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Tea Valley of India

Are you a Tea Lover? If yes, then visiting tea plantations in India could be one of the reasons to plan your holidays in India. While on such trip, you can explore tea factories and spend a few days at a tea estate of your choice. India has a huge history of cultivating and brewing tea in India.

The use of tea was first documented in the holy scripture Ramayana, written between 750 and 500 B.C.. However, after the arrival of the British East India Company, all that has changed. Soon a large chunk of land became tea farms for production and export.

70% of India’s harvest stays inside the country for consumption and the rest becomes export. Darjeeling Tea grows only in India. The Tea Board of India currently controls the entire contemporary process of producing, certifying and exporting tea. Read the top 10 list of ‘Best Tea Plantations in India’ for your kind perusal.

Glenburn Tea Estate, Darjeeling

Glenburn Tea Estate of Darjeeling is a family run business with hundreds of acres of rolling tea gardens perched on a hill slope with two river streams passing through the estate. The estate offers all inclusive and upscale home stay for tourists in plush bungalows amidst sprawling gardens with magnificent views of the valleys and mountain range including the mystic Kanchenjungha and Sikkim hills.

Glenburn Estate was originally established and run by a Scottish tea company in 1859 during the British colonial days. It was taken over by the Kolkata based Prakash family.    Prakash family has been running this 1,600 acre estate through four generations and for over a century. The original planter’s bungalow which is known as the Burra Bunaglow has been completely restored in 2002 to its original structure retaining much of the colonial charm while adding the level of luxury required for a comfortable stay in today’s time. It has four large suites.  Another bungalow known as The Water Lily Bungalow has been added in 2008 at the edge of the ridge and ahead of the original bungalow which too has four large suites with high ceilings.  The entire estate is spread over a hill slope with an elevation ranging from 3,200ft near the Burra Bungalow going down to 800ft where the Rungeet and Rung Dung rivers flow through the estate. The estate includes a forest area (known as Simbong forest) along the river side that spreads over 1,000 acres of area. Area under tea cultivation is about 390 acres. It’s a bio-organic tea garden producing mainly Darjeeling green tea. 

How to Reach ?

New Jalpaiguri railway station is the closest to Glenburn Tea Estate, about 82 kilometre away. It is a 3-hour drive from the railway station to the tea estate.

Happy Valley Tea Estate, Darjeeling

Walking through a tea garden on the gentle hill slopes of Darjeeling and seeing the tea processing is always a special experience. And a great way to experience this is by visiting the Happy Valley Tea Estate which is located about 3km (1.8 miles) away from Chowk Bazaar area.  The approach is through a narrow winding downhill road which is quite steep. So if you are walking, the walk on your way back is likely to be quite cumbersome. But the rewards on the way are enormous.

There are some points on the way from where the mountain vistas are simply spectacular. And you will pass by local homes and cottages. The narrow road is named after T P Banerjee, a rich Bengali man from the Hoogly area of West Bengal.  He took over the Tea estate from the original owner David Wilson in 1903. Wilson, an English man, originally established the estate in the year 1854. At the entrance of the factory, there is board that still shows the year of original establishment along with the name of the estate.  During the time of Wilson, the tea estate was known as Wilson Estate. T P Banerjee bought another adjacent tea estate called Windsor Tea Estate in 1929, combined the two and renamed the whole estate as Happy Valley Tea Estate that spans across more than 270 acres. This is the nearest tea estate to Darjeeling town and the most convenient one to reach. Since 2008, the tea estate has been taken over by Sanjay Bansal

Happy Valley tea estate is located at the end of a narrow downhill road Road. You can see the beautiful tea garden on the hill slope as you come near the end of the road. From a distance, you can see the large white colored building with slanted tinned roof which is the tea production factory.  There are guides who will offer to take you inside and show you the various stages of tea processing and explain the steps. They are usually employees of the factory acting as guides during their off time and charge a fee for the factory tour which lasts for about an hour. 

How to Reach ?

Happy Valley Tea Estate is located 3km from Chowk Bazaar which is the main market area of Darjeeling lower town. If you come by a car or taxi, you can approach it from the Lebong Cart Road. There is a narrow road that leads to the T P Banerjee Road at the end of which the Estate is located

Nilgiri Tea Plantation, Tamil Nadu

Also known as the Blue Mountains, Nilgiris have their presence in the southern end of the Western Ghats in the Indian subcontinent. Within an altitude range of 1000 m to 2500 m, the Nilgirisprovide shelter to some of the best hill stations in the country.Along with this, the hills are most importantly famed for its sprawling tea plantations. Unlike the other major tea growing zones in India, Nilgiri tea plantations are known to produce the hot beverage throughout the year. The prime tea varieties of these plantations are Black tea and Oolong, the aromas and flavors of which are highly distinct from the rest of India. This is majorly due to the high altitudes of Nilgiri tea plantations.

The region’s popular tea estates that are a must visit on a tour of Nilgirisinclude Craigmore, Pascoes Woodlands, NonsuchDunsanadale, Parkside, Glendale, Tiger Hill, Colacumby and Corsley. Owing to the huge variety and abundance of tea in this part of India, every year a Tea and Tourism festival is organized here by the Government authorities

How to reach ?

  1. By Air. The nearest airport to the Nilgiris is in Coimbatore, about 105 km from Ooty. …
  2. By Rail. Ooty falls on the narrow gauge railway line connected to Mettupalayam (47-km), which directly connects it to Coimbatore and Chennai. …
  3. By Road. Ooty is well connected to all the major towns and cities of South India.

Kanan Devan Hill, Munnar

The Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company was formed, making it the largest employee-owned tea company in the world. Encompassing the Participatory Management System of operations, where the shareholders of the company are mainly its employees – a novel concept in the plantation industry credited to the farsighted vision of the company’s Founding Managing Director, Late. Mr. T.V. Alexander – about 60% of the subscribed share capital of the company is held by its employees, and almost 99.9% of its employees are shareholders of the company. With 12,000 plus employees and 12 departments governing the various functional areas of the company, KDHP covers a total area of 23,783 hectares, all located in the High Ranges of Idukki District in Kerala. As the largest tea corporate in South India, the company also occupies a prestigious place on the tea map of Kerala, constituting 24.3% of the total tea area in the State and accounting for 31.5% of the production in the State.

A unique feature of the Kanan Devan hills Plantations Company Pvt Ltd is the implementation of the Participatory Management System, introduced with a view to ensure full participation of the employees in the management of the company. As part of this three-tier structure that encompasses all the sections of the employees of the company, one worker representative and one staff representative are nominated as Directors on the Board of the company. The employees identified as the Best Worker and Best Staff in a year are nominated to the Board during the following financial year.

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