tea garden diaries

Darjeeling - The Queen of Teas

Darjeeling - the queen of hills is the land of fine darjeeling tea. Nestled among the Himalayas with breathtaking views of Kanchanjunga on one side and rolling hills and rivers on the other each garden is a sight that delights

THURBO

Discover a rare, distinct flavor

Misty hills, beautiful valleys enrobed in a never-ending cloak of green and breathtaking view all around - this is the beauty of Thurbo tea garden. The name comes from the Nepalese word for tent, propagated somewhere in the 1870's when a British contingent set up camp here to fight the Nepalese forces. Cupped by the awe-inspiring Kanchenjunga Mountain on one side and the gorgeous Lake Mirik on the other, the garden is a sight to behold. The rivers Mechi and Rongbong add to the garden’s natural splendour. The garden fringes are rich with thriving wildlife like deer, wild boars, leopards, pheasants and many exotic birds.

The first tea bushes were planted here in 1872 and continue to thrive to date. With slopes rising from 2500 ft to 6000 ft above sea level, China bushes, Assam Hybrids and special ‘Jats’ grown here produce wonderful delicate teas. A modern, state-of-the-art vermicompost system produces high quality organic manure that enriches the soil and ensures robust, healthy teas. The leaves are processed using original, time-tested techniques employing vintage British technology that adds to the beauty of the product. The fully equipped plant is run by a highly experienced workforce, each with an average of 15- 20 years of tea wisdom and intuition guiding them. The plant runs on hydro-electricity making for a very small carbon footprint.

Combined with new ‘Jats’ the garden grows exceptional autumnal teas. Thurbo teas are highly valued for their rare and delicate flavor, bright color and mellow, distinctively sweet after-taste.

BADAMTAM

When it's about delicate tea with exquisite fragrance

Nestled among lush green rolling hills, overlooking the gold-peaked Kanchenjunga Mountains is the oldest tea garden of Darjeeling – the Badamtam Tea Garden. Stretching three mountain ridges, this garden extends right from the Leblong Valley - 17 kms. away from Darjeeling town right upto Sikkim and has slopes ranging from 1000 ft. – 6000 ft. above sea level.

Established in 1858, the garden has a rich history that continues to enthrall visitors. Badamtam is regarded as one of the finest tea producers of Darjeeling, heralded globally for unmatched first flush teas that have a delicate flavor with fine aroma. It also produces the much sought after ‘Sencha’ green tea.

The garden is completely organic and conforms to the highest standards of green certifications.

BARNESBEG

Fine black & green tea for health and pleasure

This garden was planted by Christian Barnes in the years between 1858 to 1877 and is named Barnesbeg, presumably meaning ‘The garden of Barnes’. Situated at a comparatively lower altitude of 755 – 3200 feet above sea level, Barnesbeg produces exquisite green as well as black teas. Circled by the mighty Himalayas on one side, the garden enjoys a cool, balmy climate. The Little Rangeet River gushes down its valley completing the charmed tranquil beauty of the garden. Well-drained slopes and a moderate climate make it an excellent ground for Assam bushes. Their high quality green and black teas are in high demand in India and world over.

The predominant Assam bushes produce well-styled teas with brisk liquors. This garden is completely organic and accredited to the highest standards in sustainability and environment friendliness.

MARGARETS’S HOPE

Legendary tea of famous China variety

Margaret’s Hope is one of the most revered tea gardens of all time. Blenders worldwide use the tea in their blends to be able to name their product after this legendary variety. The garden is named in the memory of the erstwhile owner Mr. Bagdon’s daughter - Margaret. Margaret was captivated by the beauty of the garden and vowed to return to it from England. Sadly, she died on the ship during the voyage. She passed away but her ‘hope’ lives on as Margaret’s Hope. One of the most iconic gardens in Darjeeling, its history and heritage span a hundred years. The Maharani Hills garden - a part of Margaret’s Hope is over 150 years old.

Few gardens can claim having the kind of natural treasures that grace this garden. With an elevation of 3000 - 6000 ft., the beauty of this garden is surreal with a weather that’s always on the change. At one instant the sun casts its warm bright light and at the very next instant a heavy fog casts a thick, opaque curtain.

The garden also houses a Salamander Lake, a natural habitat for salamanders and attracts researchers from all across the world. The lake was constructed by Colonel Hanagan, one of the previous managers of the garden.

The original China bushes produce fine teas of worldwide acclaim, while the second flush produces a mellow cup with a fine fragrance.

CASTLETON

The rare jewel in the crown of Darjeeling teas

In the world of Darjeeling tea, nothing surpasses Castleton. Choice of the most refined tea connoisseurs in every region of the world and served to royalty, this tea fetches record prices at auctions year after year. And not without reason.

The garden's emerald slopes start at a height of 2600 ft., and rise up to 3000 ft., above sea level. This cool yet moderate climate provides a healthy environment for the tea to push forth its best flavors.

Ascending from the stunning Kurseong valley, the garden borders Kurseong town making it the only garden within civic limits.

Castleton acquired its name from a fortified building that stood in the garden itself. The garden is divided into many sections, with each one retaining its traditional local name like Bhalu Kop (Bear Cave), Dhobitar (Laundry Line), Baseri (Shelter) and Jim Bacha (Jim’s Child).

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