For centuries, tea from India has been held in high regard all over the world. During their rule, the British set up tea plantations with variants of Indian and Chinese tea in the tranquility of India’s hills and mountain ranges. Some of the plantations that they built have turned into famous tea towns and summer destinations. These quaint tourist destinations are a must visit if you are a fan of the great outdoors, and a good cup of tea.
Darjeeling, West Bengal
Easily the largest and most famous tea town in the country, Darjeeling is known worldwide for the taste and quality of its black tea. The town is a part of West Bengal and has been one of the top summer destinations in India for centuries. With a view of Mt. Kanchenjunga in the backdrop and the old English style homes and guesthouses in the area, the town makes for an ideal weekend getaway. There are several tea estates to visit in and around Darjeeling.
Kotagiri, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu
To the south of India, this idyllic town offers the perfect setting for you to meet the rising sun with a cup of powerfully aromatic tea. Not so far from its more famous counterpart, Ooty, Kotagiri offers the peace and quiet of a hill town that is not overrun by tourism, ideal for introverts and those looking to recharge.
Palampur, Kangra District, Himachal Pradesh
Nestled in the pristine beauty of Himachal Pradesh, Palampur is a short drive away from the famous mountain town of Dharamshala. Many of the tea estates of this town will eagerly play host, offering views of the nearby Dhauladhar mountain range unlike any you will find elsewhere. In this pretty town, you can enjoy the way nature comes alive to the touch of the sun, its breezes decked with pleasant smells and sounds.
Munnar, Idukki District, Kerala
Munnar is famous for its tranquil tea gardens and for being the town to have the country’s first ever tea museum. Explore the journey of the tea trade in this town and how it has advanced over the years from primitive tea rollers to the high grade automation in modern tea factories. Participate in the tea tastings here and let your palate absorb the tastes of indigenous and exotic teas alike.
Unlike the tea grown in Darjeeling and the Nilgiris, which is usually cultivated in the highlands, the tea gardens of Assam are grown in the lowlands, in the valley of the Brahmaputra. Silchar is one of the bigger tea producing towns in the region and is an important hub for tea production. In Assam, tea is harvested twice a year, with the first harvest starting in late March. Visiting Silchar in April or May would be ideal, since the golden tipped “tippy tea” picked during the second harvest, is considered to be among the best in the world.