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India Tea Adventures, Part II

One of the first things that comes to mind when I hear 'India' is a childhood memory of my reading A Little Princess by F.H. Burnett. The protagonist was Sara Crewe who lived the first 7 years of her life with her father, a sea captain in Bombay. Because 'the climate of India was very bad for children' she had to go to boarding school in England as most little children did whose British parents lived in India back in the late 1800s. There were lots of references to Missee Sahib and a delightful friend, Ram Dass. Like Sara, I thought of India as a place close to my heart. And here I am, now a grandmother, planning a trip to Sara's land!

[caption id="attachment_2129" align="aligncenter" width="600"]My very old copy of A Little Princess My very old copy of A Little Princess[/caption]

On the second day of my upcoming trip we will awake in Darjeeling and travel to Thurbo Tea Estate located in the lush picturesque valley of Mirik at an altitude ranging from 980m to 2440m. It is the largest Darjeeling tea property. I look forward to roaming the gardens, sharing tea stories, and learning more about tea growing and harvesting as we engage with the workers.

The following day we will wake before dawn to view the sunrise over Mt. Kanchendzonga and the Buddhist (Ghum) Ghoom Monastery before breakfast!

Darjeeling is a tourist destination, so the Tea Board has planned a day of sight seeing. We will be visiting the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and PNZ Zoological Park, Tenzing Rock, Tibetan Self Help Refuge Centre, Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda.

After all of this excitement, an overnight 'halt' at Darjeeling will be most welcome!

I was hoping that a visit to the estate called Margaret's Hope might be on the agenda, but though it is a well-known estate, established in 1885, it will not be on this tour. The Darjeeling tea that I carry at the market and in my online store is from Margaret's Hope re-named after the estate owner's daughter who fell ill and died on a voyage from India to England in the 1930s. It is a second flush tea (which means that it is harvested between end of May and end of June) and is the Grade TGFOP which means Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. It is described as having the taste of muscatel grapes. The liquor is light to medium colour. I love enjoying a cup of it for afternoon tea!

I can't wait to sip many of the Darjeeling-grown teas. We will be offered tasting opportunities I am sure!

I will continue my pre-adventure posts next week as we head back to Kolkata and on to Assam. Until then, happy tea-times, my friend! I leave you with an excerpt from A Little Princess:

"On the hob was a little brass kettle, hissing and boiling; spread upon the floor was a warm, thick rug; before the fire was a folding-chair, unfolded and with cushions upon it, by the chair was a small folding-table, unfolded, covered with a white cloth, and upon it were spread small covered dishes, a cup and saucer, and a tea-pot...The little, cold, miserable room seemed changed into Fairyland. It was actually warm and glowing. "

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