To me Darjeeling is a mysterious land – a land mixed with my imagination, stories, nostalgia and love. It is not surprising that I grew up drinking or rather smelling Darjeeling tea. I remember visiting our neighborhood tea stores from where my father used to buy loose leaf tea regularly. I vividly remember the aroma that used to come out of those wooden tea boxes as soon as the store owner would take the lead off them, and somehow this aroma represents some of my most cherished childhood memories. In a way this smell from these wooden chest boxes represents my childhood. And even though I moved out of Calcutta quite early in my life, sipping a good tea has already become a habit. I always used to carry my Darjeeling tea from Calcutta every time I was visiting the city or otherwise I would plead my brother to courier me some. 20 years back both were quite an ordeal.
I don’t remember when this habit turned into a passion. That I am working with tea, running a tea group, conducting workshops, and writing about it are all the culmination of my habit turning into passion. My staple tea every morning and evening is always a Darjeeling tea, though I do drink and taste various other teas and tisanes quite frequently as well.
Thinking back my last visit to this Himalayan hill station was when I was in my school. That did not seem fair! I have been dealing with a few tea growers from Darjeeling for a while now and regularly order Darjeeling teas for my own consumption as well as for my workshops; but I realised I do really need to pay a visit to the land of the beautiful teas where my tea comes from regularly.
A Trip to Darjeeling was long overdue.
Therefore, the Darjeeling Tea Trail that I undertook last month was almost like my pilgrimage to the land of the Champagne Tea. I could managed only 2 days for my tea trail but it was exhilarating, informative, fun and wonderful.
… I completed my Darjeeling Tea Trail in March 2019; all stories are being published here. (update)
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