Canton Tea Club Week 16: Terai Black
The Marionbarie Tea Estate is situated in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India, but falls into the ‘Terai and Dooars’ – an area of grasslands, forests and savannas that spans both India and Nepal.
The Nepalese mainly call the area ‘Terai’, but this is synonymous with the name ‘Dooars’, a term mostly used in Northern India. ‘Dooars’ is derived from the word ‘doors’ – as the area is seen as the ‘doors to Bhutan’. The area is dense with natural forests that are interspersed with many tea gardens and criss-crossing rivers, with the eastern Himalays as a spectacular, ever-present back-drop.
Most English tea-drinkers will not have heard of Dooars – but tea production has been an integral part of the region for well over a century. However, the main attraction of the area has always been the wildlife. Home to endangered species such as rhino, tigers and leopards, whose natural habitat is being steadily reduced by illegal deforestation, the area has many wildlife sanctuaries, whose inhabitants are not unfamiliar with the sight of tea.
So, imposing mountainous scenery, lush green tea gardens, and the prospect of seeing some pretty amazing wildlife. I know where I want to go on my next holiday.