Tea Trail through East India

This one is for the TEA Lovers.

I have created for you the perfect tea trail across eastern India. Be it the quite essential everyday brewed tea, the green tea for the weight watchers, the earl grey for those black tea lovers or my favorite Masala Tea with hint of Cinnamon in it. 

Explore the therapeutic aromas and the freshness of the tea as you stay amidst the plantations in heritage properties where luxury is the combination of simplicity and warm hospitality.

I bring to you the top places along with the plantations you can stay at for the best tea experience in India. You can visit just one of these places or combine them for the perfect tea trail.

If you are travelling from outside of India, you may like to fly to Kolkata to start your journey from there. Kolkata, once the greatest colonial city in the Orient, is now amongst the four major metropolis of India. Discovering the city that originated largely due to the colonialist ambitions of the European powers, especially the British Raj. The city retains some of the most striking colonial buildings of the country like the Victoria Memorial, which is a grand structure constructed in the memory of Queen Victoria. Visit Howrah Bridge, also called the hanging bridge is an architectural marvel and one of the oldest land-marks that represents this city of joy. See the Birla Planetarium, the second largest planetarium in Asia, another site that attracts attention of all regardless of their age. The Metro Railway, Indian Museum, Dalhousie Square, St. Paul/’s Cathedral, National Library, Shaheed Minar, Eden Garden, Fort William, Rat Park, New Market area and Marble Palace are some of the other sites that you can visit while you are in Kolkata.

From Kolkata fly to the very important tea center of Dibrugarh in Upper Assam area where you tour some of the best Colonial style Tea Estates in the country. 

The Mancotta Tea Estate in the outskirts of the town a beautiful tea bungalow surrounded by green plantations. The bungalow in the estate is a heritage building which was built as a residence for the British managers during the British Empire. It produces some of the best Orthodox tea in Assam, mostly packed with shiny golden tips. This estate also serves as the perfect getaway for some quiet time outside the busy city lives. If you do stay here, go for an early morning stroll into the tea gardens as it is the best time to experience the therapeutic aromas and the freshness of the plantations and interact with the tea pickers who are working in the estate. 
If you are looking for authentic handcrafted Organic Green Tea, Mukul Organic Tea Plantation is your place to be. Now home to various flora and fauna, Mukul estate is known for 100% organic green teas and you can also pluck tea leaves tea pickers for a first-hand experience.

If this is not enough and you want to become a storyteller too, head over to the EthelWold Tea Estate, located at the banks of the majestic Brahmaputra river, this estate with an interesting back story promises Assam’s best black tea. Don’t miss the opportunity of taking a tour around the plantation and get an insight into how your breakfast tea came into being! On your visit to this plantation just outside of Dibrugarh, you may also see a variety of resident and migratory birds and if you get really lucky you may also spot a Leopard.

At Dibrugarh, take a break from tea picking and tasting, go on a village walk to get close to the people and their ways of livelihood. In the evening, explore the New Market which is located just behind HS Road market and is the biggest shopping area and also has a big food market

Drive from Dibrugarh to Jorhat (about 138 kms distance)

At Jorhat do a tea tour through a 177 years old heritage tea garden, Cinnamora Tea Estate, as it gives an insight into the different activities that vary from season to season. It will tell you all about tea and its origin, how it is grown, tea tasting and its quality. The tea estate started functioning in the year 1850 and is located within 10 km from the Jorhat city center.

Here, Learn about CTC (Crush, Tear and Curl) method of processing tea. In this process the leaves instead of being rolled, are passed through a series of cylindrical rollers with hundreds of small sharp “teeth” that Crush, Tear, and Curl. This style of manufacture has the advantage that the finished product brews quickly, gives a dark infusion rapidly, is well suited for tea bags, and yields more cups per kg. In the Indian domestic market, this type of manufacture has virtually taken over about 80% of tea production 

Adds a beautiful color to tea made in the Indian style – RECIPE – Boil leaves in a mixture of milk, water and sugar and some spices (producing Masala Chai). With this production method, the tea does not get bitter, and its red colour comes through the white of the milk.

FROM HERE YOU CAN DECIDE TO HEAD BACK TO DIBRUGARH FOR A FLIGHT BACK TO KOLKATTA or you can make your way further to the very exciting MAJULI ISLAND (about 20 kms from Jorhat), a World Heritage Site located on the banks Brahmaputra River and is the largest inhabited river island in the world. Interact with the local tribes, tour the monasteries of the region and then take a depart for yet another world heritage site, the Kaziranga National Park (about 150 kms from Majuli island), where you might site the great Indian one horn rhinoceros during one of your safaris to the park.
After an adventurous couple of days of wild life sighting, drive approx. 4 hours to Guwahati, this city in Sikkim is one of the largest Tea Auction centers of the world. Explore the beautiful city of Guwahati and its market if you have the time and the next day fly to Bagdogra for further 2 ½ hours’ drive to another mecca for tea growers, Darjeeling. 

Here you visit the Glenburn Tea Estate. Explore the estate in the evening on foot with an audio-visual presentation on the history of Glenburn, and a brief overview of how tea is grown, manufactured and tasted. Visit the Tea Factory where you will be taken for a guided tour on how the leaf is brought in from the fields, weighed, and then taken through the processes of withering, rolling, fermenting, drying and sorting.

Interact with the Glenburn tea pickers and learn how to pluck the “two leaves and a bud” process, that is later manufactured into the tea that ends up in your teacup.

When you Darjeeling, DO NOT miss a ride in the famous Toy train with a steam Engine that takes you through the city and hill tops from where you can soak your eyes with the beauty of its lush green tea plantations. Toy Train tickets can be booked in advance and you can work the schedule of the train into the rest of your day and specific interests. There are morning trains that leave from Ghoom and head to Darjeeling Station, where our car will meet you, and afternoon trains that connect from Darjeeling to Ghoom on the way home.

From Darjeeling drive back to Bagdogra for a flight to Kolkata for your connecting flight back home.

Trust me, this tea trip for the soul is so wholesome that it will have you come back for more.