Assam, India, Nature, Relaxation
Comments 2

A tea garden experience in Assam – Wild Mahseer Homestay

With Assam being the largest tea producing region in India, a trip to this part of the world would definitely be incomplete without a tea garden experience. While plantations are aplenty, only a few offer homestays – unless of course you know someone personally at a tea estate and they are kind enough to let you stay for a day or two 🙂

We chanced upon Wild Mahseer through a friend’s recommendation – and it sounded just right because of its proximity to Kaziranga National Park(though the park is shut till November, we were told to check on the situation a day before we reached, in case a safari could be accommodated, but unfortunately for us it didn’t happen). Wild Mahseer is about a 20 minute drive from Tezpur, in the midst of the Balipara division of Addabarie Tea Estate.

 This experience is your cup of tea if –
  1. You like peace and quiet, and can survive a slow pace of life
  2. You enjoy nature
  3. You enjoy having nothing to do (at least once in a while)
  4. You can survive without Wi-Fi and TV
  5. You are okay with a homestay, which means set meal timings and no room service
  6. A drink, a book and greenery to soak in is your idea of a perfectly blissful evening

Now, read on….

We drove down to the plantation from Guwahati airport which took us approximately 4 hours. A guarded gate greeted us as we entered the estate, only to be overwhelmed by the greenery, so much so that it actually looked like a forest. We walked into our bungalow which is called Silver Tips – a three bedroom bungalow with a sprawling garden in front, a decent size dining and drawing room extending into a covered verandah. Though the bungalow is very home-like, there is a certain old world charm to it, with pretty paintings adorning the walls, pottery and other knick knacks on the tables and shelves. I meet Mary, who offers me a cup of tea, and it comes to me in a perfectly laid out tray with cups and saucers, separate milk, tea and sugar and some biscuits, I can’t help but smile 🙂

Entry into Wild Mahseer

Entry into Wild Mahseer

Our bungalow - Silver Tips

Our bungalow – Silver Tips

A quick bath later, we go to ‘The First Flush‘, a shed type hall which is bright and pretty with cane furniture, floral cushions and French windows opening into the forest. We are told that all meals are served here and there are set times for each meal. The menu is fixed, generally a dal, a mutton or chicken dish, two vegetables, paranthas, rice and a dessert for lunch and dinner. Breakfast in more American with cereal, fruits and choice of eggs. A full stomach warrants a lazy nap and post lunch we retire to our bungalows. We are served tea, coffee, peanut butter sandwiches and pakoras in our verandah as soon as we are up. A short walk later, we are ready for evening drinks and conversation.

The First Flush, where all meals are served

The First Flush, where all meals are served

4

The First Flush from the inside

The next morning, we take a walk around the tea plantation with Deepak, the manager on duty, who takes a lot of pride in explaining the details of tea picking, processing, manufacturing and packaging to us. Due to Durga Puja, all the workers were on leave so I could not see the tea picking in action. Also, there is no factory on this property and all the picked leaves are taken to the nearby Addabarie tea estate, owned by the Williamson Magor Group, to be processed further. If you want to visit the factory, the staff will be more than happy to arrange the same for you.

The unending tea gardens

The unending tea gardens

The perfect bud to be plucked in called "Two & a bud", which means two leaves with a bud in between

The perfect bud to be plucked in called “Two & a bud”, which means two leaves with a bud in between

A worker gives us a smile

A worker gives us a toothy smile

The first board shows how the plantation is divided into sections and blocks. The other board instructs workers not to kill birds since they help keep insects away

A lone sheep at the plantation

A lone sheep at the plantation

What all you can do while at Wild Mahseer –

1. Visit Kaziranga which is about a 100 kms away

2. Take a walk around the tea plantation – it’s beautiful

3. The manager (Deepak) will be happy to arrange a trek or river rafting  for you – I haven’t tried these so can’t vouch for their fun factor.

4. Use one of the bicycles to take a ride around the property and the neighboring village

5. Try to get a sneak peek into the Heritage bungalow which I was told is extremely opulent (We didn’t get the chance since it was occupied 😦 )

6. Meet Mr. Hardev Singh while you are there, the senior most manager on the property and a perfectly helpful gentleman. Mr. Singh has been in Assam for over five decades and his insight and experiences had me awed. He also mentioned that he could arrange a visit to the neighboring village, complete with an earthy meal with the locals (plus sampling of the homegrown rice beer!)

Don’t make a fixed itinerary if you decide to visit this place. Just land there and let your days take their own course – you will be surprised just how idyllic your experience will turn out to be!

Address:

Wild Mahseer
Balipara Division
Addabarie Tea Estate
P.O Lokra, Sonitpur
Balipara, Assam, 784101, India

Distance from Guwahati airport: ~200kms

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Travel tales from Meghalaya | The Travel Bug Bites Again

  2. Pingback: Looking Back and Moving Forward | The Travel Bug Bites Again

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s