Happy Valley Tea Estate is a tea garden in Darjeeling district of West Bengal established in 1854; it is Darjeeling's second oldest tea estate. Spread over 177 hectares, it is situated at a height of 6,900 ft above sea level, 3 kilometers north of Darjeeling. This tea estate is the closest to Darjeeling town, and which would offer trips around the factory and tea tasting.
The months of April to June are the busiest time here when plucking and processing are in progress and employs more than 1500 people. David Wilson named the garden Wilson Tea Estate and had started cultivation of tea by 1860. In 1903, the estate was taken over by an Indian, Tarapada Banerjee, an aristocrat from Hooghly. In 1929, Banerjee bought the Windsor Tea Estate nearby and merged the two estates under the name of Happy Valley Tea Estate.
Happy Valley Tea Estate
S K Bansal, of Ambootia Tea Group taken over the tea estate in March 2007, when the tea industry was facing a dip in business for nearly four years. He established a new factory within the premises, and started the modernisation process, replanting and switching to organic farming. Finally, the estate reopened to the public in 2008, with the original factory turned into a working museum. It also displayed single-piston, slow-speed engines, and the shaft machines and sells tea-related mementos.
In 2008, the hand-rolled tea produced by Happy Valley was chosen to be sold at Harrods in the United Kingdom, with prices ranging from INR 5,000 - 6,000 per kg. The bushes in the garden are very old — the minimum age is 80 years, and some are 150 years old. Very little re-plantation has been done in the recent past. Tourists regularly visit the garden. It is open Tuesday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tourists can buy tea packets for loved ones and in INR 100 they show tea making process to people.
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