When you hear the word ‘Darjeeling’, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? It is obviously tea. The delicacy and aroma of Darjeeling tea is highly acclaimed across the world. The extraordinary blend of rainfall, sunshine, altitude, soil and characteristics of Darjeeling people produce the most aromatic tea. So, Darjeeling tea is rightly called “Champagne of teas”. Around 1834 – a committee was appointed by Lord William Bentinck "to consider the question of importing seeds and plants from China; to decide upon the most favorable localities for growing them..." Around 1835 – distribution of tea seeds and seedlings were done in different regions of India, especially the hilly areas. Meanwhile tea seeds were launched in Darjeeling. In Lebong, a nursery was started as an experiment. This experimental nursery was pretty encouraging and its success influenced prospective tea manufacturers to acquire land in Darjeeling. Alubari, near Darjeeling and Makaibari, near Kurseong were the first tea estates in Darjeeling. Soon after this, Margaret's Hope, Moondakothi, Tukvar, Dooteriah tea gardens also started. Soon, local people adopted the trade process and worked in the factories. Local resident like Mr. Bhagatbir Rai and certain Europeans like Mr. George Christison, Mr. James White, Dr. Brougham, Mr. Smith, Capt. Samler, Capt. Masson, The Barnes Brother and Dr. Grant were the pioneers of Darjeeling tea production. Manufacturing and planting teas began in various parts of this town. By 1866 – 39 tea gardens grew in Darjeeling covering around 405 hectares. A highly qualified engineer, Mr. W. O'Brien Ansell, further helped in developing Darjeeling tea industry. He was the first to use power-driven tea sorters and tea rollers. Ansell was also the first engineer who surveyed a hydro-electric scheme to generate electricity in Darjeeling town. He also installed turbines in several tea gardens. By 1872 – tea manufacturing was completely revolutionized. In 1947 – many British owners, who were the proprietors of 90% of Darjeeling tea plantations, disposed off their properties. By 1956 – ownership of a huge number of tea gardens changed hands. Tea industry of Darjeeling owes a great deal to some European planters such as Mr. T.J. Hardingham and Mr. C.W. Emmett. They helped and supported Darjeeling tea. By 1960 – lots of replanting took place. By 1966 – Clonal Proving Station was opened by Tea Research Association that made clones of selective plants for selected replantation. At present – Darjeeling tea industry is experiencing good growth along with some rough patches. But as always , they are going to overcome all hurdles as they have to cater to millions of Darjeeling tea lovers worldwide. This is what the history of Darjeeling tea says till date…
Darjeeling Tea History - How It All Started?
Categories: Darjeeling Tea
Posted On: December 14, 2016
Posted By: Jayshree Admin