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Secret Gardens of Darjeeling
By Amelia C. Levy

Darjeeling is well known around the world as the “champagne of teas.” But did you know that each of the individual gardens of Darjeeling have their own, unique flavor, brought about by their locations, style of manufacture, and even the people working there? Amelia Levy takes a quick look at just a few of the small communities within this special tea-growing area that you may not have heard about, but which have quietly brought us their own special Darjeeling flavor. Photography by Zachary Fabri.

Marybong

Marybong Tea Estate is located in the Darjeeling East, or Golden Valley of Darjeeling at an altitude ranging from 1200 to 1970 meters. It has a planted area of 285 hectares and produces 200,000 kgs of tea. The estate is in the process of conversion to organic. Sujay Sengupta is the manager of Marybong.

Web site: www.marybong@darjeelingtea.com.

Nagri

Nagri Tea Estate is located in the southwest of Darjeeling in the RungBong Valley of Darjeeling at an altitude ranging from 790 to 2165 m. Sprawling over an area of 571.37 hectares, Nagri ( which is known locally as “Makarjung”) Apart from tea, exotic orchids, deliciously sweet oranges, ginger, cardamon, etc. are grown here. The name Nagri is derived from the words Nav Gauri which mean the nine incarnations of the Goddess Parvati. According to Hindu mythology the goddess in various forms appeared on the earth to the kill demons and bring peace to the world. The plantation is on gentle slopes and has a mixed variety of China and Assam hybrids. It employs 906 workers and is organic. Mr. Sharma manages the estate.

E-mail: sutodia@giascl01.vsnl.net.in, Web site: www.chamong.com/darjgardens.htm.

Sungma

Sungma Tea Estate is located in the beautiful Rungbong Valley of Darjeeling at an altitude ranging from 1420 to 2360 m. It has a planted area of 280.95 hectares and produces 188,689 kgs of tea. Anil Jha manages the estate.

E-mail: Jhaanil12@rediffmail.com.

Tumsong

Tumsong Tea Estate is located in the Darjeeling East, or Golden Valley of Darjeeling at an altitude ranging from 915 to 1980 m. It has a planted area of 150 hectares and produces 65,000 kgs of tea. This estate overlooks the mighty Kanchenjunga. The direct cold breeze makes all the difference to enhance the delicate flavor of its exotic teas, which are 99% pure China leaf.

The name Tumsong is derived from the Hindu goddess “Tamsa Devi” who is worshipped by the local population in a temple which is situated on the garden. The garden was planted around the temple, on one mountain slope, in the year 1867. Jaideep Gangully manages the garden.

Web site: www.chamong.com/darjgardens.htm.

Ging

Ging Tea Estate is located in the Darjeeling West Valley, or the Lebong Valley, of Darjeeling. It has a planted area of 253 hectares and produces 175,000 kgs of tea. The manager of the estate is Indranil Ghosh.

E-mail: Ghosh_india12@rediffmail.com.

Lingia

Lin-ge in lepcha, a local indigenous language, means a triangle of eight mountain peaks. Lingia is situated in the Golden Valley of the Darjeeling District. This estate is situated about 35 kilometers from Darjeeling town. More than 96% of the bushes here yield pure China leaf. The plantation is over 140 years old. Altitude is around 1848 m. The total gross area is 141 hectares. Workers employed total 474. Lingia has been under conversion to bio-Organic. Vijay Dhanchalia is its manager.

Web site: www.chamong.com.

Chamong

Chamong Tea Estate is located in the Rungbong Valley of Darjeeling at an altitude ranging from 1550 to 2360 m. It has a planted area of 164 hectares and produces 80,000 kgs of tea. Chamong grows more than 96% pure China leaf.

E-mail: chamong@snonline.com, Web site: www.chamong.com.



Tea & Coffee - November/December, 2004
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