Tea tourism is basically about visiting tea gardens and staying out there if possible. There you get the chance to explore how the trade works and how the tea gardens are run that are generally spread across vast areas and the lush green plantations offer great views. They can be combined with visits to other nearby attractions. As we all know Assam is the heart of tea trade and it produces the most premium CTC tea in the world. Owing to their proximity to Assam, most other NE states have also started tea cultivation.
So basically in a Tea tour it includes all the major tea cultivation States of NE India accordingly to the interest of the traveller where and which area they want to explore.
ACTIVITIES INCLUDES IN A TEA TOUR
Most of the tea gardens, especially in Assam, came up during the British era. Tea planters built their own mansions in the middle of lush green tea gardens. So, many of these tea estates have turned their bungalows into heritage resorts for tourists. If you want to experience that colonial charm and luxury, a stay at a tea garden in Assam can provide you that. The most famous properties of this kind can be found in the Tea Estates pf Upper Assam districts of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Sonitpur etc.
In any tea estate, you can go for a tea tasting session. This is something like wine tasting, where an expert will introduce you to different types of tea and tell you a few things about them. Then you will taste a bit of then and learn to appreciate them.
Tea Garden & Factory Tours
The other essential activity in a tea garden is the tour of the garden and the factory. You can take a walk or a jeep ride through the garden, take photographs and learn about the process. Similarly, the factories give you additional insight into the trade.
Glimpse of the Tea Tribe culture
Especially in Assam, the tea garden workers have a unique history. They were originally from places like Odisha and Jharkhand, who were brought here by the British to work in the gardens. They are a sizeable population and they have their own song, dance, and culture that you can explore if you get time.
MAJOR TEA CULTIVATION STATES OF NE INDIA
Assam is the center of tea trade. Tea gardens can be found all over Assam although the concentration is higher on upper Assam. Many of these tea gardens have to converted colonial bungalows to boutique properties. I recently stayed at Sapoi Tea Estate where a 100-year-old bungalow is now hosting guests. We also attended a tea tasting session, got a tour of the garden, and learned a thing or two about the trade. There are other such properties spread across Assam. The best-known properties are to be found in districts like Sonitpur, Darrang, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, etc. on both northern and southern banks of the Brahmaputra.
Considering its proximity to Darjeeling, Sikkim has a similar landscape and climate suitable for tea although it basically has one major tea estate which is famous and is a major tourist attraction too. It is called Temi Tea Estate and it is a short drive from the town of Namchi in South Sikkim. It is a beautiful estate that looks better due to the hilly terrain. It also has a property where you can stay but you can also simply make a day visit. You can also but packaged organic tea from the shops here.
Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram have also some Tea Estates but not yet not ventured into the tourism aspect. Some of them have tourist lodges but overall the tourist infrastructure is not as extensive as in Assam.
Darjeeling and Dooars
The Darjeeling & Dooars region of North Bengal is famous for tea estates and they are well developed for tourism too. Nevertheless, these are officially not part of NE but we will provide the service as per the interest of the travellers.