DARJEELING: Beautifully nestled in the foothills of the snow covered Himalayas, Darjeeling is a district in the state of West Bengal. It is located at an altitude that ranges from 600 to 2000 meters. The tea estates in Darjeeling are spread over 20000 hectares. Sheltered by the Kanchenjunga peak, these estates produce tea that is unequalled anywhere in the world.
Aided by Darjeeling's cool, moist climate and sloping terrain, its tea estates produce a fine and delicately flavored tea that is famously referred to as the "Champagne of teas".
Darjeeling boasts of many beautiful and sprawling tea estates. However the first name that comes to the mind is the Glenburn Tea Estate that also has a tea nursery. Other tea estates in Darjeeling include the Makaibari Tea Estate, Happy Valley Tea Estate and the Puttabong Tea Estate. Those on a tea tour to Darjeeling can visit other tea estates like Margaret's Hope, Singbulli, Longview, Sungma and Castleton.
Some of the tea estates in Darjeeling also offer excellent accommodation facilities. Some of the best are the Glenburn Tea Estate and the Makaibari Tea Estate.
Glenburn Tea Estate: Offering a breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga Mountain Range, the Glenburn Tea Estate in Darjeeling produces some of the finest teas in the world. Apart from its sprawling tea gardens, the estate is also a paradise for bird watchers and hiking enthusiasts.
Beautifully situated on a hilltop above the River Rungeet is the Burra Bungalow, a 150-year-old plantation house. Surrounded by 1000 acres of private forest and a working tea estate, the bungalow was built by a Scottish company in 1860 and beautifully restored for tourists looking for unique yet luxurious vacation.
With rates ranging from Rs. 8000 - 10000 per person per night, the Glenburn tea estate offers high-end accommodation facilities to its guests. It must also be mentioned that 80 percent of the clientele at the Burra Bungalow consists of international tourists.
The bungalow offers spacious suites, each designed on a different theme. The Planters Suite is an experience in itself, complete with a fireplace, historic east India company maps, a four-poster Spanish mahogany bed and more.
Glenburn Tea Estate promises its guests with an exquisite dining experience. Be it traditional Indian, exotic south East Asian or mouthwatering European you will get everything at Glenburn Tea Estate, Darjeeling.
Makaibari Tea Estate: Located at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, Makaibari Tea Estate is one of the oldest Tea Gardens in Darjeeling. It was established in 1859 and extends over 1575 acres of hills, valleys and forests. The estate is located at an altitude 4500 feet above sea level and is still owned by its original founders - the Banerjee family. Besides being the first garden to be certified for trade in the world, Makaibari Tea Estate, Darjeeling is also the first to market Darjeeling Greens, Oolongs and Silver Tips.
Makaibari is also home to lush forests comprising of rich flora and fauna, something that is sure to interest many. Moreover, the estate provides excellent accommodation facilities to its guests. The Stone House owned by the Banerjee family is indeed the perfect place for a romantic interlude with nature and tranquility.
Accommodation facilities provided at the Stone House in Makaibari Tea Estate are marvelous. The cottage offers 04 well furnished and tastefully done luxury bedrooms to its guests. Besides, there is a spacious living room with iron and burnt clay fireplace providing guests with a cozy ambience.
Offering sumptuous delights, dining at Makaibari Tea Estate, Darjeeling is also something to look forward to. The meals served are cooked from vegetables grown in the biodynamic garden of the stone house itself.
Besides, while on your stay you can enjoy the guided tours of the tea gardens and the forests.
ASSAM: With its lofty hills, rolling plains, gushing rivers and breathtaking beauty, Assam is truly a nature lover's delight. This mesmerizing "land of blue hills" is mainly famous for two things - the one horned rhino and tea.
As one of the major tea producing regions in the world, Assam is home to numerous tea estates that produce more than 360 million kg of tea annually. Beautifully pruned tea bushes spread like green carpets cover about 2,16,200 hectares of land in Assam. Moreover, the tea estates in Assam boast of the highest per acre yield in terms of tea production.
Assam is also the birthplace of Indian tea. It was in 1823 when an enterprising Englishman named Robert Bruce discovered the tea plant growing wild in the state and the year 1839 saw the first 8 chests of Indian tea making their way to a London auction.
There are more than 100 tea estates in Assam today. The cropping season starts in March and extends till around mid December. The plucking season starts in March and goes on for around two months. The tea produced at this time has a fragrant, fresh, flowery and spicy character. The second plucking season starts from June. The tea produced during this period has a full, spicy, malty character and a rich coppery red to deep brown color. It is considered to be richer than the tea produced from the first harvest.
Plucking at the tea estates in Assam is more productive from July to October, when the powerful monsoon rains from the Indian Ocean fall on the fertile ground. Some of the most prominent tea estates in Assam are the Williamson Tea Estates and those owned by the Tata Group of Companies. Other notable tea estates in Assam are the Amguri, Ginjia, Gogaidubi, Talap and Ananda tea estates.