Tea

Dooars derives its flavor from tea. The multi-ethnic composition of Dooars, the variety of its languages and the undulating green carpet landscape which soothes the traveler’s eyes has their roots in Tea. Tea is also the economic backbone of Dooars where the sizeable portion of its population is directly dependent on the industry.

Origins and Growth

Tea was introduced in the Dooars in 1874-75 from the adjoining Darjeeling district where it was first established as a commercial venture in 1856. The first tea garden was established by Dr. Richard Haughton, the pioneer of tea industry in the Jalpaiguri district, at Gazilduba in 1874. The Gazilduba tea estate was owned by Dr. Brougham, who had started the Dhutaria garden in the Darjeeling district in 1859. Mr.Pillans opened the next at Fulbari, after whom the Pillans Hat is named. Bagrakot followed next and was established by Mr. North and owned by Mr. S. Cresswell.

The early decades saw a quantum jump in the number of tea gardens. Within two years from 1874 the number of Tea Gardens rose to 13. By 1881 the number of gardens increased four times and the acreage under cultivation of tea seven times. At the turn of the century Dooars had 235 gardens with 81,338 acres under tea cultivation. This phenomenal increase in the growth of the tea industry brought about an equally phenomenal demographic change- immigration of labor form Chota Nagpur and the Santhal Paraganas. The population of Dooars between 1865 and 1901 increased four times, from 100,111 to 410,606, and three quarter of them were immigrants.

A distinct feature of the Dooars Tea industry was the early emergence of Indian entrepreneurs as Tea garden owners. In 1877(four years from the establishment of first tea garden), Munshi Rahim Baksh, a Bengali Muslim launched the first Indian owned Tea garden, the Jaldhaka tea estate. By 1930 the number of estates owned by Indians went up to 47, representing 37 per cent of the total capital invested in the gardens of the district.

 

YEARWISE ESTABLISHMENT OF TEA ESTATES IN DOOARS
YEAR TEA ESTATE YEAR TEA ESATE
1875 Gazulduba 1895 Kathalguri
1876 Fulbari 1895 Banarhat (Chapaguri Grant)
1876 Rangatee 1895 Karbala
1876 Bagrakote 1895 Jointee
1876 Gandhabheel 1896 Huldibari (Assam Duars Tea Co.)
1876 Dalinkote 1896 Chuniajhora
1877 Jaldhaka 1896 Baradighi
1877 Baintbari 1896 Durlah (?)
1877 Bamandanga 1896 Guabari(?)
1877 Ellenbarrie 1896 Palasbari 1st (New Duars)
1877 Dam Dim 1896 Hasimara (7 Grants)
1877 Kumlai 1896 Kalchini
1877 Washabari 1896 RohimaBad
1878 Kalabari 1896 Birpara (Birpara & Other Grants)
1878 Good Hope (Sisubari) 1897 Garganda
1878 Ranicherra 1897 Nuktijhora
1878 Moneyhope (Phulbari) 1897 Mateejhora
1878 Manabari 1897 Lakhipara
1878 Ballabari 1897 Reti (?)
1878 Altadanga 1897 Shyamjhora (?)
1878 Chael 1897 Kalchini
1878 Patabari 1897 Dalgaon
1879 Mogulkta 1897 Dalmoni (Nedeem)
1879 Rupnee 1897 Dalsingpara
1879 Soongachi 1897 Bhutan Duars (X)
1879 Nagrakata 1897 Raidak
1881 Hahaipapha 1898 Binnaguri
1881 Oodlabari 1898 Debpara
1881 Neora Nuddy (Upper Neora 1898 Lankapara
1881 Mongalkata (9-3-81) 1898 Ahabari
1881 Bytagool 1898 Phaskowa (Kalikhola Grant)
1882 Needam 1899 Galupara
1882 Carron (Mujnai Grant) 1899 (4 Grants of McLeods)
1883 Toonbari 1900 Gandrapara
1884 Yongtong 1900 Chuapara
1884 Chalauni 1900 Rangamatee (Central Duars Tea Co.)
1884 Nagaisuree 1900 Dalshingpara
1884 Ingo 1900 Rangatee 2nd (?)
1884 Zurantee 1902 Nagrakata
1884 Moortee 1902 Dimdima
1884 Aibheel 1902 Baintbari (Nedeem)
1884 Kilcott 1902 Baradighi
1884 Nedeem (Needeem Tea Co.Ltd.) 1902 Gandabheel (Fulbari Tea Co.)
1884 Matelli 1902 Chaniajhora
1884 Chulsa 1902 Kalchini
1884 Sundree 1902 Hatipotta
1884 Alston (Needeem Tea Co.Ltd.) 1902 Dhoala
1884 Banks  (,,) 1903 Tashati
1884 Sylee   (,,) 1903 Dalmoni (Needeem)
1884 Meenglass 1903 Bhatkhawa (Date of Incorporation of the company 3-9-1900)
1884 Chengli 1903 Kumlai
1884 Bhutta Baree 1904 Emerabad (Assam Duars Tea Co. Ltd.)
1884 Ranikhola 1904 Rupai (?)
1884 Sathkhaya 1904 Atiabari
1885 Baitguri 1906 Bataigole
1885 Rangakotte 1907 Dumchipara
1885 Chengamari 1908 Ambari
1885 Kurti 1909 Dima
1885 Nakhati 1909 Dalmore
1885 Indong 1909 Ramjhora
1885 Chupaguri (Needeem Tea Co.Ltd.) 1910 Turturi
1886 Springfield 1910 Rajabhat
1886 Suknabaree (Duars Tea Co. Ltd.) 1911 Damdim
1886 Hope 1911 Debpara
1886 Tondoo 1911 Dina
1886 Jitee 1912 Lakhipara
1886 Malnuddy 1913 Gopalpur
1886 Rangatee (Needeem) 1913 Hossainabad
1886 Gurjongjhora 1913 Jaybirpara
1886 Nagrakata 1913 Dheklapara
1886 Gatia 1913 Nimtijhora
1886 Bhogatpur 1913 Palashbari
1886 Looksan 1913 Rheabari
1886 Forest Hill (Nedeem) 1913 Radharani
1886 Chalauni 1917 (*) Saraswatipur
1887 Glencoe 1918 (*) Sunny Valley (Joypur)
1887 Patharjora 1918 (*) Karala Valley
1888 Kujih (Carron) 1919 Majerdabari
1888 Huldibari (Tallyhe Grant) 1919 Satali
1889 Chengmari 1919 Mathura (Sarada)
1889 Grassmore 1919 Bitri (Hantupara)
1889 Saugaon (Bagrakote) 1919 Barron
1890 Telipara 1919 Moraghat
1890 Gairkatta (Angrabhasa & Huntpara) 1922 Red Bank
1890 Mujnai (Anjuman Co.) 1923 Nangdala
1891 Makrapara (Anjuman Co.) 1924 Ethelbari
1891 Hantupara 1924 Hartalguri
1892 Bundapni 1926 Batabari
1892 Lankapara 1926 Jadabpur
1892 Chamurchi 1927 Malhati
1892 Totapara (Nuddia) 1927 Anandapur
1894 Chunabhati 1927 Sreenathpur
1894 Hartalguri 1928 Kadambini
1894 Newlands 1929 Madhu
1894 (Assam Duars) 1929 Luxmikanta
1894 Gandrapara 1929 Rahimpur
1894 Chuapara 1930 Saudamini
1895 Nakhati 1930 Gopimohan
1895 Rangamatee (Imperial Tea Co.) 1933 Neauchapur 1934-1968
1895 Chuapara 1933 Surendranagar
1895 Toorsa (Nedeem) 1933 Dharanipur

(*) In Baikunthapur area, Sikarpur & Bhandapur gardens were also started.
(x) Not Known if the Estate was started at all.

Production: Bringing the Leaf to your Cup

The Dooars variety of tea are low-grown teas, dark and full bodied, yet less strong than Assam teas. A daytime tea that goes well with a drop of milk. - The Book of Tea

Cultivation:

The reddish or dark brown loam soil which is found in the Dooars region makes it suitable for Tea growing. The tea plant is raised from seed in nurseries in the month of November and December. When these are a year old, the tress are planted out in rows, the distance between them varying from 4feet by 4feet to 6 feet by 6 feet. The plants reach full maturity by the 5th or 6th year depending on the nature of the soil, timely rainfall and adequate labor.

Pruning:

The young plants are pruned from the first year and each successive year they are pruned to get the required size that is about 3 feet high with think bushes branching from the ground.

Plucking:

The plucking season begins in the month of April or occasionally at the end of March if the climate is favorable. Plucking is usually done by women, who are supposed to be quicker and nimble with their hands then men, though employing men in heavy plucking seasons is not ruled out.

Manufacturing:

Once the leaves reach the factory they are weighed under the supervision of the Manager or one of his assistants and then taken to the Withering house where it is thinly spread upon trays and allowed to lie for a considerable time. Withering is done for about 10 to 12 hours but in moist conditions it might take as much as 48 hours. Fans are employed to facilitate withering. When the leaf has become soft and velvety it is placed on a rolling table to break the cells and bring the sap to the surface to induce fermentation. After fermentation the leaves turns into a bright coppery color. Then the leaf is passed through the firing machine which is a heated chamber of about 250 degrees centigrade. This process eliminates all the moisture and turns the leaf into a coppery black color. Dooars tea is now ready to be sorted and graded into different qualities like Broken Orange Pekoe, Broken Pekoe, Pekoe Souchong and Dust.