Tour India's Tea and Coffee Plantations

India - Tea Leaf to Coffee Bean Custom Tour

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Tour the tea plantations of Darjeeling, coffee plantations of Kodagu (Coorg), Nagarhole National Park & Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, Wayanad in Kerala (a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve).

According to legend, the history of tea drinking in India began by a Buddhist monk 2000 years ago. Whilst contemplating the life and teachings of Buddha asleep for 7 years, he began chewing leaves from a bush. These leaves revived him and enabled him to stay awake and complete his 7 year penance. The leaves were the wild tea plant.

In the 16th century, the people of India prepared a vegetable dish using tea leaves along with garlic and oil and the boiled tea leaves were used to prepare a drink as well. Having evolved since those early days, tea drinking in India has now come a long way. Today this nation is proud to be one of the largest tea producers in the world, the most famous among them is Darjeeling tea. The commercial production of tea in India began by the British East India Company and vast tracts of land have been exclusively developed into tea estates.

Walking in Coorg, India

Tea drinking has evolved in India and is different in regions. First thought of as the drink of the Royals, tea has now available everywhere. From roadside tea stalls and railway platforms to fancy hotels

Traditionally, a guest in any Indian home is welcomed with a cup of tea.

The History of Coffee in India

The journey of Indian coffee originates from a fairy tale in an interesting and unique journey made by a Sufi saint, Baba Budan, from India over 400 years ago, while on a pilgrimage to Mecca. He made this now famous journey from Mocha, a port city of Yemen that overlooks the Red Sea, to his homeland. Besides being a trading hub for coffee, it was the source of the popular Mocha coffee beans.

He discovered coffee in the form of a dark and sweet liquid called Qahwah on the way. As he found the drink to be quite refreshing, he decided to bring it back home; and secretly brought back seven coffee beans from Mocha by strapping them to his chest. He planted these beans in Chikmagalur, in Karnataka, which was the real genesis of the Indian coffee industry. The hills where he planted these beans are now named Baba Budan Hills.

Coorg, India

Coffee plantations continued to thrive in India over the period of British Raj and beyond. The Dutch began to grow coffee in the Malabar region, and later the British led a drive to set up Arabica coffee plantations across the hilly regions in South India, where they found the climatic conditions to be apt for the crop.

The Journey

Enjoy some of the finest tea in the world as you travel in India through the famous hill station of Darjeeling where you will learn about the art of growing tea. You will then stay on a coffee plantation amid the lush, wooded hills of Karnataka in Coorg.

Best seasons - October to March.

 

Lost World Adventures itineraries can be tailor-made according to your plans and preferences: budget, hotel selections, travel dates, optional excursions, length of trip, etc.

Day 1: Arrive Delhi

You will be met at the Delhi Airport and transferred to your hotel. Overnight Taj Palace, breakfast included - 2 nights. 

Day 2: Delhi

After breakfast, proceed on a guided tour of Delhi which includes all three of the city’s world heritage sites.

The tour begins with a visit to the magnificent Red fort followed by a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of the fascinating bazaar in Old Delhi.

Note – The Red Fort is closed on Mondays.

Drive through the streets of New Delhi with sights such as India Gate, The Presidential Palace and Parliament house to get a feel for the grand new city that Sir Lutyens built in the early 1900s.

Humayun's tomb: The tomb was commissioned by Emperor Humayun's wife Hamida Banu Begum in 1562 and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent.

Qutab Minar:The Qutab was the tallest tower in world for centuries, erected by first Islamic rulers of India; still the most imposing, artistically carved & engraved sandstone pillar anywhere! 4th c. inscription on renowned rust-free ancient Iron Pillar on premises adds to mystique & allure of unique monument.

In the evening, visit Mittal Tea house for some splendid flavours stuffed to the ceiling with Indian teas, herbs, and spices. The charming owner, Mr. Vikram Mittal will tell you everything you need to know about Tea.

Day 3: Delhi - Bagdogra - Darjeeling

After breakfast, you would be transferred to the airport to board scheduled flight to Bagdogra.

On arrival, you will be met by our representative and driver who will transfer you to Glenburn Estate by road (100 kms/3-4 hours).

Stay with the ‘Chaiwala Family’ – which literally translates to ‘tea planter’s' and experience the legacy of the family that carries almost a century of tea knowledge in their inheritance. By the end of your stay know how a tea leaf makes it to your tea cup.

Witness the infinite beauty and the ineffable vastness of the cosmos that we share with the stars. Through Buddhist prayer flags and rolling hill, make great compositions against the magical night sky.

Overnight Glenburn Estate, dinner and breakfast included. 

Day 4: Darjeeling 

Your explanation of tea will begin with a short presentation on how tea is grown, manufactured and tasted. Move on to the tea factory, a guided tour taking you through the process of withering, rolling, fermenting, drying and sorting of the leaf.

Note - In the months of December, January and early February, there is no tea picking and production.

End with a tea tasting session and discover the difference in aroma, flavour and appearance.

Overnight Glenburn Estate, all meals included.

Day 5: Darjeeling

You can walk or drive through the tea fields and get an insight on how the tea bush is grown and looked after. Interact with the tea picker ladies and learn how to pluck the two leaves and a bud.

This afternoon, we will do a short 2-hour hike. This hike is best done in the afternoon, when the Shikari Dura Village comes alive after the day's work in the field. 

Set out from The Burra Bungalow, past the factory and some tea fields, before descending into the village. Stop to browse in the village shop and taste some of the locally made pickles and preserves.

Watch a game of carom, or whatever else the villagers are doing for their evening entertainment. Interact with the villagers, and then walk back up to the bungalow, through more tea fields!

Overnight Glenburn Estate, all meals included.

Day 6: Darjeeling - Bagdogra - Bangalore

After breakfast, you will be transferred by car to Bagdogra airport for your flight to Bangalore.

On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

You have the rest of the day free to explore the city on your own.

Overnight Taj Westend, breakfast included - 2 nights. 

Bangalore is the state capital and India’s 6th largest city and is also called `The Garden City’ with its numerous parks and avenues. The city has become the 'electronics and computer capital of India’.

Day 7: Bangalore - Coorg

After breakfast, begin your road journey to Coorg

On arrival, check in to the bosom of a 180-acre living forest. Get lost in their experiences to find yourself.

Get a feel of the property and the activities they have to offer. Sip on piping hot local coffee from "Kulhad", to enhance your senses with nature. The landscape from Coorg showcases rolling hills and undulated greens in the most eco-friendly design and material which make nature and luxury co-exist.

Life is blown into the skies by the stars in the night time.  You are in the jungle with only the stars to keep one company.

Overnight Taj Vivanta, breakfast included - 3 nights.

Day 8: Coorg

After breakfast, a coffee plantation tour is planned for you.

You can enjoy their in house Yoga sessions on the deck for a rejuvenating start to your morning.

Back in time for lunch (included), followed by a conservatory camp visit hosted by the hotel.

In the evening, you can enjoy an optional pottery class, payable by you.

Day 9: Coorg

After breakfast, a nature walk through their rainforest canopy with a naturalist, where the woods are lovely, dark and deep. Get in touch with everything that surrounds you, breathe in the oxygen and exhale.

Later enjoy a conservatory camp visit hosted by the hotel.

In the evening, enjoy a cooking demonstration for some tips on how to use the incredible spices this country has to offer. Keep that note pad ready for instructions and tips.

Shops in Madikeri town keep spices that you can buy on your way out.

Day 10: Coorg - Nagarhole National Park

After breakfast, drive to the wilderness retreat at Nagarhole

Beat to the rhythm of nature with your first open top Jeep safari into the beautiful forest of Nagarhole with a naturalist this afternoon. Nature unfolds her secret, Chital and Sambar can be seen in handfuls. The grace of the elephants emerging from the Latana thickets to the Gaur’s physical beauty that adapts so well with the park environs.

The legend and romance of Kabini plays out in a theatre called Nagarhole, and revolves around a pristine river called Kabini (originally Kapila) that snakes its way through the Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka, and forms an aqueous boundary with the Bandipur National Park.

Together, this area constitutes the largest contiguous forest cover in this part of the world and is part of the Nilgiri biosphere, the largest in Asia, and home to the largest concentration of herbivores in Asia. And herbivores don't get larger than the Asiatic elephant, whose favourite playground is this.

At Nagarhole, one can witness the largest congregation of Asiatic Elephants in the world, and these majestic mammals rule the roost here.

While the lead actors may be largely herbivorous, the support cast consists of three major predators in the Leopard and Dhole or Wild Dog, with all three co-existing in high densities, a feature unique to Nagarhole.

Overnight Kabini, all meals included - 3 nights.

Day 11: Nagarhole

Today, you will go on a boat safari upstream on the Kabini River to where the river itself separates the Nagarhole Park from the Bandipur National Park. 

Here you have the opportunity to observe the Marsh Crocodile, Smooth – coated Otter and myriad water birds along with diverse Wildlife sighted on the extensive river banks.

Day 12: Nagarhole

At Orange County, you have interactions with their resident elephant, Kaveri. Learn about the magnificent creature, its natural history and long association with humans. You may bathe and feed her, reaffirming our historical bond with this intelligent creature.

Today, you will be taken to Gandathur village, to understand, with the help of a hotel staffer how the tribal community lives in harmony with nature and forest. On your way back, stop by a tribal house for jaggery coffee and learn about local agriculture. 

Day 13: Nagarhole - Wayanad

After breakfast, depart for Wayanad by road. The landscape is beautiful, hilly and serene. The region is part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves in India and Wayanad’s evergreen forests mark the transition zone between the northern and southern eco regions of the Western Ghats.

The area is ideal for trekking. Nature lovers can request specially guided tours with in house naturalists during the day.

Overnight Vythiri Resort, all meals included - 2 nights.

Day 14: Wayanad

Today, wake up for an incredible morning session of yoga and meditation.

This is followed by a morning trek to the tropical rainforests surrounding the resort. On this trek you will see a wide range of species endemic to the Western Ghats including Nilgiri Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Malabar Grey Hornbill and Yellow Browed Bulbul.

Spend the rest of the day unwinding and rejuvenating in their spa or Ayurveda centre.

Day 15: Wayanad - Calicut - Mumbai

After breakfast, check out and drive to Calicut airport to board scheduled flight to Mumbai.  

On arrival at Mumbai airport, you will be transferred to your luxury hotel located in South Mumbai.

The remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight Taj Mahal Hotel, breakfast included. 

Day 16: Departure

You will be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport.

 

"EXCELLENT"

The guides we had and the places we saw and stayed were superlative.

- Bonnie K, Jun 2012

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