Two leaves and a bud, acres and acres of rolling hills covered with tea bushes, evergreen forest, exotic flowers, gurgling streams, waterfalls, a house on a hill top, the sunrise and, capping it all, the sound of silence.
The cool, fertile hills of the Himalayas of North Bengal and Assam and the Nilgiri Hills of South India grow some of the world’s finest and therefore, the most prized teas.
But some of the tea estates, particularly in Darjeeling district of West Bengal and Assam are now converting their British-built old colonial style bungalows into luxury lodges. Many people are also converting their rural houses in agricultural setting which are basically farmhouses into luxury accommodations. These cater to a select, but growing band of people who wouldn’t mind paying handsomely while sipping what is called ‘Champagne of Teas’ (if it is Darjeeling variety) or ‘Cognac of Teas’ (if it is the Assam variety) amidst sylvan surroundings. Paying handsomely? Yes. Goods things in life do not always come cheap.
But, then, it will be wrong to presume one has to pay handsomely only for tasting tea and sleeping in a four-bedroom wooden (or stone) 100-year-old house or exploring the rural countryside within the comforts of modern day luxury.
If one visits a tea garden in West Bengal or Assam in March, when the tea harvest begins, one can see the first flush, the youngest and fragrant tips being plucked by workers from slopes, sometimes as steep as 80 degrees, talk to the local people and learn about the fascinating bush to cup story, which is the whole process of how a tea leaf makes it to a tea cup – from bush to factory and then to the tea cup.
One can also witness a tea tasting session, which can be a unique experience.
One can even hike through rain forests in search of animals, opt for rafting or fishing in the hilly rivers that flow in every direction they please, climb the hills or just sit in some corner of the verandah of the bungalow, breathe fresh air, watch the majestic Kanchenjunga or the blue Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu & Kerala, experience crop harvesting, animal farming and enjoy the serenity.
Ocean6 Holidays arranges some of the most spectacular holidays in the most breathtaking locations within the finest tea gardens and rural locales of India.