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Top 7 Places To Visit Tea Plantations In India
Indians love a good cup of tea (chai) and India is one of the largest tea growers in the world. Over 70% of them are consumed by the Indians themselves. The production of tea began in the days of British rule in India, when large tracts of land were converted for the mass production of tea. If you are a tea lover, you should not miss to visit these places where you will find the best tea plantations and teas of India. You can even stay on a tea estate and visit the tea factories.
Darjeeling, West Bengal
Darjeeling is not only one of India's most popular hill stations, but also surrounded by tea plantations that produce precious, bright, floral-smelling tea. About 25% of India's total tea production comes from Darjeeling.
Excursions: Located just north of town, Happy Valley Tea Estate is Darjeeling's only guided tea factory tour. The winery builds some of the best teas in the region and has a long history. It was founded in 1850 by an Englishman, later taken over by an Indian aristocrat from Calcutta, which was abandoned and closed in 2005. In March 2007, he was acquired by the Ambootia Tea Group. Guided tours will be held from 9 to 30 September 2007. m. to 4.30 pm daily. Stay in the elegant Glenburn Tea Estate, about an hour northeast of Darjeeling, for an unforgettable dining experience. Makaibari Tea Estate, about one hour south of Darjeeling near Kurseong,
When to go: March to November for tea-picking, ... MORE but the monsoon season from June to September is best avoided.
Assam, Northeast India
Assam, located in remote northeastern India, is the country's largest tea production region. Mostly grown in the Brahmaputra Valley, Malts Assamese tea is available in bright colors. Jorhat, in the central part of the valley, is often referred to as the "tea capital of the world".
Excursions: Overnight at Banyan Grove on the Gatoonga Tea Estate near Jorhat. Built more than 100 years ago, it has colonial style and seven guest rooms. You'll get a feel for what it's like to live on a tea estate, visit the factory, and see how tea is made. The Heritage Hotel Thegal Manor is another option in Jorhat. Alternatively, the Wild Mahseer offers newly refurbished historic tea plantation bungalows on the shores of the Brahmaputra River in the middle of Addabarie Tea Estate, near Tezpur in Assam.
Take a tour: The Greener Pastures offers tea tours to Assam.
When to go: End of mid-May to June, for the best tea. The tea production lasts until the beginning of December, but the quality of the tea is steadily increasing. Every year in November, a tea festival takes place in Jorhat.
As you enter Munnar, a popular hill station in Kerala, you will be greeted by kilometer-long lush tea plantations. The company is owned by Tata, the largest tea company in India, and has now been sold to employees.
Excursions: Visit India's first tea museum on Nallathanni Estate for a fascinating insight into the history of tea production in Munnar. It is open every day except Mondays from 10 am to 5 pm The cost is 125 rupees for adults. Stay at The Tea Harvester, a quiet new boutique resort surrounded by tea plantations. Tea Estate tours are offered. Dream Catcher Plantation Resort (with four stunning tree houses in the tea plantations) and Grünberg Tea Plantation house are also recommended.
Travel time: The main season is from August to May, although the winters in December and January are very cold.
Kolukkumalai, Tamil Nadu
Kolukkumalai Tea Estate is the tallest tea plantation in the world, located across the border from Kerala, 8000 meters above sea level. The tea grown there has a unique flavor and taste due to the altitude. Although it is only 32 kilometers from the city of Munnar, it takes about 2 hours to reach this isolated destination via Suryanelli in Kerala's Idukki district. The last part of the journey can only be undertaken by jeep. It is a really scenic ride. The tea plantation was founded by the British at the beginning of the 20th century, and its factory still uses the original orthodox method of tea processing. It is possible to visit it on a day trip. For the best experience,
Nilgiri Mountains, Tamil Nadu
The mountainous Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu in southern India is known for its distinctive dark and intense aromatic tea. Tea has been grown there for more than 100 years and is the main industry in the region.
Excursions: Coonoor is an excellent place to discover Nilgiri tea. Start at the High field Tea Factory, near Sims Park. From there you can taste exotic teas in the Tranquili Tea Lounge. They also offer plantation tours and accommodation in plantation bungalows. Otherwise stay in Coonoor at the delightful Tea Nest on Teaara Singara. Drive there with the famous toy train of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. If you really want to get away from it all, consider O'land Plantation Stay. It is about 45 minutes south of Coonoor.
Take a Tour: Breakaway offers these Blue Mountains and High Tea Rides from Coimbatore to Coonoor and back. Your host, a tea planter, will share his knowledge with you. You will also ... MORE visit a farm producing cheese.
When to go: Tea is produced all year round in Nilgiri. However, the best teas are produced in the cooler winter months (late November to mid-February).
Wayanad, a lush mountainous agricultural area of Kerala, also produces a considerable amount of tea (in addition to coffee and spices). Most tea plantations are south of Kalpetta, in Vythiti and Meppadi. The road to Chembra Peak will take you through a private estate worth a look.
Excursions: Visit and stay at Parisons Plantation Experiences. This quiet property has two luxuriously refurbished bungalows with a total of 10 bedrooms set in 4 acres of tea gardens with a 200-year-old history. Activities include tea tours, tea plant visits, trekking on various tea trails and afternoons at the Planters Club. Tea Terrace offers attractive cottages set amidst a tea plantation in Vythiri. Tea Route Homestay is popular in Meppadi. Wayanad Tea Drops has a two bedroom cottage on the sprawling Chellotte Tea Estate in Chundale. It is ideal for families and friends. Priyadarshini Tea Environment (Mananthavady Tribal Plantation Corporative Society) is a community tourism ... MORE initiative, creates jobs for around 400 rehabilitated tribes. The property has its own tea factory, tea museum, accommodation and tourist activities.
When to go: September to April to avoid the monsoon rains.
Palampur, Himachal Pradesh
Tea was introduced in Palampur, about an hour from Dharamsala in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, in the mid-19th century by the superintendent of the Peshawar Botanical Garden, Doctor Jameson.
Where to go: Palampur Cooperative Tea Factory welcomes visitors and offers factory tours. Wah Tea Estate is the largest tea company in the Kangra Valley. It has been in operation since 1857 and has survived the 1905 earthquake that seriously disturbed the cultivation of tea in the area. The tea produced there is organic and 100% pesticide-free. Stay at The Lodge at Wah, a new eco-friendly boutique property on-site. It has eight rooms in three beautiful, rustic cottages. Tea plantations and factory tours as well as tea tastings are provided to guests. Other recommended options on tea plantations in Palampur include Country Cottage Tea Garden Resort and Norwood Green.
When to go: March to June and mid-September to November, for the best weather. Tea is picked between April and October.