tea garden diaries

Dooars - From the foothills of the Himalayas

Down the Himalayan plains is the Dooars region which is well known for its magnificent flora and fauna and premium Orthodox and CTC Teas.

LEESH RIVER

Leesh River T.G. is a rather picturesque garden cordoned off on three sides by rivers. On the east is the Gheesh River with Leesh River on the West and on the South is the Teesta River. One can get a breathtaking view of the Sub - Himalayan foothills of the Darjeeling district and Kalimpong. On a clear winter day one could even get a view of the snow-capped peaks of Kanchenjunga. Leesh River Tea Garden boasts of a HACCP certified state-of-the-art factory, in terms of safety, hygiene and quality. ‘Leesh River’ is undoubtedly a premium mark in Dooars and has consistently been producing one of the best quality teas in the region.

Leesh River garden runs a skill development centre for local women in the area to help them earn a livelihood through craft. The girls are trained in embroidery and stitching and create beautiful products that are for sale at a minimal cost.

DANGUAJHAR

Danguajhar Tea Garden is situated close to Jalpaiguri town, the district headquarters of Jalpaiguri Division in West Bengal. The garden is enveloped by the Teesta River on the eastern side and on the western side is the Karla Valley Tea Garden and the Karla River. The garden is vibrant and has a rich variety of flora and fauna that flourish under the mild weather and flat terrain of the region. One of the largest producers of fine CTC Tea, it is one of the few gardens to use machines for picking the leaves. The manufacturing process is modern, hygienic and conforms to the highest standards of hygiene.

The garden also has a dairy research farm that is currently exploring means to produce milk commercially while being sensitive to the cows and their offspring.

Aibheel

Aibheel Tea Estate is located in the heart of the Chulsa sub-district and is at the Foothills of Kalimpong and Bhutan range.The garden consists of four divisions namely Naya Kaman, Gunty Side, Sathkyah and Dangee. The garden in its earlier years was called by the name of "Sonapani" as the water in the natural springs resembled gold in colour. With a pristine landscape, rich soil and unique combination of elements, Aibheel produces tea known for its fineness.

MEENGLAS

High quality CTC Teas

Meenglas Tea garden is picturesque situated in the northern boundary of the Damdim Sub-District, which is on the foot hills of the Kalimpong hills. It is situated on the western side of the Dooars and stands at an elevation of around 550 feet above sea level which is flanked by Chel river on the west and Malnudy on the East.

In the north the garden is bordering the Newra range of Gorubathan forest. The first plantation of this garden began in the year 1881. Since then the garden has uprooted and replanted most of the old tea areas with good planting material and manufactures high quality CTC Teas

The Garden was completely modernised in the year 2007 and is one of the best modernized Tea processing unit in the region today. It has been HACCP certified since 2008.

CHULSA

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The Chulsa tea garden is located over the picturesque Chalsa hill. On the eastern side flows the Murti river, separating the garden from the Upper Tondu Forest and on the western boundary is the Matelli town.

The topography of the garden is undulating in the upper flat and the garden is intercepted by jhoras and streams carrying water from the Himalayas.

The garden consists of two divisions namely Gandrab & Main division.

As per the records available in the garden, tea at Chulsa was planted some time in 1910 and was then a part of Duncan Bros.

Chulsa’s new state of art factory was commissioned in 1994 making it one of the best tea processing units in Tea Industry. The factory was HACCP certified in 2008 and factory was upgraded in 2009.

CHALOUNI

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The establishment of Chalouni as a tea garden dates back to the year 1885.

Legend has it that the garden derives its name from a particular variety of tree called "Chilloune" which at a point of time was spread all over the land where currently the garden exists.

Chalouni being 1500 feet above mean sea level and at the lap of the lower Sub-Himalayan range is scenically a very beautiful garden. To its North lies the Kalimpong Sub-Division reserve forest. The hills rise above forming a chain of mountain ranges, which adds to the beauty of the garden. There are a number of rain-fed stream lets flowing North - South that lace its body meandering and dancing to produce a musical symphony to its sylvan beauty and charm. Chalouni shares its boundaries with five other tea gardens namely Samsing, Matelli, Nagaisuree, Engo and Zurantee.

HOPE

Best of nature's abundance

The Hope garden is situated on the foot hill of the Shivalik ranges of the Himalayas. The first tea bush was planted around the year 1878.

The garden got its name after the daughter of the then major share holder of the Hope Tea Company, whose name was "HOPE". In the early days, the plucked leaves were taken down to the factory by bullock carts. Eventually the factory was shifted to its present site in 1886.

The first community deployed in the garden were the "Santhals" who have been staying on the garden over last two hundred years. Slowly Adivasi and Nepali labourers were brought from the Chota Nagpur belt and Nepal in 1880 A.D.

The garden is situated at about 1200 ft above the sea level with moderate climatic conditions. The average rainfall of the garden is 450 cms. Due to the garden's proximity to the hills, the climate remains cool and pleasant even in the summer months. The view to the north from the garden along the Bhutan boarder is very picturesque and beautiful. The land is undulating and has many running streams, ridges and small hillocks. The East division has very steep slopes in where tea has been planted.

JITI

Supreme quality tea

Jiti lies in a serene valley bordering the foothills of the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. The sister garden of Hope lies along the southern border, while the northern border runs parallel to the international border with Bhutan. The Ghatia River runs along the eastern border while the Jiti River flows along with western side.

Jiti which signifies one of the best quality marks of Dooars is the only garden in Dooars geographically located in a valley. This unique location at the base of the Bhutan foothills results in excessive rainfall and lower temperature for the most part of the year as compared with the rest of Dooars.

Jiti Tea Garden was founded in the year 1878 as a part of Hope Tea Garden. The factory came into being in 1885; before that leaves were transferred to the Hope factory. Jiti is synonymous with quality largely due to continuous excellent work done by previous managers over the years.

GANDRAPARA

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Gandrapara Tea Garden is located in the tea growing region of Dooars. The garden is in the Banarhat Sub-District. The garden has two divisions namely the North Division and the South Division.

Gandrapara was established in 1894 and got its name from an illustrious Mechia tribesman named Gandra Machia. The first Manager of the estate was Mr.Parnell who planted 258 acres of tea in 1895. Gandrapara was a part of Duncan Brothers since inception. In 1978 Goodricke Group Limited took over the Management of the property.

LAKHIPARA

Fine CTC Tea

Lakhipara tea garden is located in the misty foothills of the Bhutan hills. The tea garden was established in the year 1912, and named as Lakhipara, which in the local language and belief means the abode of the Goddess laxmi, The Goddess of wealth.

Lakhipara like all Dooars gardens is extremely picturesque and receives good rainfall. Nature's abundance and bounty are on full display at the gardens and the same is reflected in the quality tea that the garden produces.

KUMARGRAM

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Kumargram Tea Garden is located on the extreme north eastern corner of West Bengal, bounded by the Bhutan Hills to the north, Sankos Tea Garden to the east and Newlands Tea Garden to the west. The southern portion of the garden passes into Bustee land, mostly paddy fields.

The garden consists of two divisions – West Division and East Division. The demarcation is mostly geographical.

The garden was established in the year 1896 and the first planting was undertaken in the same year. The garden's name has possibly been derived from the nearby town of Kumargramduar. Kumargram Tea Garden was part of the Assam – Dooars Tea Company ( incorporated in the UK ). In 1978, Goodricke Group Limited took over the management of this garden.

SANKOS

High quality CTC Teas

Sankos Tea garden is located in the extreme eastern end of the Dooars with the state of Assam to its east, Kumargram Tea garden to its west, the Dumpara forest and subsequently Bhutan to its south and lying above it is the Huldibari busti.

The garden was established in the year 1895 and owes its name to the picturesque Sankos river which flows through the eastern boundary of the garden. The name Sankos may have been derived from the words Swarn – Kosh meaning gold reserves . If Folklore is to be believed , large quantities of gold lie buried deep in the river bed.

The garden originally belonged to the Assam Dooars Tea company under the management of Duncan Brothers and Company and remained in the charge of the Calcutta company till the end of 1977 after which Goodricke Group Ltd took over the garden.

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