December 2019

The Tea Gardens of Bengal

64 photos in this gallery


I grew up in the tea gardens of Bengal and Assam in the 80's and 90's. This trip back with my family then was to feast on the nostalgic gourmet that are the 'chai bagaans' of Darjeeling and Dooars (the Terai tea growing region of West Bengal).

The Elgin Darjeeling, is a heritage luxury hotel that has stood its ground for over 125 years and its plush interiors evidence its royal past as the summer residence of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar. Braving the below freezing December temperature with the aid of crackling fireplaces and views of the Kanchenjunga range, we spent a memorable night in 'Darj' and even drove down to our old bungalow at Singtom Tea Estate. More nostalgia as we grabbed a bite at the classic haunt for all foodies on the mall road, Glenarys and we were finally ready to hit the road enroute to Dooars and the Manager's bungalow at Gandrapara Tea Estate.

While the Gandrapara Manager and wife, friends of my parents, played hosts to us, what we were uber keen on visiting was our much beloved tea garden of Baradighi. More pictures, reminscing and wondering of how time had virtually stood still in these parts. Dad and I then made the 250 kilometre round trip to the north east corner of Dooars to Dad's first ever garden, Rydak Tea Estate. With no memories of Rydak and Kartik gardens (as a 3-4 year old),

I was keen on accompanying Dad and seeing these 'properties' as they're called, for myself. More photographs. A final hurrah with some drone images of Gandrapara followed, and we were back to our present day home, Gurugram.

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