Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita

The Soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army & Memoirs of the World War II – the Guwahati War Cemetery, Guwahati, the State of Assam, Incredible India!

The period of 1939 to 1945 was one of the darkest moments in the history of mankind. It was during this period the world witnessed the Second World War – a state of ‘total war’ where the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. This war brought down the major super powers of the period into ashes. Japan was rocked with the mighty nuclear explosion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and it was after the Second World War that the world realized the might of the Americans!

The World War II might have brought down the will of the Germans and Japanese to be the might of the World but it to be mentioned that all wars lead to destruction of devastating proportion. The World War II too led to the same fate and millions of people were killed around the world that included the soldiers of the Army who laid down their lives to bring peace to the World. The bodies of these brave soldiers were laid to rest across various cemeteries through the World and one of such is the Guwahati War Cemetery that was built and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Located in the heart of the largest city of Assam ~ Guwahati, this cemetery has about 500 burials mostly of British soldiers who laid their lives during World War II.

To give a brief history of the Guwahati War Cemetery, it was started during the World War II, for burials from several military hospitals in the region. Soldiers and workers who couldn’t make it after fighting the enemy and building the epic Stilwell road were laid to rest here. Later, other graves were brought in by the Army Graves service from military cemeteries in Sylhet and Amari Bari and civil cemeteries in Nagaon, Mohachara and Guwahati for permanent maintenance. Some graves were later also brought from isolated sites in present-day Mizoram, Coochbehar, Darjeeling, Shillong, Dibrugarh, Lumding, Dinjan, Dhubri etc.

Today, the Guwahati cemetery has 521 graves, which includes:

  • 316 known and 18 unknown graves of soldiers from the United Kingdom
  • 136 known and seven unknown Indian soldiers
  • 4 from Canada
  • 4 from South Africa
  • 1 from New Zealand
  • 2 graves of soldiers whose nationality is unknown
  • 24 graves of Chinese Army soldiers
  • Among the 9 world war cemeteries in India, Guwahati is the only cemetery which has graves of Japanese soldiers (11 of them). The graves were rested peacefully in the cemetery until the Japanese government decided to dig up the graves (on 19th January 2012) and fly them back to Japan so as to give them a formal burial in their native country.

The 11 soldiers of Japanese forces who died in World War II were Lance Corporal Miyata Kotsuo (died on September 13, 1944) and 10 soldiers — Komatsutomoshige (September 8, 1944), Morata Doshu ( September 10, 1944), Yamado Kesakti (September 5, 1944), Okamoto (January 8, 1945), Kito Zawo (September 2, 1944), Ikdmiraisao ( September 2, 1944), Shotasaburo (August 31, 1944), Ishiwara Hiroja (no date mentioned), Urata Yotaka (August 8, 1944) and Hachivetsuyoshi (November 25, 1944).

And truly mentioned in one of the quotes of the cemetery –

‘These graves bear silent testimony to those soldiers, unlisted workers and laborers who ventured into Virgin jungle amid blistering heat and laid down their lives in the line of duty during the Second World War. Whilst part of all forces against the Imperial Japanese Army. THEIR NAME LIVETH FOREVER MORE

Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to Witness History and Relive the Memoirs of the World War II – the Guwahati War Cemetery, Guwahati, the State of Assam, Incredible India!

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com 

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
The Guwahati War Cemetery in Assam

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
The Guwahati War Cemetery of World War II ~ 1939 – 1945

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
An Airman’s burial at the Guwahati War Cemetery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
The Guwahati War Cemtery in Assam

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
Neatly aligned burials of the Soldiers at the Guwahati War Cemtery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
Neatly placed burials of soldiers at the Guwahati War Cemetery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
The Guwahati War Cemetery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
May their brave souls Rest in Peace ~ the Guwahati War Cemetery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
Burials of British Soldiers at the Guwahati War Cemetery Assam

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
Burial at the Guwahati War Cemetery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
Burials of Brave Soldiers of the World War II at the Guwahati War Cemetery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
The Guwahati War Cemetery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
The Graves of the Brave Soldiers at the Guwahati War Cemetery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
The Guwahati War Cemetery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery Assam, World War II North East India, Digboi War Cemetery Assam, The Stiwell Road Assam, Lake of No Return, Ledo Air Strip, Burma Campaign, General Hospital Margherita
The Guwahati War Cemetery is built and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

Guwahati War Cemetery 15.jpg
Burials at the Guwahati War Cemetery

To plan your visit to the Guwahati War Cemetery visit: www.jungleideas.com

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Stilwell Road Second World War, Coal Mining in Margherita, Assam Tourism, World War II cemeteries, World War Hospitals India

World War II, Stilwell Road, Margherita and the American Connection – the 20th General Hospital, Margherita, the State of Assam, Incredible India!

The period of 1939 to 1945 was one of the darkest moments in the history of mankind. It was during this period the world witnessed the Second World War – a state of ‘total war’ where the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. This war brought down the major super powers of the period into ashes. Japan was rocked with the mighty nuclear explosion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and it was after the Second World War that the world realized the might of the Americans!

On our journey to bring forth to the World the lost history of the State of Assam and it’s connection with the World during the World War II, we reached the banks of the River Dehing at the tinsel town of Margherita in the north eastern region of India. Our curiosity and interest this time was to find the remains of the 20th General Hospital that was built during the World War II  to treat the sick and wounded American soldiers who were on the mission to built one of the most challenging roads across the dense jungles of the Dehing Patkai – the Stilwell (Ledo) Road. The Stilwell Road was built in 1942 under the able guidance of Major General Vinegar Joe Stilwell of the U S Army and its purpose was to restore communication with China after the Imperial Japanese Army had cut supply across the Burma Road. At the time of the War, the engineers of the American army were desperately cutting this new route also called the Ledo Road across the Patkai Mountains for the supply of armed troops, military supplies and food. They had to fight the Japanese resistance as well as bulldoze their way across the dense jungles of the Patkai Mountain Range. Injuries and Casulaities were common and the wounded were brought back to Margherita where they were treated at the 20th General Hospital. The hospital also cared for Chinese soldiers who were serving as screen when the road was pushed forward.

The 20th General Hospital was formed in 1940 when the Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) was asked by the Surgeon General of the United States to organize an Army hospital unit to care for the Allied wounded in the Burma-India theater. But, the unit did not receive orders to leave for Camp Clairbone, Louisiana, until May 15, 1942. It was in March 1943 that the team of qualified doctors and nurses reached Margherita.

When the staff members of the 20th General first arrived in Margherita, there were only three small buildings with concrete floors, tin roofs and open fronts, as well as a group of bamboo huts with dirt floors and lights showing through thatched roofs. But, when the hospital was finally built fully several months later, it had transformed into a first-rate 2500-bed hospital, with 148 buildings covering one and half square miles. It became the largest hospital in the China-India-Burma theater. It also received a rating of “Superior” – the highest possible in annual general inspections.

Approximately 110 nurses and 600 enlisted men comprised this University of Pennsylvania’s hospital unit. Colonel Elias Cooley, a regular Army officer and a graduate of Philadelphia’s Jefferson Medical College, was in command. Lieutenant Colonel Isidor Ravdin, Professor of Surgery at Penn and an authority on the use of blood plasma and sulfa drugs, was the head of the surgical service. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Fitz-Hugh Jr., Clinical Professor of Medicine at Penn, headed the Medical Service. Most of the medic personnel were drawn from Penn faculty, and many of its nurses came from the Philadelphia General, Penn, Presbyterian, Episcopal and Bryn Mawr hospitals.

It was difficult for the Americans to acclimatize and perform well in a region with 120 inches of rainfall per year, humid summers and cold winters. However, with little paraphernalia and with none of the personal comforts to which they are accustomed, they were able to establish a complete hospital unit which contributed not only to the health of the Allied soldiers, but also to advancement of medical science. Beginning with a few shacks, they ended with a fully equipped modern hospital, provided with laboratories, x-ray and blood storage facilities and all other necessities of medical and surgical practice. It was filled almost from the beginning beyond its rated capacity of 1000 beds. At one time, it actually sheltered 2560 patients. During the entire period of activity, it received altogether 73,000 patients, with only a few more than 300 deaths form all cases.

Since the staff at the hospital had strong academic backgrounds, the hospital became a center for weekly professional conferences attended by American, British and Indian officers from other medical installations. Some 100 important medical papers and scientific reports were produced by the 20th General Hospital, including those on scrub typhus and ophthalmology.

The 20th General Hospital was cited by many for its outstanding work. These include Lord Louis Mountbatten, General Vinegar Joe Stillwell, the Commanding Generals of the 1st and the 6th Chinese Armies, etc. The hospital won praise and personal gratitude from Lord Louis Mountbatten. Mountbatten had suffered a painful and serious injury when a low-hanging section of dead bamboo struck him in the eye, causing a hemorrhage, as he drove a jeep along a jungle trail in the North Burma front. He was flown into the hospital where Dr. (Major) Harold Scheie performed delicate treatment to save his sight. Mountbatten lay flat on his back with his eyes bandaged for five days. Afterwards, Scheie accompanied the commander to Delhi and looked after ehe injured eye during the convalescent period. Mountbatten and Dr. Scheie (who died on March 5, 1990) became life long friends. It was Mountbatten who, in August 1972, dedicated the Scheie Eye Institute in Philadephia.

General Raymond Kelser of the Army Veterinary Corps reported to the US Surgeon General Norman Kirk that “the 20th General Hospital would be outstanding anywhere in the world and is the equal of university hospitals”.

As fighting receded from the Assam-Burma region, the Army began to withdraw officers and men needed in other fronts. The hospital closed its medical services in December, 1945, and was decommissioned on December 27.

Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to witness the memoirs of the World War II, Stilwell Road, Margherita and the American Connection – the 20th General Hospital, Margherita, the State of Assam, Incredible India!

Reference: ‘The Philadelphia – Margherita Connection’ – Mr. Jugal Kalita 

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road Second World War, Coal Mining in Margherita, Assam Tourism, World War II cemeteries, World War Hospitals India

General Vinegar Joe Stilwell who commanded the army of soldiers who built the Impossible – the Stilwell Road across Dehing Patkai

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road Second World War, Coal Mining in Margherita, Assam Tourism, World War II cemeteries, World War Hospitals India
The Entrance to the Grand 20th General Hospital at Margherita during World War II. Image Source: researchgate.net

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road Second World War, Coal Mining in Margherita, Assam Tourism, World War II cemeteries, World War Hospitals India
The Nurse Quarters of the 20th General Hospital at Margherita during the World War II. Image Source: cbi-theater.com

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road Second World War, Coal Mining in Margherita, Assam Tourism, World War II cemeteries, World War Hospitals India
The Remains of the 20th General Hospital of the World War II at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road Second World War, Coal Mining in Margherita, Assam Tourism, World War II cemeteries, World War Hospitals India
The Remains of the 20th General Hospital of the World War II at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road Second World War, Coal Mining in Margherita, Assam Tourism, World War II cemeteries, World War Hospitals India
The Remains of the 20th General Hospital of the World War II at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road Second World War, Coal Mining in Margherita, Assam Tourism, World War II cemeteries, World War Hospitals India
The Remains of the 20th General Hospital of the World War II at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road Second World War, Coal Mining in Margherita, Assam Tourism, World War II cemeteries, World War Hospitals India
The Remains of the 20th General Hospital of the World War II at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Lake of No Return, India's Bermuda Triangle, India Burma Border, Pangsau Pass Festival, Stilwell Road India
The historic Stilwell Road built during World War II by the American Army under the able guidance of General Vinegar Joe Stilwell

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Lake of No Return, India's Bermuda Triangle, India Burma Border, Pangsau Pass Festival, Stilwell Road India
The Pansau pass at the border of India and the Republic of the Union of Mynamar

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

 

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India

The History 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!

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!

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
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

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
The Administrative Office of the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
BARN and Co. Limited Tank manufactured in 1922 at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Splicing Machinery of the Ruckle Company at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Beckner and Van Hullen machinery at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Cremone Peeler by CREMONA of Italy at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Cremona Peeling Equipment by CREMO Italy at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
CREMONA Machinery at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
CREMONA Slicer at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
RUCKLE Machinery at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Remains of the Shed at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Plywood Machinery at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Machinery at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Wood Preservation Plant at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Remains of the Shed at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Remains of the Shed at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
Remains of the Shed at the Asia’s Oldest Plywood Factory of the AR and T Company at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Plywood factory Asia History, Tipong Coal Mining, Tirap Coal Mining, The Historic Stilwell Road, Digboi Oil Industry Assam, Makum Coal Fields, Coal Museum India
The AR and T Company’s School established in 1938 at Margherita in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your visit: Memoirs of the World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India

The History of Coal Mining at Makum Coalfields, Margherita, the State of Assam, Incredible India!

The history of coal mining in the region of Assam dates back to the later part of the 19th century by the erstwhile Assam Railway and Trading Company (AR&T). A Civil Surgeon, Dr. John Barry White, while founding the Assam Railway and Trading Company played a very significant role in the early development of Assam’s mineral resources including the opening of the Makum Coalfields. Mr. George Turner, a mining engineer from South Staffordshire, also played an important role to transform the jungles and coal outcrops in the area into prosperous collieries in a few years time. Skilled practical miners were first brought from abroad to train Indian Workmen in the “South Staffordshire” method of wining thick coal seams.

The first mining of coal was started in 1882 at Ledo by Railway’s Engineers, when the erstwhile AR&T Company was laying its own Meter Gauge line. In order to increase the output of coal, the following collieries were started: at Tikak (1884), Namdang (1896), Tirap (1904), Baragolai (1909), Tipong (1924) and Namdang Dip (1904). The establishment of these mines were of great importance to the Tea Industry of Assam which hitherto was dependent upon wood fuel. Some indication of the nature of the Makum Coalfields are interpreted in the words of George Turner in 1895:

“Coal has been proved in these hills over the whole length of the Company’s area, and as coal of very nearly similar description is found in the hills twenty miles eastward and thirty miles westward, there can be no doubt of the existence of a large coalfield. The coal in the hills is found at various heights from Zero in the plains lip to 1000 feet above them. The hills conform in longitudinal direction with the strike of the rocks, although they do not form a continuous ridge, being cut through several streams. The coal has a high dip towards the hills, the average being about 1 in 3, but sometimes it is as high as 1 in 2”

All these erstwhile company mines were Nationalized on 1st May, 1973 and vested with the Central Government of India. At present, the entire coal production of North Eastern coalfields comes from Makum coalfield of Margherita Area, comprising of six mine of which Tipong, Ledo/Lachit Khani and Baragolai are underground mines (temporarily suspended due to DGMS violations) and Tirap, Ledo and Tikak are opencast mines. Both productivity and safety in these mines had improved significantly after nationalization.

Coal mining in Assam in extremely difficult. The area represents a typically folded and faulted mountain belt of Tertiary strata bounded by thrusts. the problem frequently encountered are steep inclination of coal seams, complex seam structure like inter-banding, irregular with thickness variations. The seams are highly gassy,susceptibility to spontaneous combustion, friable coal and poor roof and floor conditions.. The Chief Inspector of mines, in his annual report of 1929 referred to these coalfields as being “where the worst natural conditions of all the coal mines in India have to be faced.”

Certain methods of Underground Coal Mining in Makum Coalfields:

  • Bhaska Method: Blocks of inclined and thick coal seams are developed on Board and Pillar System. The junction of a level gallery and a dip-rise gallery is then widened and heightened by drilling and blasting to form a dome shaped void which is self supported. The dome is kept on widening and heightening till the roof coal starts caving down automatically. As in this method the recovery is low it is no longer practiced.
  • Tipong Method: Very similar to the Bhaska method of mining in the Tipong Method, between two sub levels, a funnel is made in coal along the dip-rise gallery which is kept unsupported. Then a slot is cut from Hanging Wall to Foot Wall along the dip-rise direction with a limited width to provide a free face. Towards outbye of the slot, rings of drill-holes are made and blasted to make the broken coal flow onto the funnel.
  • Descending Shield Method: A Coordinated effort with engineers of erstwhile USSR, this method was introduced in 1983-84. A Shield of timber beams, reinforced with Steel, is made and placed horizontally from Hanging Wall to Foot Wall and coal is blasted below the same to make it flow downward. The Shield descends downward making a canopy above the work-persons face. This practice has been discontinued now.
  • Flexible roofing method: Here, in place of a shield, artificial roofing is made out of MS-strips and wire netting which is hinged at the Hanging Wall at the top of the panel. Blasting and loading is done below artificial roofing. Roof rocks cave down over the artificial roofing and do not get mixed with the blasted coal. Likewise, the whole block is de-coaled below the artificial roofing.

The History of Coal Mining in Assam is put up on an elaborate display at India’s only Coal Museum at Margherita where visitors get to experience the thrill of underground coal mining. Also put up on display are Steam Locomotives built by W G Bagnall of Stafford in the late 1800’s. Operational Steam locomotives of the likes of ‘796’ and ‘DAVID’ are to be found at Tipong Colliery. The Open cast mining experience can be enjoyed at Tirap Colliery that practices the traditional Shovel-Dumper style Open-cast Coal Mining and is a located a little while away from Margherita.

Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to witness the History of Coal Mining at Makum Coalfields, Margherita, the State of Assam, Incredible India!

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
Entrance of the Namdang Coal Mine as on 1948

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
The Setup of an Underground mine at India’s only coal Museum at Margherita

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
The Underground Coal Mining Setup at India’s only Coal Museum at Margherita

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
The Underground Coal Mining Setup at India’s only Coal Museum at Margherita

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
Namdang Opencast Quarry as in 1901

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
Rare Pictures of Tirap Bridge and the Stilwell Road of World War II at Ledo

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
Dr John Barry White was the pioneering of Coal and Oil industry of Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
Coal Miners operate at underground depths of Upto 3 kilometers in length to extract coal from the depth of coal mines

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
The John Steam locomotove by WG Bagnall of Stafford on display at India’s Coal Museum at Margherita

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
The Hassang Steam locomotove by WG Bagnall of Stafford on display at India’s Coal Museum at Margherita

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
The Shelly Steam locomotove by WG Bagnall of Stafford on display at India’s Coal Museum at Margherita

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
Open Cast Mining by Volvo Earth Movers at Tirap Opencast Colliery

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
Open cast mining at the present day at Tirap Colliery near Margherita

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
Open Cast Mining by Volvo Earth Movers at Tirap Opencast Colliery

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
The Operational Steam Locomotives at Tipong Underground Mining Colliery

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
The Operational Steam Locomotives at Tipong Underground Mining Colliery

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India

Map of Coal Deposits across the Sates of North East India in Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal and Nagaland

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Coal Mining, Tipong Colliery steam locomotives, Singpho Eco Lodge Margherita, Ecotourism Homestay in Assam, Tribes and Festivals of Assam and North East India
Map of Coal Mines of Tipong, Tikak, Namdang, Ledo and Makum Coalfields

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Eco tourism homestay and Cottages, Ecotourism in North East India, Tour of Tribes in North East India, Tribes and Festivals of Assam

Memoirs of the World War II – the Historic Stilwell Road, the Ledo Airstrip, the Lekhapani Railway Station and the Digboi Cemetery, the State of Assam, Incredible India!

The period of 1939 to 1945 was one of the darkest moments in the history of mankind. It was during this period the world witnessed the Second World War – a state of “total war” where the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. This war brought down the major super powers of the period into ashes. Japan was rocked with the mighty nuclear explosion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and it was after the Second World War that the world realized the might of the Americans!

Though many movies have narrated the incidents of the Second World War and grossed millions at the Box office and many historic sites of the War have turned into places of tourist interest earning revenue to the locals, one such historic location has failed to draw the attention of the world over and thereby gradually lost its grandeur to the passing time. Our teams visit to this land narrated in this writing will try and recreate the moments of the history that this historic place has been witness to.

The British had realized the Economic potentials of the upper Brahmaputra Valley of Assam. When Assam first came under the British rule, it possessed four great assets, land, rivers, forests and minerals, all awaiting development. The British ensured that various skills were imported into Assam to harness the natural resources of the State and they brought in skills like tea making from China and others from Britain. In 1834, the Governor General set up a committee to explore the possibility of tea growing in India. It was found that the tea plant was indigenous to Assam, a discovery followed by the importation of tea makers from China, leading, eventually to the great Tea industry of Assam. This marked the beginning of the rapid industrialization of the State. The British were successful in discovering crude oil and vast coal reserves in Assam that prompted them to establish the Asia’s first oil refinery at Digboi in Assam and introduce underground coal mining at Namdang. The timber reserves added to the national treasury and one of Asia’s oldest Plywood manufacturing facility was set up at Margherita. Although the river route provided an efficient means of transportation, the British laid the tracks for an extensive rain route to run across Assam to enable quick transportation of these Natural resources that had value equivalent to Gold during the time of rapid industrialization.

Apart from these vast natural reserves, the British in collaboration with the Allied Forces realized the boon of the Upper Brahmaputra valley during the World War II during the Japanese blockade of the Burma Road that prompted the Western Allies to build the ‘Stilwell Road’ aka the ‘Ledo Road’ so that they could supply the Chinese as an alternative to the Burma Road. Built under the able guidance of American General Vinegar Joe Stilwell with an army of 15,000 American Soldiers and 35,000 locals, this road having a stretch of over 1079 miles (from Ledo in India to Kunming in China) was completed within 2 years under the most treacherous conditions and this is what makes this road “an Epitome of an American Engineering Marvel”. Although, there was a flip side to this feat as more than 1100 American soldiers and many more locals had to lose their lives in the construction of the Western Allies march to crush the Japanese.

The Historic Lekhapani Railway Station marks the beginning of the Stilwell Road in India which is also the eastern most Railway Station in India. The Lekhapani Railway Station played a pivotal road during the movement of the Allied Armed forces during the Japanese blockade in the World War II.

Also during the World War II the state of Assam, in India’s Eastern Command, was an operational area of the Burma Campaign. Ledo, was on the lines of communication, and a military hospital was established here. Ledo airstrip was an important 2nd World War operational theatre and took an important role to aid the alliance forces in China. The runway is still visible and in good condition.

The World War II might have brought down the will of the Germans and Japanese to be the might of the World but it to be mentioned that all wars lead to destruction of devastating proportion. The World War II too led to the same fate and millions of people were killed around the world that included the soldiers of the Army who laid down their lives to bring peace to the World. The bodies of these brave soldiers were laid to rest across various cemeteries through the World and one of such is the Digboi War Cemetery that was built and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Located very near to the ‘Legendary Oil town of Assam’ – Digboi, this cemetery has about 200 burials mostly of British soldiers who laid their lives during World War II. And truly mentioned in one of the quotes of the cemetery – ‘These graves bear silent testimony to those soldiers, unlisted workers and labourers who ventured into Virgin jungle amid blistering heat and laid down their lives in the line of duty during the Second World War. Whilst part of all forces against the Imperial Japanese Army. THEIR NAME LIVETH FOREVER MORE

Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to Witness History and Relive the Memoirs of the World War II – the Historic Stilwell Road, the Ledo Airstrip, the Lekhapani Railway Station and the Digboi Cemetery, the State of Assam, Incredible India!

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Historic Stilwell Road from Ledo (India) to Kunming (China)

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

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The Stilwell Road today at Lekhapani

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

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The Historic Ledo Airstrip that was used as a landing ground for Aircrafts of the Western Allies

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Eco tourism homestay and Cottages, Ecotourism in North East India, Tour of Tribes in North East India, Tribes and Festivals of Assam
The World War II cemetery at Digboi. Image Courtesy: Anil Paudel

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Pangsau Pass or the Hell’s Pass and Indo Mynamar Border

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Mysterious Lake of No Return at Myanmar as viewed from the Pangsau pass

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

digboi
Welcome to the Legendary Oil Town of Assam at Digboi

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Eco tourism homestay and Cottages, Ecotourism in North East India, Tour of Tribes in North East India, Tribes and Festivals of Assam
Asia’s oldest Refinery – the Digboi refinery that has the oldest operational oil well in the World. Source: wowindia

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Eco tourism homestay and Cottages, Ecotourism in North East India, Tour of Tribes in North East India, Tribes and Festivals of Assam
The North East Coal fields is one of the primary industry at Margherita and its surrounding areas

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Eco tourism homestay and Cottages, Ecotourism in North East India, Tour of Tribes in North East India, Tribes and Festivals of Assam
Welcome to the Coal Queen of Assam – Margherita

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Assam Eco tourism homestay and Cottages, Ecotourism in North East India, Tour of Tribes in North East India, Tribes and Festivals of Assam
The Beautiful Namdang tea town near Margherita

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Lake of No Return, India's Bermuda Triangle, India Burma Border, Pangsau Pass Festival, Stilwell Road India
The Jairampur War Cemetery that has burials of Chinese Soldiers who laid down their lives during the Burma Campaign of World War II

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road Second World War, Coal Mining in Margherita, Assam Tourism, World War II cemeteries, World War Hospitals India
The Entrance to the Grand 20th General Hospital at Margherita during World War II. Image Source: researchgate.net

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India

The History of the ‘Dehing Patkai’ and the Lake of No Return, the State of Assam and the Indo-Burma Border, Incredible India!

The Dehing is one of the large southern feeders of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The river originates from the junction of the Patkai and Kumaon Bum ranges at Chaukam Pass in the east at an altitude of approximately 2432 meters with snow fall having peaks nearby. The river flows down through the dense forests and hence the water is cold especially in the upper course with rocks and boulders at the bottom.

The Patkai is mountain range that forms a major part of the Indo-Myanmar border. The lowest point in the height of the mountain range is approximately 1229 meters at the Pangsao Pass. The highest point is approximately 2780 meters at the center and the mountain range has about a dozen passes.

The whole belt of the Dehing and Patkai provides a suitable geographical and environmental setting with valuable forests, rare species of animals and birds, mineral resources like oil and coal, etc., and heavy rainfall and fertile arable land suitable for agriculture. It is one of the centuries old most favoured and widely used route during migration by the various ethnic tribes and the Mighty Rulers of Assam – the Ahoms. The historically famous Stilwell Road of World War II also passes through it via the Pangsau Pass. In the area of Dehing Patkai, live a large number of ethnic tribal socio-culturally and physically akin to South East Asia besides non-tribal from different parts of the Country. Among the tribal, the important ones are the Singphos, Tangsas, Noctes, Wanchos, Khamtis, Tai Phakes, Kacharis, Sema Nagas and other non-tribal communities like the Ahoms, Mattacks, Nepalis and so on.

The name Patkai is an abbreviated form of ‘Pat-kai-chang-kan’. It was a typical religious ceremony symbolic to a war dating back to 1401 AD. The ceremony was performed at the edge of the waters of the ‘Nangayang (‘Nang’ for lake and ‘Nyang’ for exists)’ at the foot of the southern slope of the mountain, in token of a treaty of surrender and peace ensuing a war. The War was waged by the Nara King Surupha of Mogaung (in the Shan of Myanmar and now on the Stilwell Road) against the Ahom King Sudangpha alias Bamuni Konwar (1397-1407) of Tipam which was the first capital of the first Ahom King Sukapha (1228-1268).  The actual meaning of ‘Pat-kai-chang-kan’ is ‘Pat’ – to cut, ‘Kai’ – Fowl, ‘Cheng’ – oath, ‘Kan’ – taken, that is an oath was taken by cutting or sacrificing a fowl at that place. Earlier to the event the mountain was called ‘Daikaorang’ which means ‘Dai’ – mountain, ‘Kao’ – nine, ‘Rang’ – meeting together, that is a composition of nine mountains. After the war, the Naras couldn’t hold the ground and hence accepted defeat and retreated. The ‘Borgohain’ of the Nara King informed the Assam ‘Borgohain’ that they had come to Assam on wrong information that there was no King ruling the Kingdom of Assam. They, therefore, wanted to enter into a treaty of peace and friendship with the King of Assam. On receipt of orders from the respective Kings, both the parties, washed off their hands in the waters of the Nangnyang (the Lake) and then performed the ‘Pat-kai-chang-kan’.Two effigies of both the ‘Borgohains’ were also cut on a rock nearby and placed there as a symbol. The ‘Daikaorang’ was made to be the permanent boundary between the two kingdoms. This was the history how the treaty was made and ‘Daikaorang’ came to be known as PATKAI since after.

In this context it may be said that the ‘Naugnyang (the Lake)’ lies inside Myanmar just at the southern foot of the Patkai and down below the southern foot of the Patkai and down below the southern slope of the Stilwell Road at a distance of about two kilometres from the Pangsao Pass. No one appears to have attempted to visit the lake and find out the rock of historical importance since then, probably having lost sight of it, till Mr. S.E. Peal then assistant commissioner, Jaipur (beyond Naharkatia in Assam) decided to retrieve it. Mr Peal along with his team of Assamese labourers reached the location following the upstream of the River Dehing on a boat and then the Namchik River on foot. They however couldn’t locate the rock as it must have rolled down and fell deep down into the very deep swampy mud around the lake water. It was again forgotten until the adventurous American Soldiers visited it during the World War II for reconnaissance and a few of the party met with an accidental death at the Lake thus naming it as the LAKE OF NO RETURN!

Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to witness the History of the ‘Dehing Patkai’ and the Lake of No Return, the State of Assam and the Indo-Burma Border, Incredible India!

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Majestic Dehing Patkai Mountain Range in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Nao Dehing River at Deban

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Calm and Serene Dehing River

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Singpho Tribes of Dehing Patkai

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Tangsa Tribes of Dehing Patkai

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Tai Phake Tribe of Dehing Patkai

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
Tribal Homestay and Cottages in Assam near the Dehing Patkai

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Mysterious Lake of No Return at Myanmar as viewed from the Pangsau pass

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Pangsau Pass or the Hell’s Pass and Indo Mynamar Border

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Namdapha National Park and Rain forest, Assam Ecotourism and Homestay, Deban tourist lodge, Stillwell Road in Assam, Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam, Tribes of Assam and North East India
The Historic Stilwell Road from Ledo (India) to Kunming (China)

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road, Namdapha National Park, Assam Tourism, Ledo Road, World War II

Stilwell Road – Ledo (India) to Kunming (China) – the Epitome of an American Engineering Marvel !! the States of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, Incredible India!

The Stilwell Road aka the Ledo Road was built during World War II by an army of 15,000 American soldiers and 35,000 locals under the expert supervision of General Vinegar Joe Stilwell.

The road stretches from Ledo in Assam across 1079 miles to Kunming in China. The construction of this mammoth project was estimated to be around USD 150 million and the road was used by the Western Allies to supply to the Chinese when the Japanese Army had cut the Burma road. By occupying Burma, the Japanese had not only gained access to the vast resources of teak and rubber, but they had closed the Burma Road, 700 miles of dirt highway that represented China’s last overland link with the outside world. The reopening of an overland route to China would be the major American goal, indeed obsession, in the theater throughout the campaign especially after the defeat at Pearl Harbor that enabled the Imperial Japanese Army to extend their empire from Wake Island in the Pacific to Malaya and Singapore in South East Asia.

Here, the Allies would face one of the most inhospitable areas for military operations in the world. For the Americans, the theater not only covered a vast area, but it was also the end of a 12,000 mile supply line. The areas where the Allies would campaign was characterized by extremely rugged terrain with few roads and other communications, conditions which would favor the defense and reduce the Allies’ advantage in numbers. Northern and central Burma, where they would conduct the bulk of their operations, had steep, densely wooded mountain ranges cut by streams. The Allies would need to scale precipitous ranges along the border to reach one of Burma’s three great river valleys – the Chidwin, the Irrawaddy, or the Salween – in order to move south into the heart of Burma. They could also expect their advance to be slowed by monsoon, near-constant rains which would last for two to three months, anytime after April. Leeches, flies, ticks, and other insects, along with diseases as malaria, dysentery, and typhus, added to the soldier’s miseries. Keeping in mind all these the Americans resolved to go ahead with the task of constructing this mammoth project and the construction started in December 1942 across the dense terrain of the Patkai range through the Pangsau Pass aka “the Hell Pass (for the difficulty of the terrain)” into Shingbwiyang in Burma. The terrain was outrageous as it rose high upto 4,500 feet (1400m) along with steep gradients, hairpin curves and drops upto 200 feet (60 m).

Although the British Engineers had initially surveyed the route for a road (first 80 miles) the credit of building the Stilwell Road (Ledo Road) goes to General Stilwell which was under the American NAC operation. This road was to complement the airlift operations to China over the Eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains aka “the Hump”. American Engineers in late 1942 began to construct a road  meant to restore China’s land communication with the outside world. It was the Americans, more than any of the other Allies, who wanted to open the road to China, and they pushed the enterprise the hardest. Taking over the project from the British in October 1942, they began construction from Ledo in December with the goal of arriving at the Burmese city of Shingbwiyang, 103 miles from Ledo by June, 1943.

General Stilwell and his army of men completed the stretch of 1079 miles (1736 km) within 2 years under the most treacherous conditions and this is what makes this road “an Epitome of an American Engineering Marvel”. And this was done more than 70 years ago ago when the world didn’t have the expertise of today’s technology.

Although, there was a flip side to this feat as more than 1100 American soldiers and many more locals had to lose their lives in the construction of the Western Allies march to crush the Japanese.

Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to relive the memories of the Second World War at the Stilwell Road – Ledo (India) to Kunming (China) – the Epitome of an American Engineering Marvel, the States of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, Incredible India!

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Historic Stilwell Road at Ledo, Ecotourism in Assam, World War II memoirs in Ledo, Second World War Cemetery Digboi, History of Coal Mining at Makum, Tirap Colliery, Tipong Colliery Caol Mining History
General Vinegar Joe Stilwell at the Kitchen during the Construction of the Stilwell Road

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Historic Stilwell Road at Ledo, Ecotourism in Assam, World War II memoirs in Ledo, Second World War Cemetery Digboi, History of Coal Mining at Makum, Tirap Colliery, Tipong Colliery Caol Mining History
Soldiers waving Good Luck to the Troops on Trucks plying on the Stilwell Road during Second World War in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Historic Stilwell Road at Ledo, Ecotourism in Assam, World War II memoirs in Ledo, Second World War Cemetery Digboi, History of Coal Mining at Makum, Tirap Colliery, Tipong Colliery Caol Mining History
The Historic Lekhapani Railway Station on the Stilwell Road at Lekhapani Army Cantonment in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

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The Present Day Stilwell Road at Lekhapani Army Cantonment in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Stilwell Road, American Engineering Marvels, Steam Locomotives, coal museum india
General Vinegar Joe Stilwell at the War Field during World War II

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

coal museum in India, Stilwell road in Assam, Pangsau pass visit, the Lake of no return in India
Troops travelling along the Stilwell Road

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Indian Coal Mining, Ledo Road in Assam, Kunming china, the national park namdapha
Stilwell Road Board at Ledo in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

War Cemetery Digboi, Stilwell Road Ledo to China, World War II ~ the Burma Campaign Assam, World War II ~ the Burma Campaign North East India, Assam Ecotourism, Coal Mining at Makum Coalfields
The 20th General Hospital ~ One of the Grade A hospitals of the American Army built at Margherita to treat the wounded soldiers of the Burma Campaign of the World War II

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

War Cemetery Digboi, Stilwell Road Ledo to China, World War II ~ the Burma Campaign Assam, World War II ~ the Burma Campaign North East India, Assam Ecotourism, Coal Mining at Makum Coalfields
The Burials of brave soldiers who died at the World War II at Digboi War Cemtery in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

War Cemetery Digboi, Stilwell Road Ledo to China, World War II ~ the Burma Campaign Assam, World War II ~ the Burma Campaign North East India, Assam Ecotourism, Coal Mining at Makum Coalfields
The Burials of Brave Soldiers at the Guwahati War Cemetery in Assam

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

War Cemetery Digboi, Stilwell Road Ledo to China, World War II ~ the Burma Campaign Assam, World War II ~ the Burma Campaign North East India, Assam Ecotourism, Coal Mining at Makum Coalfields
Burials of brave soldiers at the Guwahati War Cemetery who died during the construction of Stilwell Road at the World War II ~ Burma Campaign

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

stilwell road
The Majestic Stilwell Road at Arunachal Pradesh

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Lake of No Return, India's Bermuda Triangle, India Burma Border, Pangsau Pass Festival, Stilwell Road India
The historic Stilwell Road built during World War II by the American Army under the able guidance of General Vinegar Joe Stilwell

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Lake of No Return, India's Bermuda Triangle, India Burma Border, Pangsau Pass Festival, Stilwell Road India
Welcome to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Lake of No Return, India's Bermuda Triangle, India Burma Border, Pangsau Pass Festival, Stilwell Road India
The Pansau pass at the border of India and the Republic of the Union of Mynamar

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Lake of No Return, India's Bermuda Triangle, India Burma Border, Pangsau Pass Festival, Stilwell Road India
The Jairampur War Cemetery that has burials of Chinese Soldiers who laid down their lives during the Burma Campaign of World War II

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II

Lake of No Return, India's Bermuda Triangle, India Burma Border, Pangsau Pass Festival, Stilwell Road India
The Lake of No Return as viewed from the Pangsau pass market at Myanmar

Recommended Itinerary for your Visit: Memoirs of World War II