MONSOONS IN THE TEA GARDENS OF ASSAM
8 Nights/9 Days
Monsoon is when the state of Assam receives wholesome rainfall. Starting from June, the rain is more or less active for the next 3 to 4 months until October. It is the time of the year when the landscape of Assam, which consist of farms, tropical forests, grasslands and tea plantations, changes its color to a very soothing and refreshing green, fresh from the rain brought by monsoon clouds. It is also the time of the year when the Brahmaputra River becomes a place of mighty sunsets and mesmerizing gigantic cloud formations can be seen across the skies.
The history of Assam Tea goes back more than a century ago. It was a certain Robert Bruce from Scotland, an adventurer, who first discovered it for the west in 1823. Locally, tea was being consumed by the Singpho Tribe, who provided samples to Bruce for his scientific research. However, it was only in the early 1830s when proper examination concluded the Assam variety to be different from the Chinese tea. Soon after in 1939, at the time when the west had just begun their love-affair with tea, Britain allowed companies to rent lands for growing tea. More than a decade later, when the first batch of Assam grown tea reached the markets in London, consumers were deeply impressed and thus began the tea industry of Assam. The colonial days saw tea growers who were an adventurous breed. They introduced a laid-back lifestyle in the region, which involved staying in luxurious bungalows and engaging in social/sports events which occurred in clubhouses. Though today the laid-back lifestyle is disappearing due to the global competitive market, the tea plantations still have an aura of their colonial past. After all, the state of Assam is today the world’s largest tract of land growing tea plantations.
The highlight of this tour will be your stay in 3 different boutique heritage bungalows spread across Assam, all of which have a rich history. Their colonial decor; set midst unending miles of freshly green tea plantations, will provide the perfect luxury and atmosphere to spend your days appreciating the monsoon season, while you sip on some of finest of the Assam variety of tea. There are a lot of activities included to keep you busy at times when the rain is less or the sun is out, such as tea tastings and visits to tea factories, tea auction center, tea research center, local markets and villages. Depending on the river and weather conditions, you might also get a chance to go on a sunset boat ride in the Brahmaputra and visit the island of Majuli, a hotbed of ancient Assamese culture. The cuisine will many times be exotic, consisting of tribal, Assamese and Indian cuisine. There is also a chance for an informal cooking lesson with organic produces grown locally and a tea time elephant trek which will leave you thrilled.
To end with, to appreciate the monsoon weather without getting wet, we recommend you bring along a good raincoat for this journey. Also, being summer time, it will get quite hot on days when it won’t be raining, for which light cotton cloths are perfect.
- Stay in boutique heritage bungalows to experience the rich lifestyle of the colonial tea growing days.
- Go for tea tasting tours where you will get to taste different grades of the finest Assam Tea.
- Visit tea factories to learn about processes involved in tea production.
- Go for leisurely walks in the tea plantations, interact with the leave gatherers and pluck your own leaves.
- Visit Tea Research Association’s experiment station at Tocklai.
- Visit the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre, the second largest in the world in terms of volume of exchange.
- Visit villages to experience the simple lifestyles of the Indian countryside.
- Depending on conditions, go for scenic boat rides in Asia’s mighty Brahmaputra River.
- Visit the cultural island of Majuli to learn about the ages old Xatriya culture of Assam.
- Pluck your own organic produces for an informal cooking lesson.
- Go on a delightful tea time elephant trek.
- Visit medieval ruins of the Ahom Dynasty and other significant ancient temples.
- Visit local markets and craft shops.
- Taste ethic cuisine.
From June to September, which are the monsoon months in India. Note that July and August are the peak rainy months.
After arrival at Dibrugarh Airport, transfer to a heritage bungalow nearby owned by the prestigious Jalan group. Afternoon will be free at leisure to get a feel of the plantations, followed by evening tea and a visit to the upbeat market area of the town. Overnight in bungalow.
Go for an early morning stroll into the tea gardens, the best time to experience the therapeutic aromas and the plantations fresh with new leaves and greenery. Later after a leisurely breakfast, you will leave for a guided tour of the tea factory to learn about the various processes involved in the production of tea and if possible have a conversation with the manager. Afternoon and evening will be free at leisure to relax in the peaceful ambience of the lush green plantations and of the monsoons if raining. To experience a spectacular sunset, a boat ride can be organized in the mighty Brahmaputra River depending on the river conditions and weather.
After breakfast, leave for Jorhat District (4 hours) to arrive at a boutique heritage bungalow for your stay. En route you will be visiting the architecturally rich medieval ruins of the Ahom Dynasty that once ruled Assam for more than 600 mighty years. You will also visit the Tea Research Association at Tocklai where pioneering experiments and research is conducted to help tea growers. You will get a chance to interact with some of the scientists and professionals who are experts in their field. Evening will be free at leisure.
After breakfast at leisure, you’ll leave for a guided visit to a nearby factory, followed by a tea tasting tour of the different grades of tea produced in the factory. After lunch, you’ll be visiting some nearby villages to observe the simple and sustainable lifestyle of the Indian countryside. Later in the evening, a cultural dance performance can be organized if there’s a group of more than 4 persons.
Depending on the weather and on the river condition, for a day excursion, you will leave for Majuli (2 hours), which is the largest inhabited river island of the world and a hotbed of ages-old Assamese culture. En route cross the mighty Brahmaputra River in a scenic ferry ride. Spend the day visiting monasteries of the island where you will meet monks who live a peaceful life learning forms of Assamese xatriya arts, drama, music, dance and philosophy. Lunch will be in a village house where you will get to taste various ethnic Missing dishes cooked by a very hospitable family. Return to bungalow by dusk for overnight. Evening will be at leisure. (*If this day excursion is not possible, alternatively time can be spent viewing some nearby villages and relaxing in the bungalow).
After breakfast, leave for Adabari Tea Estate near Balipara (4-5 hours) for stay in a boutique planter’s bungalow owned by the Williamson Magor Group, one of the biggest tea companies of the world. Afternoon and evening will be free at leisure to get acquainted with the feel of the plantation and the bungalow. As bungalows have their own little organic farms, you may want to pluck some of the produces and learn to cook them in a local way in an informal cooking lesson.
After breakfast, leave for a tea tasting tour and a factory visit guided by an expert. Later in the afternoon, you will get to experience a unique tea time elephant trek, giving you a chance to interact with an elephant and its mahout, and stroll around the plantations and nearby villages. Alternatively, you may also choose a leisurely cycle tour instead of an elephant. Evening at leisure.
After a leisurely breakfast, leave for Guwahati City (7-8 hours). En route you will visit some of the off-beaten ancient Hindu temples that exist in and around the town of Tezpur. Evening will be at leisure. You may choose to go on a last day shopping in the local markets. Overnight will be in a standard hotel with good modern amenities.
After an early breakfast, you’ll leave for a visit to the Tea Auction Centre at Guwahati if it is open. It is the world’s second largest auction centre of tea and the largest for CTC tea. Learn about how the tea market functions and meet with experts of the industry. Later, go for a brief visit to the Guwahati Kalakshetra which is a brilliant government initiative dedicated to showcasing various tribal arts and crafts of the region. Leave for the airport for an afternoon/evening departure flight to Kolkata. Tour ends.
Mancotta Heritage Bungalow, Dibrugarh Tea Plantations
Banyan Grove Heritage Bungalow, Jorhat Tea Plantations
Wild Mahseer Heritage Bungalow, Adabarie Tea Plantations
* The above accommodations are subject to availability. If unavailable, a suitable alternative will be provided for, without any compromise on the quality of your stay.
Price & Booking
Price & Booking Information
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Tracking the monsoons - In Guwahati
Tea Production Process - By Assam Heritage Tea
- Monsoon: A season of transformation. (sandeshkadur.com)
- Life on the tea garden. (punjana.wordpress.com)
- In the lap of green tea plants. (easternpanorama.in)
- Awesome Assam III - Tea gardens. (anuradhagoyal.blogspot.in)
- Monsoons in Assam and Shillong. (bcmtouring.com)
- A sunny day after monsoon rain. (blog)
- Monsoon photography of greenery. (musings81.blogspot.in)
- A tale of tea plantations and golf. (blog)