Darjeeling Tea Tourism
Darjeeling tea is one of the world's finest black teas. The known history of Darjeeling tea dates back to about 150 years when a British civil surgeon, Dr Campbell first planted the seeds in his garden on an experimental basis.
The first commercial production of tea was started by British planters in 1852. Takvar near Darjeeling was one of the first tea gardens set up around this time.
Darjeeling then was a small town used by the British and the affluent Jamindars as a summer respite. The manufacturing of Tea is a labour-intensive process. The requirement of the gardens drew people from across the border of Nepal to come and settle down in Darjeeling. Till today people of Nepalese origin constitute the largest section of the locals in Darjeeling.
At present, there are close to 100 tea gardens producing the famous 'Darjeeling tea'. In the foothills, a large number of gardens produce the 'Dooars tea' and the 'Terai tea'. But the taste and aroma of the Darjeeling variety remain unmatched throughout the world.
The total area under cultivation of 'Darjeeling Tea' is about 19,000 hectares and annual production reaches 10 million kgs. The industry employs more than 50 thousand people directly. A large number of others are engaged in plucking the tea during the season.
Tea and tourism are the main two industries of the region both are labor-intensive sectors providing employment to a large section of the people. The turnover of the Darjeeling tea industry is estimated to be about USD 7.5 million, larger than the earnings from the tourism industry.