Darjeeling, Toy Train and tea plantations, my trip to India
Farewell to India
After a good night’s sleep and a small breakfast, I say goodbye to the Bamboo Retreat Hotel in Sikkim – but I’ll be back, that’s for sure. There is still so much to see here and as an oasis of calm, this place is really incomparable! On to Darjeeling, the last place on my tour./p>
Darjeeling much more than tea!
I am very excited about this place on earth. On the way there, we make a stop at Temi Tea, walk through the tea plantations, spontaneously visit the factory and are even allowed to take part in a small tea tasting. In total, over 1,000 people work in the plantation and Temi Tea is one of the largest tea producers in Sikkim.
Tea cultivation in Darjeeling goes back to the Englishman Archibald Campbell (1805-1874). He was the first to experiment with different types of tea in his private garden in the Darjeeling region. In 1841, Campbell brought back tea seeds from the Kumaun region from his research trips as a botanist and began growing tea near his residence Beechwood in Darjeeling on an experimental basis. At the end of the 1840s, numerous tea experts were sent to the region on the instructions of the government and already noted Doctor Campbell’s first successes. As the area around Darjeeling was sparsely populated at this time, the British occupying power decided to bring in workers from the border region with Nepal to take care of planting, cultivation, harvesting and processing.
The first 30 or so tea gardens were established in 1866, which were then further expanded. This success led to the founding of the Darjeeling Company in 1864, which was renamed the Darjeeling Consolidated Tea Company in 1896.
Today, the Darjeeling tea industry employs around 75,000 workers, around a quarter of whom are employed as seasonal workers during the harvest period from March to November on the approximately 18,000 hectares of cultivated land.
Perfectly organized tour with great hotels!
We spend the night in the most beautiful hotel in the whole city, the Windamere Hotel. It is located on Observatory Hill, a well-known landmark. The Windamere Hotel does indeed offer the highest level of luxury in colonial style, but the rooms are equipped with TV and WLAN. Each room also has a seating area with a sofa, a private bathroom and a view of the garden. A private fireplace is lit in the evening and there is even a hot water bottle just before bedtime.
We are warmly welcomed by the Canadian owner and later enjoy an excellent dinner with wine and steak together.
Immediately after our arrival and a refreshing shower, we visit a Tibetan Buddhist monastery right next to the hotel. A large bell hangs at the entrance, which is rung by every visitor.
The market square is a hive of activity, with food being prepared at stalls, corn on the cob being grilled and children riding donkeys. We wander through the town, visit tea stores, jewelry stores and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the many colorfully dressed people. In a bookshop, I buy an Indian cookbook and a few earrings as souvenirs.
An experience in India: the narrow-gauge Toy Train
Der The “Toy Train” at the station and Kangchendzönga in the distance are the highlights of the city walk. Unfortunately, there was far too little time to visit the surrounding tea plantations. However, when I leave the next day, I promise to come back and take more time then.
A little sad, I make my way to Bagdora airport the next day. In October, I’ll be heading back to India, starting in Delhi again, but then going to Mumbai and on to Goa. I will also be very happy to have Helen Kämpf plan my next tour and provide me with valuable tips. Many thanks to Terralaya Travels and the Bamboo Retreat Hotel team for organizing my tour so well.