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Tea Garden Tour - The cup that cheers
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Assam Tea Garden Tea is an ideal beverage that fits into the healthy way of life. Hailed as the "elixir of life" and "wine of the nineties", this natural beverage has a string of qualities to bestow health and vitality.

A Pre-Confucius scholar, Chin Nung eulogized, "Tea is better than wine, for it leadeth not to intoxication: it is better than water, for it doth not carry disease; neither doth it act as a poison when the wells contain foul and rotten matter".

Again in the 8th century AD Luk you said, "Tea is a beverage that tempers the spirits, calms the mind, arouses thought and prevents drowsing; enlightens and refreshes the body and clears perceptive faculties".

From the upper reaches of the Himalayas in India in the land of the picturesque Ladakhis comes the most unusual way of preparing and drinking tea. Tea is a staple drink of the Ladakhis who make tea in the Tibetan way with butter, salt and baking soda.

In the beautiful valley of Kashmir, tea is again drunk extensively, as it is very cold for many months of the year. The Kashmiris have their own technique for brewing tea, known as Kahwa, flavored with cinnamon. They make tea in silver and copper samovars which are richly carved.

Tea is cultivated on a mammoth scale in the vast land of India. The Northeast region is studded with expansive tea estates in Assam and West Bengal.

Darjeeling Tea Gardens Verdant tea plantations now stretch along both the north and south banks of the mighty River Brahmaputra. There are hundreds of these tea gardens, big and small and Assam contributes the bulk of tea production of tea during and upto March 1998 was 24,750 thousand kilograms.

The early British planters established the tea industry meticulously and provided all comforts for themselves right from beautiful bungalows to mini airstrips, golf courses and other appurtenances of an urban life.

One has to see these colonial style bungalows set amidst the rolling green tea gardens. A perfect example is provided by a tea estate known as the Powai Tea Estate which is described in picturesque words "Dawn bathes the carpet of green in brilliant sunlight and the estate slowly awakens to the fresh morning air deliciously blended with the pure fragrance of young tea bushes".

Darjeeling and the Dooars in West Bengal offer the delicately flavored tea known as 'Lopchu' renowned the world over.

It is little known that the first plantation in Darjeeling dates back to 1852 when the size of the tea garden was a mere 40 hectares. But between 1852 and 1975, it grew into a large estate of 20,000 hectares.

Tea gardens breathe a soothing and peaceful ambiance amidst Nature's green verdure. Many of them have attracted tourists for a holiday amidst a balmy environment. Tea stations offer comfortable accommodation, sports and social activity in the clubs which have a hallowed history. The Gymkhana Club in Darjeeling retains its old world charm.In the north, Himachal Pradesh is widely known for its green tea, which is produced in plenty in Palampur and Dharamsala tea gardens. The majestic snow-capped Dhauladhar ranges form the backdrop for Dharamsala, which is situated on a spur of these mountains.

Tea Tasting The second largest agglomerate of tea gardens lies in the south-western and south-eastern stretches of India principally Coonoor in the Nilgiris of Tamil, Nadu. Its neighbor Ootacamund has a series of tea plantations, which produce fine varieties of tea.The cultivation of tea has contributed immensely to the socio-economic and cultural life of the country.

In another sphere, the tea industry has made its contribution and that is the empowerment of women.Of course, women were hitherto employed as tea leaf pluckers which are perhaps the lowest rung of the hierarchy but today women are not only tea tasters but also buyers, exporters, and heads of tea organizations and plantation managers.

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