadeo Sarbananda Singha. During his rule Swargadeo Sarbananda Singha instructed his Minister Gopinath Barbaruah to dig a triangular pond which later came to be known as Tinikunia (meaning Triangular) Pukhuri (meaning Pond). In the year 1884, a Railway station was constructed near this pond, when the historic Dibru-Sadiya Rail line was laid by the Assam Railways and Trading Company (AR&T) Limited during the British Raj. This Station was named as Tinsukia and since then this has been known as Tinsukia. The railway junction at the Tinsukia Station is the largest in North East India. Tinsukia proves to be an important connecting point on your journey to Digboi (Oil town of Assam), Sadya (India’s Longest Bridge), Margherita (the Coal Queen of Assam), Stilwell Road and the State of Arunachal Pradesh (the Namdapha National Park and the Pansau Pass).
Places of interest in and around Tinsukia and its onward journeys are:
Railway Heritage Park and Museum – Highlights the history of the Dibru Sadiya Railway and displays the Steam Engines that built the World’s Second Largest Rail Network operated under a single management – the Indian Railways
The Dhola Sadiya Bridge – At a length of 9.15 kilometers the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge at Sadiya Ghat is the Longest Bridge in India!
The National Park of Dibru-Saikhowa – known for its population of White winged wood duck in its natural habitat and also for its bright colored wild horses known as Feral Horses. The only National Park of Assam that offers a River Cruise to view its Grandeur.
Borajan Wildlife Sanctuary – Some rare and endangered animals of this sanctuary are Hoolock Gibbon, Capped Langur, Slow Loris, Water Buffaloes, Gangetic river dolphin, etc.
Wathai Heritage Tea Bungalow – An imperial Bungalow of the British Era built around the majestic Tea Gardens of Assam
The Tilinga Mandir or the Bell Temple at Bordubi
The Nao Pukhuri dug during the rule of King Swargadeo Sarbananda Singha in 1791
Legendary Oil Town of Digboi – Home to Asia’s Oldest Refinery and the World’s Oldest Operational Oil Well. The World War II cemetery built and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Mission is also at Digboi. Digboi also one of the best golf courses in India and many colonial Bungalows of the British Era.
Coal Queen of Assam ‘Margherita’ – Margherita has some of the oldest coal mines in the World. India’s only Coal Museum and Asia’s oldest Plywood Factory is located here. Margherita is home to some of the Oldest and Legendary Tribes of North East India. The Singpho Eco Lodge here is one of the best destinations in North East India to experience Ecotourism with the Singpho Tribes. The Ketetong Village here is home to many other principal tribes of North East India. An important trade center of the British Era this place has many Heritage British Bungalows at the nearby Tea gardens and Coal India Limited. Some of the Oldest Operational Steam Locomotives in the World of the likes of David, 796, John etc. are stationed at the Tipong Colliery. Remains of one of the best American Military Hospitals i.e. the 20th General Hospital is located at Margherita
Namdapha National Park – Located at Deban in Arunachal Pradesh, the Namdapha National Park is the third (3rd) largest National Park in India and is home to the Big Four Cat Species of the likes of Snow leopards, Clouded leopards, Common leopards and Tigers
Digboi Golf Course – One of the finest in India
Ledo Club – the Office of the First Governor General of India Lord Mountbatten and the place where the Notorious Dictator of Uganda Idi Amin served as a butler during the Burma Campaign of World War II
The 20th General Hospital at Magherita – One of the Finest of the American Army
The Historic Stilwell Road built by the American Army during World War II
The Lake of No Return and the Pangsau Pass aka the Hell’s Pass
Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to visit the Capital of the Muttack Kingdom and the present Commercial Capital of Assam – Tinsukia, the State of Assam, Incredible India!
The Assam Railways and Trading Company Ltd., a pioneer in coal mining business in the North Eastern Region of India, initiated their business interests in this remote corner of the Country sometime during 1881 and people from different parts of India assembled at Margherita, the ‘Coal Queen’ of Assam to serve this British Company who started operation in this locality for exploration of coal and other forest products and this gave birth to a heterogeneous society.
The society though consisting of a handful of population considered themselves as members of the same family.
Inspired by the idea of introducing Durga Puja at Margherita, a few enthusiastic employees of the AR&T Company started this Puja sometime in the year 1909 at a Mandap near the AR&T Company LP School which became the grounds of the present day India Club.
Late Aswini Kumar Deb Roy who was one of the most influential personalities of that time took the initiative and continued with the responsibility for years for the celebration of Durga Puja here with Brojolal Banerjee, Upendrananth Das Gupta, Bhupati Chakraborty, Srish Chandra Das, G K Baruah and others.
Availability of priests to perform the Puja was a problem faced by the organizers and this was eradicated by bringing Sarada Mukhopadhayya and Rakhal Bhattacharjee particularly for this purpose. Mukhopadhaya and Bhattacharjee were engaged from the very inception and after they left, Durgadas Bhattacharjee took the responsibility.
To add to the Grandeur of the Puja and to attract people, amusement in the form of Dance and Cinema were arranged. Staging of dramas by the members of the India Club for all the three (3) days was a highlight of this puja and this continued till the early seventies.
In front of the general office of the AR&T Company, another Puja used to be performed which later amalgamated with the Sarbajanin Durga Puja in 1946. To accommodate people of all sentiments of the practice of goat sacrifices was abolished. But prior to that goats upto a limit of even 300 used to be sacrificed each day.
This festival of the Durga Puja that was started back in 1909 by a group of enthusiastic devotees has since then only grown in stature. With the passage of time this Puja has come to symbolize the true spirit of oneness and brotherhood. Although its grandeur has reached sublime heights over the years the spirit and essence of this Puja have retained the flavors of its inception.
Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to witness the Celebration of Triumph of Good over Evil – the ‘Durga Puja’ and its centenary celebrations at the India Club in the heart of the Coal Queen of Assam, Margherita, the State of Assam, Incredible India!
The British had come to Assam in the early 1800’s much before the State had gone under the British rule. They had come to seek for alternates to the Tea of China when their Tea trade with China had run into rough weather. It was here in Assam that they discovered the “Camellia Asamica” (better renowned today as the Assam CTC Tea) and in 1839 the Assam Company was incorporated that started producing and exporting the famous Assam Tea).
But as history tells us, no successful business is established without initial hurdles. The tea factories in upper Assam mostly in the region of ‘Chabua’ (‘Cha’ meaning Tea and ‘Bua’ meaning to Grow) were located at a far of distance from the nearest available River port at Dibrugarh. Transportation from the tea factories to the port became an impossible task due to non availability of proper transportation facilities as at that time most of this region was under thick forest cover. Though God was bountiful enough to provide all the required natural resources for the Tea industry to flourish in this part of the country like coal and oil; transportation of these resources to the tea garden became a much bigger challenge for the British! And as per the teachings of the Best Management Courses courses in the World today, the British too were aware of the fact that only manufacturing a product was not sufficient for it to gather the attention of the buyers – effective selling, marketing and customer reach was necessary to make the product an instant hit!
Learning from this management principle the British decided to set up an efficient Rail route across this part of the country to ensure not only a viable transportation mode to the Dibrugarh port but also to ensure the requisite mineral resources to run these tea factories efficiently reach on time. This Rail route came to be known as the ‘Dibru Sadiya’ railway.
It was in 1881, that the British Raj under the able guidance of Dr. John Berry White and Mr. Benjamin Piercy established the Assam Railways and Trading Company (AR&T Company). This company was constituted with three (3) objectives in mind:
To constitute an efficient Rail route across the Dibru Sadiya terminal
To develop the coal mining techniques across the Coal reserves in Makum – namely Tikak, Namdang, Tipong, Tirap, Baragolai and Ledo
Improving the shipping route and services in the region
Keeping in mind their objectives to reach the above mentioned mission statements the Assam Railways and Trading Company started the construction of the Dibru-Sadiya Railway and it was on the 15th of August, 1882 that the rail route was opened from the Dibrugarh Port to Dinjan. The construction continued and on 23rd December 1882, the rail route was opened ’til Chabua. The route for the passenger train from the Makum junction was opened to public on the 16th of July, 1883.
The memoirs of the Dibru-Sadiya Railway are well preserved at the Railway Heritage Park and Museum at Tinsukia where one can also view Steam Locomotives that built the success story of one the World’s largest Railway Organization – the Indian Railways!
Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to witness the History of the Dibru-Sadiya Railway and its memories at the Heritage Railway Park and Museum, Tinsukia, the State of Assam, Incredible India!
Jungleideas welcomes you to the Tour of Reliving the Grandeur of the British Raj in Assam. The British had come to Assam in the early 1800’s much before the State had gone under the British rule. They had come to seek for alternates to the Tea of China when their Tea trade with China had run into rough weather. It was here in Assam that they discovered the “Camellia Asamica” (better renowned today as the Assam CTC Tea) and in 1839 the Assam Company was incorporated that started producing and exporting the famous Assam Tea).
Gradually, the knowledge of the bountiful lands of Assam reached the ears of the other powerful men of the ‘British Raj’ who visited this land in search of opportunities to explore other availability of natural resources. It was during the visit of Mr. John Berry White, a civil surgeon, who found out the possibility of coal in Assam. Under his able guidance the Makum Coalfield was discovered and coal mines were opened at Tikak (1884), Namdang (1896), Tirap (1904), Baragolai (1909), Tipong (1924) and Namdang Dip Mine (1904). These expeditions also lead to the discovery of Oil when the first Oil well was dug at Digboi on October 19th 1889 resulting in the establishment of Asia’s oldest Oil Refinery at Digboi. Timber requirements were harnessed from the abundant forests at the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary. Tea exports needed plywood boxes that led to the establishment of Asia’s first Plywood Factory at Margherita. ‘Til this time it was only the British who came here. It was only during the Second World War than Americans came to Assam to setup one of the toughest challenges to beat the Japanese – ‘Building the famous Stilwell Road across the Pangsau Pass (Hell Pass)’. Under the able guidance of General Vinegar Joe Stilwell the Stilwell Road was constructed and it helped in restoring the Allies contact with the Chinese troops that proved as a major step in crushing the Imperial Japanese Army. Traces of American establishment can be found here at the Military Hospital at Margherita.
During your tour to Upper Assam:
Enjoy your stay at the heritage Tea Bungalow at Tinsukia/Dibrugarh
Visit the Railway Museum at Tinsukia that showcases the establishment of Dibru Sadiya Railway by the British
Experience the Grandeur of the Longest Bridge in India ~ the ‘Dhola Sadiya’ Bridge
Visit the Oil Refinery and observe History of Oil at Digboi Museum
Visit the Coal Mines at Tirap Colliery and Tipong Colliery
Tread along the Stilwell Road
Visit the Historic Ledo Airstrip and the Lekhapani Railway Station
Witness and Indulge in Tea plucking with Tea Garden Tribes at Ledo
Visit India’s only Coal Museum at Margherita
Spot the centenary old Steam Locomotives by W G Bagnall at Margherita and Tipong
Enjoy Ecotourism at its best with the Singpho Tribes of Assam
Be a part of the Tour of Reliving the Grandeur of the British Raj powered by Jungleideas
In this tour you will also visit one the best bio diversity spots of India – The National Park of Dibru-Saikhowa that is known for its population of White winged wood duck in its natural habitat and also for its bright colored Wild Horses known as Feral Horses. Some rare and endangered animals of this sanctuary are Hoolock Gibbon, Capped Langur, Slow loris, Water Buffalo, Tiger, Elephant, Gangetic river dolphin, etc.
Tour Itinerary ~
Day 1: Arrive at Dibrugarh Airport. On arrival you will be received by our representative at the airport offering a warm welcome in traditional Assamese style. From the Airport drive to Tinsukia. Check into the Tea Garden Bungalow. In the late afternoon we will visit the Borajan Wildlife Sanctuary at Tinsukia. In the Evening we will visit the Heritage Railway Museum at Tinsukia. Night stay at the Heritage Tea Garden Bungalow.
Day 2: Early morning we will take a tour of the National Park of Dibru Saikhowa aboard a River Cruise. Breakfast/Lunch will be served aboard the River Cruise. After the River Cruise we will visit the ‘Napukhuri’ Pond at Tinsukia that was dug in 1791 and is a popular tourist attraction here. Night stay at a Comfortable Hotel.
Day 3: After breakfast depart to Roing in Arunachal Pradesh. On our journey we will travel over the Longest Bridge in India ~ the ‘Dhola Sadiya’ Bridge on the mighty Brahmaputra River. Check into Tourist Lodge/Eco Cottages at Roing. Evening visit the local market at Roing. Night halt at Tourist Lodge/Eco Cottages at Roing.
Day 4: Early morning we will depart to Mayodia Pass. At an altitude of above 3000 feet Mayodia Pass is one of the toughest motorable roads in North East India. Admire the breath taking beauty of the snow capped mountains at Mayodia and later depart to the Legendary oil town of Digboi. Night stay at a comfortable Guest House.
Day 5: After breakfast we will proceed to see the World War II cemetery at Digboi that has around 200 burials of British Soldiers who laid down their lives during line of duty at the World War II. Later we will depart to the Digboi Museum that will give you an elaborate display of the Oil history of Assam during the British Regime. After lunch we will visit the Digboi Park from where you will get an Excellent view of the Digboi refinery. Evening we will go to Margherita. Night halt at a comfortable Hotel/Guest House and evening Bon fire will be arranged.
Day 6: After breakfast depart to the Faneng Village in Lekhapani to witness the rich culture and traditions of the Tai Phake Tribes of Assam. On our way we will visit the Historic Lekhapani Railway Station. Spend time with the local tribal people and understand their way of living. Our journey will continue to the border of Arunachal Pradesh where we will visit the World War II cemetery at Jairampur. Enjoy traditional Singpho lunch at the Singpho Restaurant in Jagun. On our way back to Margherita we will visit Tipong Colliery and get a glimpse of the Oldest Operational Steam Locomotives in the World here. Visit the Sumi Naga Village at Tipong. Night halt at the Hotel.
Day 7: After Breakfast we will visit the Tirap Colliery to experience open cast coal mining. Later we will visit the International Meditation Center at the Mounglang Buddhist monestary and also visit the Historic Ledo Airstrip. Afternoon lunch will be served at the Singpho Villa Restaurant. In the afternoon we will visit India’s only Coal Museum at Margherita. This museum has many historical artifacts from the Second World War. Visi the remains of the 20th General Hospital at Margherita which was built by the American Army during World War II and was rated as a Class A Hospital of the American Army. Night halt at the Singpho Eco Lodge at Margherita.
Day 8: In the morning we will visit the nearby Singpho village where you will get to experience traditional Singpho life and see the ladies weaving exclusive Singpho handlooms. Enjoy your first hand experience at Tea plucking with the Tea garden tribes of Assam. Later we will visit the remains of the Namdang Colliery at Namdang. Seek blessings at the Muslim Shrine of the Namdang Bibi Majhar. Enjoy your drive along the beautiful roads along the well kept Tea gardens. Drive to Changlang and witness the beauty of Landscape where the clouds kiss the mountains. Late afternoon we will visit the Asia’s first plywood factory at Margherita. Night Halt at the Singpho Eco Lodge.
Day 9: Early morning visit the Buddhist Monastery near the Eco Lodge. After breakfast you will depart to the Dibrugarh Airport for your onward destination. Trip Ends. Bid Adieu.
Image Gallery ~
The Historic Stilwell Road that marked the Allied forces march to victory over the Japanese
The 796 Steam Locomotive at Tipong Colliery in Assam
The John Steam Locomotive by W G Bagnall Stafford at India’s only coal museum at Margherita
The Shelly Steam locomotove by WG Bagnall of Stafford on display at India’s Coal Museum at Margherita
The Digboi Second World War Cemetery has been built and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The neatly arranged graves of the soldiers at the Green Digboi War Cemetery
The Air Shelter of the Second World War at the Digboi Oil Museum
Tools used in Oil drilling on Display at the Centenary Oil museum at Digboi
The Discover Oil Well No. 1 from where oil was first commercially drilled at Digboi in October 1889
The Front View of the Tilinga Mandir at Bordubi in Tinsukia
The Colonial Bungalows of the British Era at Tipong Colliery
The famous David Steam Locomotive at Tipong Colliery in Assam
The Historic Lekhapani Railway Station on the Stilwell Road at Lekhapani Army Cantonment in Assam
The Namdang Tea Estate is one of the oldest Tea Estates of Assam located in the proximity of the Namdang Underground coal mines of Assam
The Margherita Tea Estate factory is located at Margherita and is under the flagship of McLeod Russel India Limited
RUCKLE Machinery at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam
The Centenary year celebration of the AR and T Company at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam
The Underground Coal Mining Setup at India’s only Coal Museum at Margherita
Entrance of the Namdang Coal Mine as on 1948
Open cast mining at the present day at Tirap Colliery near Margherita
Open Cast Mining by Volvo Earth Movers at Tirap Opencast Colliery
The Historic Ledo Airstrip that was used as a landing ground for Aircrafts of the Western Allies
Welcome to the Legendary Oil Town of Assam at Digboi
The Entrance to the International Meditation Center at the Mounglang Khamti Buddhist Monestary at Monglang near Ledo in Assam
The Pangsau Pass or the Hell’s Pass and Indo Mynamar Border
The North East Coal fields is one of the primary industry at Margherita and its surrounding areas
Asia’s oldest Refinery – the Digboi refinery that has the oldest operational oil well in the World. Source: wowindia
View of the Landscape from the Tai Phake Ecotourism Camp
A quaint town located amidst the green hills and the lush tea gardens in the extreme north-eastern corner of the country speaks of a legendary history which in due time has lost its grandeur. In our quest to relive these moments of the past, Jungleideas narrates to you this story of the Assam Railways & Trading Company (AR&T Company) and Asia’s oldest Plywood Factory ‘The AR&T Plywood Industries’ at Margherita, the State of Assam, Incredible India!
The AR&T company was established on 30th July 1881, with a prime focus on harnessing the undiscovered potentials of natural and mineral resources in the blessed lands of Assam. The credited of establishing this company goes to two prominent people of the erstwhile ‘British Raj’ in India – Dr. John Berry White and Mr. Benjamin Piercy. Dr. John Berry White, a Civil Surgeon, played a very significant role in the early development of the Assam’s mineral resources including the opening of the Makum Coalfields. Mr. Benjamin Piercy, on the other hand was a Civil Engineer from Britain who had to his credit, the establishment of major lengths of Railway Connectivity across the British Empire.
The contribution of the Ar&T company to the initial development of the Indian industries had been immense which had begun by the establishment of the pioneer Tea and Steamer companies in India. It was the first company to establish a full fledged railway route across the State of Assam in the form of the Dibru Sadiya Railway. The coal mines and collieries were later established in Assam in 1884-85. At the same time, five steamers and sixteen flats were brought into service on the rivers. Oil was struck in 1889 and ten years years later the Assam Oil Company was formed. Sawmills were established at Margherita and the Brickworks at Ledo. The Makum (Assam) Tea Company came into being in 1892 and the Namdang Tea Company in 1916, to which, a few years later, was added the Bogapani Tea Estate. This was all achieved under the able founders of the AR&T Company and their able guidance. But it was in 1924, that the Company built the Margherita Plywood Factory for the manufacture of three-ply chests that made the AR&T Company one of the pioneers of this industry in India!
During the establishment of these industries across the Makum district of Assam a pressing need of quality timber was aroused. Timber also became a prime necessity in the planning of rail routes and building of the Margherita and Doom Doomba bridges. Then again there was also a sufficient need in the coal mines. This demand of Timber led to the establishment of the first Sawmill on the south bank of the Dehing River near Margherita Station, conveniently placed for the Margherita Bridge and the collieries which for sonic years continued to absorb a major part of the output. Public demand at that time was limited mainly to tea box shook made of simul.
Although the art of veneering was practiced from early times, it was not mull the introduction of rotary cutting of veneers that the commercial possibilities of plywood were apparent. Weight for weight, plywood resists the strains of ordinary use to a much greater extent than solid boards. It keeps its size and shape better and is less liable to saturation. For these reasons, it has been widely adopted for use where lightness and strength are required, as in packing cases and especially tea chests. ‘Til this time, tea was packed in boxes of swan timber, known in the trade as shook and each box weighed nearly twice the modern three-ply chest.
This new discovery prompted the Directors of the Company to set up the Plywood factory at Margherita and the necessary machinery was ordered in 1922. Production began in 1924, and plywood boxes marketed under the name “Margherita” achieved a great success. Production continued and gradually lead to a total output of approximately five million square feet a year in the recent years ’til the modern day timber felling norms led to an complete halt of the production in 1996.
Although closing onto almost a hundred years since its inception this plywood factory still has machinery and equipment from Germany and Italy that are operational ’til today.
Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to witness the History of the Assam Railways and Trading Company (AR and T Company) and Asia’s oldest Plywood Factory ‘The AR and T Plywood Industries’ at Margherita, the State of Assam, Incredible India!