Tea the most consumed popular super - Beverage of the Millennium has and continues to play an important role in almost all world cultures and customs made to both regional individual contrasting taste and preferences moods. Some make it sweet, some bitter, some stout, some mellow, some strong, some light, some make fragrant teas, some spicy, some with flavor, and some simply black. Tea is a low-calorie refreshing drink, now recognized for many health benefits medicinal value. Assam, Darjeeling, Dooars, Nilgiris are the name of the major regions in India where tea plantation thrives teas are named after the region they come from. We trace the history in brief of the development of the plantation crop in the regions and pay a tribute to the pioneering effort of individuals and communities.
Assam, Darjeeling, Dooars, Nilgiris are the name of the major regions in India where tea plantation thrives amp; teas are named after the region they come from. We trace the history in brief of the development of the plantation crop in the regions and pay a tribute to the pioneering effort of individuals and communities.
Tea an evergreen plant is a member of the Camellia Sinensis that is native to China, and northern India. There are two main varieties of tea plants. The small leaf variety, known as Camellia sinensis, thrives in the cool, high mountain regions primarily of China, India, Sri Lanka, and Japan. The broadleaf variety, known as Camellia assamica, grows best in the moist, tropical climates found in Northeast India and the Szechuan and Yunnan provinces of China.
Its oval-shaped leaves are smooth, shiny, and pointed in appearance. If Left to grow wild the tea plant develops into a tree many meters high but under cultivation is kept to a height of approximately three feet enable for easy efficient plucking. Tea ideally grows at a height of 2400m (8000 ft) above sea level in acidic soil, a warm, humid climate with at least 50 inches of well-distributed rain per annum long sunlit days are the ideal conditions for it to flourish as a plantation crop. Tea's flavor, quality, and character are completely dependent on the region, plant variety, altitude, soil conditions, the climate in which it is grown, method of cultivation followed nature of shade.
India alone has 523,000* hectares of land under tea cultivation, employing over 1.25* million (The second largest employer after Indian Railways) directly under it's over 12000* large tea estates 1300* tea factories. India gave 27%* output of the world's 3523* Million Kg production, exporting off 204* Million Kg. A big consumer of tea consuming 22%* of the world's production where any time is Chai time.
*All figures as per 2006 estimates
The Tea industry is eco-friendly, providing a natural habitat for many plants, animals birds to flourish in its vast green expanse in 33 major tea-producing nations.
Tea has played a key role in altering the course of history! In England, tea received royal patronage when King Charles II married the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza, who was an inveterate tea-drinker. The Boston Tea Party fracas led to the American Revolution and the declaration of American Independence in 1773.
There are various myths variants as to the origin of tea. Tea has played a significant role in Asian culture for centuries.
According to one legend Bodhidharma founder of the Zen school of Buddhism, after meditating for nine years, he accidentally fell asleep. He woke up in such disgust at his weakness, he cut off his eyelids and they fell to the ground and took root, growing into tea bushes.
In one popular Chinese legend around 2737 BC, Shennong, the legendary Emperor of China, inventor of Chinese medicine, was drinking a bowl of boiling water. The wind blew and a few leaves from a nearby tree fell into his water and began to change their color. The ever-inquisitive and curious monarch took a sip of the brew and was pleasantly surprised by its flavor and its restorative properties.
In another variant, Gautama Buddha names find mention in the place of Shennong.
Tea and Water give each other life," the Professor was saying. "The tea is still alive. This tea has tea and water vitality," he added, "...Afterwards, the taste still happens... It rises like velvet... It is a performance."
- Jason Goodwin, The Gunpowder Gardens
Have a look at the history of Tea Production in several regions in India including Assam, Darjeeling, Dooars, Nilgiris, Kerala, etc.
Cultivation of tea in India, popularly known as Chai started in 1833, where the industry arose primarily to produce trade tea for the British East India Company.
In 1776, Sir Joseph Banks, a renowned English Botanist, recommended undertaking the cultivation of tea in India. In 1780, Robert Kyd experimented with tea cultivation in India with seeds, the consignment of which was stated to have arrived from China but not with success.
In 1823. Robert Bruce, a Scottish, visited Rangpur, in Upper Assam. He met the chief of the Singapore tribe of the northeast, in connection with a variety of tea they grew unknown to the world. but unfortunately, his death in 1824 cut short the progress.
A decade later, his younger brother, Charles Alexander Bruce took the initiative and with great difficulty was able to get the first approval of acceptable good quality from the viceroy, Lord Auckland in 1836.
In 1837, Bruce dispatched the first consignment of tea. This historic consignment was auctioned in London on 10 January 1839 and generated great excitement.
In 1839 Bengal Tea Company was formed in Calcutta and a joint-stock company was formed in London to purchase the East India Company's plantations and establish tea estates in Assam. The two companies merged to form Assam Company.
In May 1855, indigenous tea bushes were first discovered in the Cachar district of Assam.
In 1859 tea cultivation spread to Tripura, Sylhet, and Chittagong, Jorehaut Tea Company followed in the footsteps of Assam Company and was incorporated on 29 June 1859.
By 1859 there were nearly 50 tea gardens in Assam. By 1862 there were 160 gardens.
During this period plantations in Kumaon, Kangra, Kullu, and Garhwal on an experimental basis also made a beginning. In 1881, the Indian Tea Association was founded to represent north Indian planters.
In 1841 Chinese tea seeds were brought by Dr. A. Campbell and planted them in his garden in Darjeeling town In 1852 Commercial cultivation began. By 1874, there were 113 tea gardens in the Darjeeling district alone.
In 1862 inspired planters tried out tea cultivation in the Terai region. James white set up the first Terai plantation called Champa. Planting was then extended to the Dooars. Gazeldubi was the first Dooars garden, and by 1876 the area boasted 13 plantations. 1877 the British to set up the Dooars Tea Planters' Association
In 1854 Mann was the first planter to manufacture Nilgiri teas. He started a tea plantation Coonoor Tea Estate. Around this time, another planter, Rae set up Dunsandle Estate near Nilgiri.
In 1859, other planters in the Nilgiris began to follow suit In 1882. James Finlay Co. was the first to attempt tea cultivation in the high ranges of tea.
Especially Munnar, now home to the highest teas grown in the world. The specific geographical conditions and the height of the plantations make the tea unique. In 1893 the United Planters' Association of Southern India was set up to represent those in the south.
The history of tea in India is a glorious record of continuous development of one of our foremost industries and a valuable national asset. Sanjiva Reddy former President of India 1977-82.
Maniram Dewan, the prime minister of the last Ahom King, Purandhar Singha, was the first Indian to grow tea on a commercial basis in Assam. He was followed by Rosheswar Barua, who established six tea estates. Many other Indian planters followed.
From Faraway Rajasthan, came the Marwaris who found fortunes in tea cultivation. In 1819, Navrangrai, the father of Harbilash Agrawal, migrated from Churu and settled in Tezpur. A few years later he was joined by a stream of traders. They braved immense hardship, but battled on and built their businesses from scratch from Tezpur.
The Marwaris traveled across rough terrain, often on foot. There were no transport facilities and a popular fable in Hindi (India's national language) to highlight the entrepreneurship Zeal perseverance was "Jahan na pahunche belgadi, vahan pahunche Marwari" (the Marwari can even reach a place that is inaccessible to a bullock cart). Many Marwaris succumbed to illness and lack of medical care. They had to rely on their own intelligence and skill to develop plantations, clearing the jungles, and identifying the soil best suited to tea. So, expert, did they become that very soon European and other Indian planters began to seek their advice, Later buying out British plantations. Their role in the development of Assam was quite significant and unparalleled.
Tea estates were owned by privately-held British companies as late as 1980, and are now owned by large Indian tea houses or by private owners.
The history of tea in India is a glorious record of continuous development of one of our foremost industries and a valuable national asset. Sanjiva Reddy former President of India 1977-82