India is one of the largest tea producers in the world and almost seventy per cent of it is consumed by Indians themselves. We can owe this to our incredibly diverse climate! The blessed South Asian monsoon produces a strong seasonality of precipitation, with dry winters and wet summers. Precipitation varies greatly based on where you are, but this is great news for tea drinkers everywhere.s you may already know, the tea plant has high moisture requirements. This means that only the wetter parts of India are suitable for growing tea. These include the Western Ghats, which catch moisture coming off the Indian ocean, and Northeast India, which has across-the-board higher precipitation even in lowland areas.
Most of the best-known tea-growing regions of India are located in the northeastern corner of India, near the foothills of the Himalayan mountains, and near the borders with Bangladesh and Nepal. These regions predominantly include Darjeeling and Assam, alongside Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jalpaiguri, and Sikkim. Although a band of similar climate extends west and north along the length of the Himalayas, almost the whole way to the border with Pakistan, there are only small, isolated tea gardens in the far northern areas, such as Himachal Pradesh.
South India has some important tea-growing regions as well, along the mountain range that runs north-south along the west coast of south India. The region in South India best-known for tea is Nilgiri/Conoor, and Kerala/Travancore also produces tea. As one travels east along the Deccan Plateau, the rainfall quickly dwindles, leaving only a narrow band along the western edge of the country where tea is grown.
So if you are a tea lover, then you must visit the following destinations where you can have your perfect cup of tea while looking at the 5 most scenic tea plantations:
One of India’s more popular hill stations, it has some of the most scenic tea plantations that produce around twenty five per cent of India’s total tea output. Established by an Englishman, the Happy Valley Tea Estate located around 3 km north of town grows some of the finest tea in Darjeeling and has a long history. It is over 2,750 m above sea level, making it one of the highest tea gardens in the world.
When to go: March to November during the season of tea plucking; it is best to avoid the monsoon season from June to September.
Located in India’s north east, it is the largest tea producing region in the country. Mostly grown in the Brahmaputra valley the Assam tea leaves are bright in colour. It is best to stay near the tea estate so that you can get a feel for what it’s like to live on a tea estate and see how tea is made. A good place for accommodation would be the Banyan Grove in Gatoonga Tea Estate near Jorhat.
When to go: The best time to visit is between mid May to June end for the best tea. A Tea Festival is held in Jorhat every November.
The moment you enter Munnar, a popular hill station in Kerala, you’ll be welcomed by stunning lush tea plantations. We will recommend you to visit India’s first Tea Museum at Nallathanni Estate to take a look at the history of tea production in Munnar. You can also visit Kundale Tea Plantation, nearby a lake, to witness the entire tea making process.
When to go: The best time to visit is from August to May, although winters are very cold during December and January.
The hilly Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu, in south India, is known for its typical dark and intensely aromatic tea. Coonoor is an outstanding place to discover Nilgiri tea. You can start your tea trail from the Highfield Tea Factory, around one kilometre from Sim’s Park. Or simply, stay in Coonoor at the charming Tea Nest on Singara Tea Estate. Get there by taking a ride on the renowned Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train.
When to go: Tea is produced throughout the year in Nilgiri. However, the best time to visit is during the winter months (late November to mid February).
Wayanad, a lush mountainous agricultural area of Kerala, also produces major amount of tea, in addition to coffee and spices. Most of the tea plantations in Kerala are located south of Kalpetta. You can visit and stay at Parisons Plantation Experiences. This gorgeous and serene property has two luxurious bungalows, situated on a sprawling tea estate with a two hundred year old history. If this is not enough for you then you can visit tea factories here and spend your afternoons at the Planters Club.
When to go: April to September is the best time to visit this region.
The Kangra valley’s tea region is the smallest in the whole of India. Tea production started here in mid-19th century, in 1852, 12 years after the gardens in Darjeeling were planted. Today, there are around 6,000 tea gardens in Kangra. Nearly all of them produce the orthodox black tea. But estates like Mann Tea Estate of the Dharamsala Tea Company have expanded to produce limited quantities of exception handrolled oolong tea and silver needle white tea, while estates like Wah produce high quality green teas as well.
When to go: September to June is the best time to visit this region