Tea Gardens in Assam

Famous Tea Gardens in Assam

Tea comes from the plant called Camellia sinensis, but as tea lovers would say - one the best tea around the world comes from the lush estates of Assam! Proudly acclaimed as the world's largest tea growing region, Assam is also historically the second commercial tea producer in the world after southern China. It was in 1823 that Robert Bruce, a Scottish merchant and adventurer spotted the tea plants growing wild in Assam and it was in the same year that Indian tea was first traded to England for sale.

Both, Assam and Darjeeling are ace producers of tea in India and it would not be wise to tag one as superior to the other as both the teas have their own characteristics which make them unique. Some basic differences can be pointed out on the basis of their texture, flavour and colour, like Assam tea is darker than Darjeeling tea, and tastes best with added milk. On the other hand, Darjeeling tea is delicately flavoured and is taken without milk. Also, if we compare the prices, Darjeeling tea would cost a little more.

Tea Gardens of Assam

As per the statistics shared by Assam Government, in 2012, there were 68,465 small tea gardens in the Brahmaputra Valley and 825 large tea gardens in Assam. Over 850 tea estates spread beautifully across thousands of acres of land produce varieties of premium quality tea that are distributed across the globe. Besides extensive cultivation of tea, the estates invite tourists for a tea tour to these well maintained tea gardens. Special lodging facilities are also available.

Tea Cultivation in Assam

Assam tea grows in the lowlands, in the valley of the Brahmaputra River, and is identified with its typically strong, malty flavour and bright, dark colour. Arid winters, generous rains and loamy soil of the region are ideal for the production of tea in Assam. The tea here is harvested twice a year and the "second flush" or "tippy tea" is sweeter and superior to the "first flush". On an average, the state yields 6,80,000 kilograms of tea, approximately every year. Assam also produces white and green tea, even though in small quantities.

Interestingly, the tea gardens in Assam follow the 'Tea Garden Time' or Bagatime which is an hour ahead of the Indian Standard Time (IST). Introduced during the British days, this system has been viable in improving the productivity of tea workers in the state.

There are around 10 lakh tea garden workers working in the largest tea producing state in India, Assam. For the welfare of the retired workers, the Government of Assam has even come up with a plan to provide them homes on ownership basis. Free land adjacent to the tea gardens will be allotted for the purpose along with a subsidy of Rs. 25,000 to build the house. Also, as per latest reports, around 7,002 bighas of government land is encroached upon by tea gardens across seven districts in Assam.

Assam Tea Tourism

As unique as it sounds, the concept of tea tourism in Assam has opened the doors for tourists to relish the unusual, yet revitalizing experience of staying in the heritage bungalows amidst the lush, aromatic tea gardens and watching the labourers synchronously plucking leaves and working in the tea plantations. These holiday packages are offered inclusive of accommodation, meals and related activities, surely at a decent cost. The best time to plan for a tea tour to Assam is during the monsoons, that is, from June to September.

On an average, single accommodation in such heritage bungalows will cost around R 3,000 per night, while for double sharing the charges are around 7,000 per night stay. Following are some of the highlights of perks that a tea tour has to offer:
  • Staying in the elegant heritage bungalows with impeccably done colonial interiors.
  • Tea tasting tours where you get to taste different grades and varieties of tea in Assam.
  • Visit to tea factories to learn more about the processes involved.
  • Visit to Tocklai Tea Research Institute in Jorhat, the oldest and largest tea research stations in the world.
  • Visit to the Guwahati Tea Auction Center.
  • Learn and enjoy plucking best of tea leaves in the surrounding plantations.
  • Some even organise activities like fishing, river rafting, boat rides in the mighty Brahmaputra river, golfing, horse riding, spa and other activities.
  • You might even get to enjoy elephant treks amongst the beautiful greens of Assam!
  • Visiting surrounding villages and interacting with the local people, experiencing their culture and feasting upon some of the ethnic cuisines they have to offer.
  • Plan your trip in November to experience the unique Assam Tea Festival held in the district of Johrat.
Listed below are some of the popular options which you may consider for your tea tour extravaganza in Assam:

Banyan Grove
Location: Gatoonga Tea Estate, PO Gatoonga, District Jorhat, Assam

Thengal Manor
Location: P.O Jalukonibari, Jorhat, Assam

Kaziranga Golf Resort
Location: Sangsua and Gatoonga Tea Estates, Jorhat, Assam
Website: www.kazirangagolfresort.com

Mistry Sahib's Bungalow
Location: Jorhat, Assam

Mancotta Chang Bungalow
Location: Mancotta Road, Jalan Nagar, Dibrugarh, Assam

Purvi Discovery
Location: Jalannagar, Dibrugarh, Assam
Website: http://purvidiscovery.com
Contact No.: +91 373 2301120, 2300035

Wild Mahseer
Location: Balipara Division, Addabarie Tea Estate, P.O Lokra, Sonitpur, Balipara, Assam
Website: www.wildmahseer.com

Wathai Heritage Bungalow
Location: Limbuguri Tea Estate, Tinsukia, Assam

Diphlu River Lodge
Location: Kaziranga National Park, Kuthuri, Near Bagori Police Outpost, District Nagaon, Assam
Website: www.diphluriverlodge.com

Whether you are tea person or not, you cannot miss savouring a cup of brewing Assam tea especially when you are in the state!

Last Updated on : January 27, 2016