Visit to Darjeeling tea estate


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Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Hot Tea » Sep 7th, '09, 04:36

Some pics from recent trip to Darjeeling and Dooars:

Before Darj, went to see a few estates in Dooars. This is a region in the plains.

It's a mobile creche run by the estate management for the women pluckers. They can have their kids close by while they work. Creche moves with them to different parts of the tea estate! Cool idea!
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Inside the mobile creche - kids sleeping on hammocks
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You can just see the outline of the sleeping child in the white hammock. Older ladies living on the tea estate look after them.
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Sleeping under the shade of tea bushes
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Last edited by Hot Tea on Sep 7th, '09, 05:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Hot Tea » Sep 7th, '09, 04:42

Still in Dooars...

This is Dam Dim Tea Estate. Owned by the Tata group, which owns the Tetley tea brand.
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The garden at Dam Dim's tea bungalow has this "treehouse". It overlooks part of the tea estate. Nice place to have a cuppa tea...and also watch the wild elephants on their annual migration, which goes through part of the estate.
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Hot Tea » Sep 7th, '09, 05:14

Finally to Darj....

70-degree slopes, 2,500 to 5,500 feet, faces the eastern Himalayan range...this is dramatic landscape!
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Reaching the tea estate can be fun or extremely scary, depending on your tolerance level for plunging down steep mountain sides on extremely narrow paths with hairpin turns. :D
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This is a fully organic tea estate (which supports a rich wildlife - saw many different species of birds during our stay). First planted in 1867 by the British. The manager said it is designed so the tea bushes are grown on the side of the mountain that faces Kanchejunga, the third tallest mountain in the world (8598 metres).
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The estate lies directly in the path of the cool breeze that flows down from the eastern Himalayas, so tea plants grow slowly and the leaves are saturated with flavours.
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This is the tea plant nursery.
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The tea processing factory on the estate was closed as we went off season. The machinery in there are OLD! Many are original machines from the British days.
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The lovely bungalow on the estate where the British planter lived is now open to visitors. The rooms are large and lovely, filled with teak furniture. Great bathroom too!
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Hot Tea » Sep 7th, '09, 05:33

In Darj city....

This is one of the older tea stores. They have an online store and said they would ship internationally. Pricey though (compared to other places to buy tea in Darj)
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The old planters club is still here...
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They are proud of their tea heritage here...rightly so!
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Many tea boutiques here...most can arrange excursions to tea estates.
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Having tea at the Elgin Darjeeling hotel (a heritage hotel once owned by the Maharaja of Cooch Bihar) was a great experience!
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby woozl » Sep 7th, '09, 05:39

Very cool,
thanks for sharing.
maybe someday....
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Salsero » Sep 7th, '09, 05:53

Wow, thanks for sharing.
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Dreamer » Sep 7th, '09, 12:11

Thanks so much for sharing these pictures...It makes the tea even sweeter when I pause to appreciate the fragile journey that brought it to my cup.

Thanks again,
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Chip » Sep 7th, '09, 12:16

Great trip! And getting to see several regions must have been very exciting. We appreciate your sharing your experiences with us.
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Intuit » Sep 7th, '09, 14:01

Map showing the geographical area of Dooars relative to the Assam Valley.
http://www.amalgamatedplantations.co.in/map.asp

I wonder if the growing leopard problem is related to the use of the mobile childcare center.

http://beacononline.wordpress.com/2009/ ... wild-cats/

We really don't hear much about the difference in tea character between Assam and Dooars estate teas. The Dooars tea region went through a bit of an economic crunch, with 14 estates closing in recent years. Seems like they are beginning to recover as tea prices rise, with four (two of them are quite large) closed estate resuming tea production in the last 2 years.
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby geeber1 » Sep 7th, '09, 16:15

Very nice, thanks for sharing!
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby cyberhoofer » Sep 9th, '09, 07:54

GREAT POST!!!
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Tead Off » Sep 22nd, '09, 09:10

Hot Tea,

Thanks for posting all of this. I have spent a good deal of time in India and it is close to my heart. I've been planning a trip to Kolkata and the Darjeeling area. What are the not to be missed attractions on your trip? And, which were the best teas you tasted?
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Hot Tea » Sep 23rd, '09, 05:33

Tead Off: "which were the best teas you tasted?"
-- well, I don't know is the honest answer. The thing is, we drank so many different teas and I didn't keep notes or even take down the names of the tea....and I didn't think the tea tasted that good. Most of this tea sampling took place in the early part of the trip - I wasn't interested in tea then.

But this changed towards the end of the trip. And this is the man that opened up my eyes and awakened my tastebuds to the wonders of tea:

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He is a tea planter with 30 years' experience and now a tea consultant to several tea estates. He conducted a tea tasting session for us and it blew me away...the taste, fragrance, mouthfeel of the tea, the aftertaste...there was just no turning back after that.

So on my return home, I went to a teahouse where I had, for several years, intended to take tea lessons and signed up for Chinese tea classes. Funny that it took a journey to India to make me learn more abt my culture (I'm Chinese).

So that was a very long answer to a simple question. Not a very satisfying answer at that! Sorry!

To make amends, I will write and tell you abt the Darj and Ceylon teas my friends have brought back for me from their recent travels to India and Sri Lanka. :-)
Last edited by Hot Tea on Sep 23rd, '09, 06:38, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Hot Tea » Sep 23rd, '09, 06:01

What are the not to be missed attractions on your trip?

Now, this is a much easier question to answer :lol:

1. Sunrise at Tiger Hill (near Darjeeling)
OK, so we had to wake up at 4am on an EXTREMELY cold mid-winter morning to get there, but it was worth it. It was a very, very special moment witnessing the sun slowly illuminate each mountain in the Himalayan range. I wld even say it was a very spiritual moment. I hv this pic as my desktop wallpaper..reminds me of how I felt that morning and it helps me be a better person....on most days...I'm working on it! :-)
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2. The nature reserves
The northeast of India, within a days' drive of Darjeeling, has amazing diversity and because it is so remote and large parts of it inaccessible, the region's nature reserves are rewarding places to visit - in the sense that they more "unspoilt" although certainly facing pressures of habitat degradation due to population pressures/economic conditions as villagers clear forest land to grow cash crop eg Cardamon.
This is my all time favourite: Neora Valley - home to the red panda, many bird species and wild orchids. I saw only a tiny part of it but it is enough for me to want to go back.
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We stayed at this stunningly located Neora Valley Jungle Camp. I was nervous when the itinerary said I'll be spending the night at a jungle place without electricity or running water. But it was a really, really good experience - clean, great food n people were fantastic. It helps that this place has clear, unobstructed views of Kanchenjunga, the world's 3rd highest mountain (8598m)
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3. Sikkim
Well, if you're gonna be in Darj, Sikkim is not too far away. There is one tea plantation there - Temi Tea. Said to have even better tea than the best Darj can produce. That's a bold statement. Drove past, but was too late to stop for a cuppa.

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Not sure what the political situation is now, but there were protests taking place now and then in the region. The Darjeeling Toy Train could not operate for a few days cos of it, and we were delayed (5 hrs) on our road trip back to Siliguri as most major roads in the area were closed.

But it was a great trip...working trip, I might add.
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Re: Visit to Darjeeling tea estate

Postby Salsero » Sep 23rd, '09, 10:21

Wonderful, personal notes on your trip. Thanks for sharing and hope you enjoy your tea classes. Chinese tea certainly is different from Indian tea! But it should be just as interesting.
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