Most family holiday plans in Sikkim include a one day visit to Namchi (South Sikkim) where a Char Dham Replica Temple Complex has been built at the initiative of the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling and the nearby Samdruptse Monastery which has a 135 feet statue of Guru Padmasambhava. The temple complex is a huge draw. Its like a religious theme park, great for introducing Hindu kids to their religion. Samdruptse Monastery is worth seeing too. And as a positive side effect of this visit, one also gets to see the only Tea Estate in Sikkim - Temi Tea Garden. Temi (pronounced Timi), is situated near Ravangla on the Gangtok - Namchi route. I saw it in the morning on the way to Namchi but my driver wanted to complete the visits to Char Dham and Samdruptse first. He promised to stop at the garden in the evening. Finally that time came. I got down from the vehicle and immediately spotted a group of men plucking tea leaves very near to the road. I approached them and was met with warm smiles. They all spoke Hindi. (Read more and see pictures below...)
|Tea Workers At Temi Tea Estate South Sikkim|
I got a quick lesson in tea plantation which I have now almost forgotten. What I still remember is that tea gets plucked several times during the year and the time of plucking tea also makes a difference to its quality. Tea plants once planted are used for several years. Temi Tea Estate produces top quality tea which has demand even in the international market. This tea estate was set up by the Sikkim Government in the year 1969. The guys working in the garden were regular employees of the tea estate. They all seemed happy with their jobs. But why was I seeing only guys there? They told me that according to company rules, men and women work in separate areas of the garden. That day, women were working in the downward slope on the other side of the road. I thought this must be the rule in all the tea gardens in the world. Not mixing work with pleasure.
|Tea Plucking At Temi Tea Garden South Sikkim|
While leaving, my tea garden friends gave a bunch of fresh tea leaves and elaborate instructions on how to turn them into a tasty and powerful brew. They also gave directions to a store that sells Temi Tea.
Tea Garden Employees Service Cooperative Society
|Cooperative Store Selling Temi Tea in South Sikkim|
The gentleman in the above picture works at the Tea Garden Employees Service Cooperative Society. He was really nice and after chatting with him for a few mintues, I bought three packs of Temi Tea. Though the tea sold here is the cheap variety, I got to hear about a shop in Gangtok that sells the top quality Temi and other Teas. Its called Golden Tips. I later visited that shop (Details in another page).
|Tea Garden Employees Service Cooperative Society Temi, South Sikkim|
Also See: North Sikkim Trip Report
|Posted by Narinder Singh|