Friday, March 23, 2012

A trip to a small tea garden : Bamonjuli Assam

road from Naamkhola to Bamunjuli
    The second part of my post :Magh-bihu-2012-fish-catching-meji-and a sagolir puwali
Assam is the world's largest tea-growing region .Tea industry in Assam is about 170 yrs old playing a significant role in state economy . It produces approx 51% of the tea produced in country and about 1/6th of the tea produced in world.The distinctive black teas from Assam is known for its body, briskness, malty flavor, and strong, bright color. Assam teas, or blends containing Assam, are often sold as "breakfast" teas . The Assam tea bush grows in a lowland region. Assam mainly exports its tea to Europe ,Middle East countries and also to Pakistan ,Eygpt ,Israel and Japan. Most of the large tea gardens are located in the Upper Assam and Southern Barak Valley region. . I always
wanted to write a post on one such lush green tea garden with a detailed account on how things work in there BUT my post today is based on a trip to a very small tea garden which  is in its initial stage .Small tea growers are also contributing to the develpment of tea industry .My brother-in-law is one such small tea grower.
Two years back he bought this tea garden which is situated at Bamonjuli a village around 40km  away from our native village.His garden shares the border with the famous Borengajuli Tea Estate.The above picture is of Borengajuli Tea Estate. Borengajuli Estate produces the most fabulous graden teas popular all over the world .Read more on it here and here at Culinary Teas .
Bamunjuli is about an hour drive away from our village Naamkhola.The road condition is not that good. Kanu da made this double storey house as a safety measure because of regular wild elephant visits .
It is a very very quite village. Most of the villagers here work in gardens as labourers .
This is Kanu da's nursery where they grow and store small tea plants.He usually sells the tea leaf to the tea auction centre of the area like all other small tea growers but recently a Canadian delegate visited his garden and showed their interest in buying organic-tea directly from him.The delegate had come to visit mostly small tea growers of Assam.He is also keen on growing green tea and is working on it.
      This is how a tea flower looks like.
These are the homes of the villagers he bought the garden land from . They are the one who keep an eye on the garden in his absence.
An educational tour for the kids by their dear uncle . Kids come up with different stories everytime they see me sipping my tea .
This house belongs to a comparatively rich villager .
 The village has a govt school but most of the kids  don't go there. Kanu da tried to convince the villagers to encourage their kids to go to school but it made no difference. Most of the kids here are sent to the  city and nearby towns to work as domestic helps.
 A view from the house .Watering and taking care of the trees is a tough work . Soon the tea leave plucking season will start and a lot of activity is expected here.
Kids had fun running up and down . My son got some tea leaves tucked in his jacket pocket for me knowing how much I love tea.
To protect their crops and houses villagers use these arrows to chase away the wild elephants .They put fire on arrow and shoot it into the air when elephants attack.There are many sad stories related to animal poaching but because of legal reasons I can't share it here.

After lunch the group returned to Naamkhola ,had tea and refreshments. Bablu and Puja helped in packing sweets ,home made pithas , curd/yogurt for me and eggs for their cousins.
 After a tearful farewell they came back to Guwahati.

87 comments:

  1. Very interesting account of the tea garden. It is the first time I could see a tea flower. It is really sad that the children in the village do not go to school and are sent to towns to work as domestic helps.

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    1. In the past majority of domestic helps in Assam used to come from homes of garden labourers.

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  2. Kavita; Thank you for sharing this amazing outing with us! I lived on coffee land on Hawaii island...this is similar but unique...I posted this to my FaceBook wall and Pinterest. You enrich my life-

    Warm Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    >< } } ( ° >

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    1. Thank you so much Cloudia ,you are beautiful:)

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  3. Interesting, I did not know that elephants can be a real danger!

    Life and travelling
    Cooking

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    1. With increasing encroachment of jungles they have less space to live ,hence this happens.

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  4. This is so interesting , beautiful INDIA .... thank you for sharing the lovely pictures ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Beautiful India !Thanks Bikram.

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  5. Thank you so much for the wonderful post Kavita di..And yes i never saw a tea flower before in my life..!!!
    Keep writing :D
    You didn't mentioned about kaustubh's gun pic..!!??

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    1. Oh ,that gun is Kanuda's dads .For three days Kaustubh kept the gun near him so it was heartbreaking when he had to part with it .lol:)

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  6. Wow Kavita. You are so lucky and the kids too for experiencing this. Being bred in the city, I really miss having a village to go to or take my kids too. And tea has flowers too! I did not know that. The two-storey house is so charming. So thoughtful of your son to take tea leaves for you :). Do one post on tea processing too. I have always found that fascinating. Great pictures once again.

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    1. Even I want to write on it someday soon.With so many friends and patients working for gardens we do get invites to have a dekho at the factories ,hope soon we make it.Thanks.

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  7. Fascinating photos! Interesting that they heat the arrows before shooting them in the air to ward off the elephants. I guess for the same reason they must build 2 storey houses, eh? Your son is so handsome, Kavita! He must be a joy to have around. Does he still fight with his sister over her violin? Lol.

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    1. Yes ,the double storey house is to keep a safe distance from the elephants ,specially at nights.Gigi ,Kaustubh is my best companion as he loves to talk and yes he still fights with his sister over her violin.

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  8. Loved this post . And also loved how you and your family keep in touch with your roots. Not many children today, are fortunate to have the actual experiences your children do, of living in a big town, but also being able to enjoy the rural ethos. The tea flower was a revelation, as were all the goodies you were lugging back to Guwahati :-) .

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    1. One class friend of my daughter made fun of her by asking why she always goes to a village when many other friends go to exotic holidays.I am glad that the comment hardly effected her because she loves every minute of her holidays at Naamkhola.For me too that tea flower is a revelation.Thanks for reading:)

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  9. Very beautiful account of a tea garden. I have never visited one. So this was a new experience for me. I have heard about wild elephant attacks though, it sounds really scary.
    Hope you have a lovely weekend Kavita:)

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    1. Elephant attacks are scary Arti ,that's the reason we avoid overnight stays there.Thanks for reading .Have a wonderful weekend:)

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  10. interesting to read and great visuals....thanks

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  11. Kavita: this was very informative, even for a fellow Assamese. Thank you. There is something unique about Assam's greenery-I am surrounded by greenery here in the US but it never compares the 'green' you get back home. It is beautifully luscious and vibrant.

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    1. I agree with you Sukanya ,home is always the best :)
      Loved seeing you here .Thanks.

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  12. Kavita Ba, Nice to read your post & Beautiful photos.Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Rupam I am glad you liked it.Thanks.

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  13. I just realized that I have never seen a tea flower before... Everything has a first:)) Excellent post

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  14. Fascinating stuff ..... living in a country noted for our love of tea, I had no idea about most of the things you mention, the fact that the plant produced such pretty yellow flowers is a complete revelation to me.

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    1. Most of our tea goes to your country Tracy :)
      Thanks .

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  15. I too had never seen a tea flower before - they are beautiful! I am very much in favor of people who run small farms and businesses. What a wonderful privilege to be able to visit such a vibrant place, and be able to participate in such a tradition! :=}

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    1. I agree ,it indeed is a wonderful privilege .Great to see you here Clytie :)
      Thanks.

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  16. Wow , tea/coffee gardens are always pleasure to visit ..... Have visited a lot of tea/coffee garden in Chikkamagalur and Coorg .

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    1. Thanks .I have never been to a coffee garden .Do write a post on one of your visits:)

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  17. would love to stay there for a couple of days!

    lovely pics and wonderful narration!

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  18. I have never seen a tea flower before. When we went to Munnar, it was not season for the flowers, I think. It looks beautiful, Kavita.

    It is sad to know that the kids are not allowed to go to school. Very sad.

    The villager's house with ladder, is interesting.

    I used to take my children to my village when they were kids, like you are doing now. Now, all my relatives have shifted to the cities and we go there just to visit the temple. It will be a happy memory for your kids when they grow up.

    Yours is a lovely family, Kavita. God bless you.

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    1. Kanu da is our big connection to village Sandhya .Sooh his kids are coming to stay with us to experience some city life like going to KFC , Dominos, movie hall , amusement parks.Good exchane programmes:):)
      Thank you so much for your kind wishes ,they mean a lot:)

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    1. I am good Steve , good to see you here after long.Thanks.

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  20. K, I have not seen a flower on a tea bush, though I have traveled quite a bit on tea estates. Looks like orchid!

    fascinating yet again the way you pick up subjects to blog.
    Tea estates are always exotic. But the sad story behind every tree plantation is the making way of much of the native flora and fauna to the commercial farming of TEA.

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    1. BTW , nice new profile picture.

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  21. I must thank Chandan for getting me that tea-flower picture ,even I had not seen one before.You are right Anil , the poor villagers sell their crop land to the growers and it was shocking to learn that they spend all money that they get mostly on alcohol.
    Anil my sincerest thanks to you for your constant support and encouragement .

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  22. Looks like every nook and corner of Assam is a tourist destination…

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  23. I always love Assam tea for its strength and color. We also love Darjeeling tea which is very light and flavorful, but when mixed with Assam tea it would taste really wonderful, with color, flavor and strength. Nice to know about your brother in law's venture into tea growing. Wish him all the best.

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    1. I do exactly the same, mix Darjeeling and Assam tea,tastes wonderful.Thanks Rama.

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  24. very good account of a tea estate

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  25. Kavitaji, Forgive this weekend browser for being late here. 'Assam Bush tea grows in lowland region'. Now that's news to me, because I always thought tea grew only in higher altitudes. Tea landscapes were always the bared mountain landscapes; till now.

    Great pictures; each is so detailed and so self-contained. Interesting gun there. Local made? You should've given a little more info there, for the boys like me! :-)

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    1. Balan ,this is an air gun bought by Kanuda's dad and used excessively by both Chandan and Kanu da.All those three days that kids stayed at village Kaustubh played with it most of the times so it was hard to part with it when rthe time came ,.hence the tears.
      Thanks :)

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  26. Lugar lindo, paisagens bonitas.
    Vida junto da natureza.
    Boa semana!
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil
    ¸.•°`♥✿⊱╮

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  27. how fascinating, I've never seen how tea grows...thanks for the education into another life style and country...

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  28. Tea gardens are a heaven and this post brought back the memories of visit too one such garden in Assam! I envy you, Kavita to live in such places and breathe fresh air:)

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  29. Interesting pics..i really enjoyed your blog

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  30. Every post of your adds more ticks in favor of Assam. as our next holiday destination!
    Have never been to a tea garden... so this was very insightful and interesting too! Thks for sharing! :)

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  31. Very interesting, Kavita. This makes one not take our tea for granted. I was very sad to read about the kids not being educated. I think only economic conditions drive people to do that - nothing else.

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    1. Not only that but alcoholism too .Many of them don't work at all Corinee , they live on their small kid's money :(
      Thanks for your visit :)

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  32. Loved the pictures and the story....I love tea too. Would love to own a place like this.

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  33. wow... thanks for the info about assam and its tea..i had a little idea of india as a tea producer but didnt know assam produces so much of the world's tea and 170 years!!! amazing... nice pics...i was hoping to find your pic with that tea leaves collection basket on your back :P

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    1. Haaaaa ! Some other time Saheb !Thanks.

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  34. Interesting visit to tea garden with such nice images.

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  35. Wow! too good! love the place and the aroma of that wonderful place filled with tea leaves...
    Thanks to ASSAM largest tea grower in the world!
    We have tea in US coming frm ASSAM there are actually many of them under different name brands from ASSAM...we always feel proud to see our country and its name ..in the grocery section!
    thanks for sharing kavita...I always enjoy each of your post and think its a blog worth reading to update your knowledge about india and its conditions ... the tribal area and variety of food..All in one!
    Keep up the good work!!
    :)
    have a wonderful week ahead!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Harman ,they mean so much to me :)
      Thanks dear:)

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  36. These are such incredible photos, Kavita. I love visiting these wonderful places vicariously through your posts. I've been rather occupied with lots of "stuff" over here and haven't been able to blog visit very much lately. I'm glad I was able to stop by tonight for a "dessert." We drink a lot of tea here too.

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    1. I know Kay that you have been busy ,don't worry about visits :)
      You are precious to me:)

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  37. Hi Kavita !

    i just came from Assam few days ago ... saw tea garden on our way to Silchar from Karimganj. Assam is really beautiful ... and our post as usual is very interesting - one can actually visit that place withoout going there through ur posts.

    Love it :)

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    1. Hey Sharmila , I loved your beautiful post on Copenhagen .Thanks for your nice comment.

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  38. Good one Kavita. Its nice to see the kids being interested as well; its like these they learn instead of just text books :)

    The eatables are tempting :)

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    1. They do enjoy their holidays there Bindu .Thank you soooo much:)

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  39. that's a gem of a work.... he is my uncle too...i m bharati baidews son, next time whenever i'll b thr will make sure to catch up with those lovely gardens

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    1. Wow ! What a pleasant surprise to see you here ,last time i saw you ,you were a toddler:)
      Do visit Kanu da next time you are at Naamkhola.And do visit us sometimes Poojan.Love and much love:)

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  40. you seriously should get into tourism Kavita :)) you have such a knack a wonderful way of presenting people and places

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  41. Beautiful photographs. I am greeting

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  42. Very informative and interesting! We learn more by traveling and seeing things first hand rather than through books and films. And there is so much that we can learn from rural India. I find it very fascinating!

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  43. Stunning pictures!!! Well done and presented!

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  44. i love tea, but mainly the black mild ones such as earl grey, orange pekoe, darjeeling firsh flush, makai bari and green tea....find assam teas to be very harsh for my palate!!!


    but this visit thru your post was lovely!!

    http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.in

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  45. Bom Domingo de Ramos!
    Beijinhos.
    Brasil.
    ¸.•°`♥✿⊱╮
    °º♫

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  46. I absolutely love reading your blog. The way you take me around places I have not visited yet is magical.

    P.S: Kaustubh has grown so much. I remember him so much younger. Loads of love to Gauri and Kaustubh

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