"Happy Valley Tea Estate" Darjeeling Things to Do Tip by Donna_in_India
Darjeeling Things to Do: 95 reviews and 244 photos
World-famous tea is Darjeeling's most famous export. Over 40,000 people work at the 100+ tea plantations ("gardens") in the area. Although this area produces 1/4 of India's tea (and that's alot of tea), still 80% is exported. Darjeeling tea is considered "mild" but tea from some of the estates is very high quality tea, with one estate getting paid $220 per kg. It is said that another estate, Margaret's Hope, supplies tea to Buckingham Palace. Darjeeling's black tea in considered one of the world's most prized varieties.
Happy Valley Tea Estate is the most convenient to Darjeeling. Between April to November, plucking and processing is in progress and the factory is open for tours. It is by no means a "high tech" place, it's actually quite dilapidated.
While we were there, the factory was closed because the season was over but our driver managed to find someone with a set of keys to give us a personal tour. It was interesting to see the place and learn about the working environment ? how the leaves are separated and dried, etc.
That particular place employed a couple of hundred people most working in the fields picking tea. They were required to pick 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of tea per day for Rupees 45 (about $1). If they picked less they were paid less. Over 1,000 kgs. were processed daily. The tea plants look like ?bushes? and you have to pick only the ?bottom? leaves. Mostly what was left on the plants at the time we visited were the unusable top leaves.
If you go during the season, you can visit between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. An employee will give you a tour. There's no charge, but a tip is expected.
On the drive to/from the estate, there are stands selling cups of different varieties of tea. Be sure to stop and try some!
Address: Lebong Cart Rd, Chauk Bazaar
Directions: About 2 miles from town.
Phone: +91 90079 95888
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