Have You Been to Sikkim's Only Tea Garden?

Have You Been to Sikkim's Only Tea Garden?
The Temi Tea Estate with a rhododendron branch in the foreground, Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

The next time you're in Ravangla or Namchi, don't skip a tea-tasting tour to this quaint hub of rare Sikkim tea

OT Staff
May 10 , 2021
06 Min Read

What do we talk about when we talk about tea in India? Darjeeling, Assam and Kangra—don't we? But if we told you that you're not a real tea aficionado if you haven't tasted Sikkim tea, that other, almost unknown variant of the northeast? The little Himalayan state we all visit for its beautiful monasteries, sublime lakes and thrilling treks, is also home to a small, scenic tea estate.

The tea from this estate in Temi, close to Namchi and Ravangla in South Sikkim, is marketed as Temi Tea. The yield from this small tea garden is heralded as a top-notch quality tea internationally. At the Temi Tea Garden one can not only take a tea-tasting tour, but also explore the area’s cardamom plantations. Established in 1969 by the state government, the 453-acre area also has cardamom plantations, cherry blossom trees and enchanting views of Khangchengdzonga.
Pluckers at the pretty Temi Tea Estate

Read: This Cafe Gives A Whole New Twist to Railway Chai

Next-door neighbour Darjeeling may be famous for its tea, but Sikkim, too, produces world-class organic tea—at the state's only tea garden, the Temi Tea Garden in South Sikkim. The Tea Board has also been trying to get a GI tag for Sikkim's unique tea, all of whose four flushes are loved by tea experts all over the world.

You can book a heritage stay at the dak bungalow and take a flashback trip to the days of the Raj or just experience local culture at the beautiful homestays here. The heritage bungalow has a glass verandah overlooking a poppy garden where you can enjoy a cup of Temi and some snacks. You can also sign up for tea tasting or view the tea-making process, and pick up packets of garden-fresh tea.

 

 
 
 
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Read: Nuxalbari: One of the Rare Tea Estates Run by a Woman Planter

The road to the factory is lined with a beautiful array of cherry blossom trees—it’s best to come here in the winter when trees are in full bloom and the snow-capped mountain ranges are clearly visible. Temi Tea Garden can be reached by either car or bus from spots like Namchi, Pelling, Ravangla, and Gangtok.

 
 
 
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The other great time to be here is when the Temi Autumn Carnival takes place (November). The three-day cultural festival that was first held in 2018, is a unique event that features cultural performances, fashion exhibitions, a colourful mela and other attractions that are packaged to pitch Temi as a tea tourism hub in a much bigger way. Do not miss the Yak Dance performance when you're here.

 
 
 
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GETTING THERE
The nearest airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal (which is around 102 kms from Namchi). Bagdogra is a domestic airport and is connected to the nearest international airport in Kolkata, West Bengal. From Namchi you can either hire a car to reach Temi which is about 20km away. Helicopter service: Bagdogra-Gangtok (35mins/Rs 3,500/ pax); shared taxi: Gangtok-Ravangla (71km/3hrs) Rs 200/pax

By Train: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal (around 96 kms from Namchi from where one can avail trains to different parts of the country). From Namchi, one can hire a car to reach Temi, which is about 20km away

By Road: Namchi is approximately about 92 kms from Siliguri. The Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) buses ply regularly from Namchi to towns within the state and Siliguri. Private taxis are also available on regular basis for hire or on shared basis. From Namchi you can hire a car to reach Temi which is around 20km away


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