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DARJEELING, WEST BENGAL

Makaibari

THE ESTATE

Makaibari spans over six ridges, flanking the breathtaking hills of Kurseong. Founded 160 years ago, it houses the world’s first tea factory

which is built entirely in wood, bamboo and cast iron. It is also the only one in Darjeeling to have never been owned by components of the Raj.

The world's most iconic tea grows amidst ancient forests in the Himalayas.

26º51’16” N 88º 15’39” E

DARJEELING, WEST BENGAL

Makaibari

The world's most iconic tea grows amidst ancient forests in the Himalayas.

THE ESTATE

Makaibari spans over six ridges, flanking the breathtaking hills of Kurseong. Founded 160 years ago, it houses the world’s first tea factory

which is built entirely in wood, bamboo and cast iron. It is also the only one in Darjeeling to have never been owned by components of the Raj.

Makaibari

The world's most iconic tea grows amidst ancient forests in the Himalayas.

Makaibari spans over six ridges, flanking the breathtaking hills of Kurseong. Founded 160 years ago, it houses the world’s first tea factory which is built entirely in wood, bamboo and cast iron. It is also the only one in Darjeeling to have never been owned by components of the Raj.

Growing amidst a variety of flora and fauna, tea revered as a Himalayan herb at this estate.

A variety of fruits, wild flowers and woods grow along with the tea, untamed and unmanaged - as nature would have it. And that’s just part of its appeal. This sentiment extends to the way the estate is managed; as a living organism that has a scope far beyond the fence lines of the garden.

Tea is grown without the constraints of yield or dividends. The plantation covers 550 acres and the forests cover twice that area, making supervision intensely difficult.

While this makes it thrice as hard to farm tea at Makaibari, the collective effort of man and forests gives its brew the magical flavour.

Tea is treated as a herb, one of the many medicines provided by the forests, known to aid metabolism and cure several ailments. Being the oldest tea factory in the world, it employs organic production and traditional processing, said to retain the medicinal value.

Growing amidst a variety of flora and fauna, tea revered as a Himalayan herb at this estate.

A variety of fruits, wild flowers and woods grow along with the tea, untamed and unmanaged - as nature would have it. And that’s just part of its appeal. This sentiment extends to the way the estate is managed; as a living organism that has a scope far beyond the fence lines of the garden.

Tea is grown without the constraints of yield or dividends. The plantation covers 550 acres and the forests cover twice that area, making supervision intensely difficult.

While this makes it thrice as hard to farm tea at Makaibari, the collective effort of man and forests gives its brew the magical flavour.

Tea is treated as a herb, one of the many medicines provided by the forests, known to aid metabolism and cure several ailments. Being the oldest tea factory in the world, it employs organic production and traditional processing, said to retain the medicinal value.

Growing amidst a variety of flora and fauna, tea revered as a Himalayan herb at this estate.

A variety of fruits, wild flowers and woods grow along with the tea, untamed and unmanaged - as nature would have it. And that’s just part of its appeal.

This sentiment extends to the way the estate is managed; as a living organism that has a scope far beyond the fence lines of the garden. Tea is grown without the constraints of yield or dividends. The plantation covers 550 acres and the forests cover twice that area, making supervision intensely difficult.

While this makes it thrice as hard to farm tea at Makaibari, the collective effort of man and forests gives its brew the magical flavour.

Tea is treated as a herb, one of the many medicines provided by the forests, known to aid metabolism and cure several ailments. Being the oldest tea factory in the world, it employs organic production and traditional processing, said to retain the medicinal value.

Situated on steep slopes at the foothills of Himalayas, Makaibari uses a bio-mimicking system to counter it’s difficult terrain.

Makaibari is the steepest tea garden in the district of Darjeeling. It faces droughty conditions every year due to the hot march winds that sweep up from the scorching plains of Bengal. The retention of the forests hence have been born out of need.

An advanced six-tier permaculture system has been developed to create a bio-mimicking environment for the tea to foster. Tea plantations are hemmed in with large portions of virgin tree-forests, grasses, weeds and other shrubs. Apart from providing a wealth of benefits, these trees provided a vital element that retains the topsoil and cycles nutrients - mulch.

Almost everything Makaibari uses, it makes on its own, with a little help from ancient agri wisdom from across the world. All bio-remedies are completely natural, formulated with what is available at the estate, to not upset the delicate balance of the permaculture system. In totality, this biodynamic system forms an efficient integrated system that overcomes the odds of its difficult terroir.

Situated on steep slopes at the foothills of Himalayas, Makaibari uses a bio-mimicking system to counter it’s difficult terrain.

Makaibari is the steepest tea garden in the district of Darjeeling. It faces droughty conditions every year due to the hot march winds that sweep up from the scorching plains of Bengal. The retention of the forests hence have been born out of need.

An advanced six-tier permaculture system has been developed to create a bio-mimicking environment for the tea to foster.

Tea plantations are hemmed in with large portions of virgin tree-forests, grasses, weeds and other shrubs. Apart from providing a wealth of benefits, these trees provided a vital element that retains the topsoil and cycles nutrients - mulch.

Almost everything Makaibari uses, it makes on its own, with a little help from ancient agri wisdom from across the world. All bio-remedies are completely natural, formulated with what is available at the estate, to not upset the delicate balance of the permaculture system. In totality, this biodynamic system forms an efficient integrated system that overcomes the odds of its difficult terroir.

Situated on steep slopes at the foothills of Himalayas, Makaibari uses a bio-mimicking system to counter it’s difficult terrain.

Makaibari is the steepest tea garden in the district of Darjeeling. It faces droughty conditions every year due to the hot march winds that sweep up from the scorching plains of Bengal. The retention of the forests hence have been born out of need.

An advanced six-tier permaculture system has been developed to create a bio-mimicking environment for the tea to foster. Tea plantations are hemmed in with large portions of virgin tree-forests, grasses, weeds and other shrubs. Apart from providing a wealth of benefits, these trees provided a vital element that retains the topsoil and cycles nutrients - mulch.

Almost everything Makaibari uses, it makes on its own, with a little help from ancient agri wisdom from across the world. All bio-remedies are completely natural, formulated with what is available at the estate, to not upset the delicate balance of the permaculture system. In totality, this biodynamic system forms an efficient integrated system that overcomes the odds of its difficult terroir.

The thick woods on the Eastern side of Makaibari spread over 1100 acres, and are believed to have lived over 1000 years, sheltering within a host of endemic animals and birds.

Many species of animals call Makaibari home, including endangered panthers, tigers, leopards, birds, butterflies, snakes, spiders and many other insects, feeding off on each other as part of the natural food chain.

This intense spiritual union among the land, plant life and people has given birth to all of the innovations and developments of unique products and methods of farming.

The thick woods on the Eastern side of Makaibari spread over 1100 acres, and are believed to have lived over 1000 years, sheltering within a host of endemic animals and birds.

Many species of animals call Makaibari home, including endangered panthers, tigers, leopards, birds, butterflies, snakes, spiders and many other insects, feeding off on each other as part of the natural food chain.

This intense spiritual union among the land, plant life and people has given birth to all of the innovations and developments of unique products and methods of farming.

On the slopes of the Himalayas, workers at the world’s first biodynamic tea farm wait patiently until the planets align to pick India’s most expensive tea.

- BBC TRAVEL

Relying on a celestial calendar to decide the plucking period, the farmers believe that the air’s high oxygen content and cosmic confluence during a full moon produces a delicate, smoother tea-leaf taste.

Silver Tips Imperial is only be picked four to five times during the plucking season.

As the soft dusk light gathers around the estate, hundreds of Makaibari workers prepare to harvest a special tea under the full moon. And it is picked ceremoniously - the men beat drums and chant prayers as 80-100 trained workers race to pluck two leaves and a bud. Tallow torches illuminate the bushes to help the pickers see, they also ward off wild animals in the vicinity.

Once the tea is plucked, the harvest is sent to the factory well before dawn, to be processed before the sun rises. It is said that the sunlight alters the tea’s aroma and consistency.

On the slopes of the Himalayas, workers at the world’s first biodynamic tea farm wait patiently until the planets align to pick India’s most expensive tea.

- BBC TRAVEL

Relying on a celestial calendar to decide the plucking period, the farmers believe that the air’s high oxygen content and cosmic confluence during a full moon produces a delicate, smoother tea-leaf taste.

Silver Tips Imperial is only be picked four to five times during the plucking season.

As the soft dusk light gathers around the estate, hundreds of Makaibari workers prepare to harvest a special tea under the full moon. And it is picked ceremoniously - the men beat drums and chant prayers as 80-100 trained workers race to pluck two leaves and a bud. Tallow torches illuminate the bushes to help the pickers see, they also ward off wild animals in the vicinity.

Once the tea is plucked, the harvest is sent to the factory well before dawn, to be processed before the sun rises. It is said that the sunlight alters the tea’s aroma and consistency.

On the slopes of the Himalayas, workers at the world’s first biodynamic tea farm wait patiently until the planets align to pick India’s most expensive tea.

- BBC TRAVEL

Relying on a celestial calendar to decide the plucking period, the farmers believe that the air’s high oxygen content and cosmic confluence during a full moon produces a delicate, smoother tea-leaf taste.

Silver Tips Imperial is only be picked four to five times during the plucking season.

As the soft dusk light gathers around the estate, hundreds of Makaibari workers prepare to harvest a special tea under the full moon. And it is picked ceremoniously - the men beat drums and chant prayers as 80-100 trained workers race to pluck two leaves and a bud. Tallow torches illuminate the bushes to help the pickers see, they also ward off wild animals in the vicinity.

Once the tea is plucked, the harvest is sent to the factory well before dawn, to be processed before the sun rises. It is said that the sunlight alters the tea’s aroma and consistency.

It takes 200kg of leaves to make 50kg of processed Silver Tips Imperial tea, and workers rarely pluck more than that each harvest.

- BBC TRAVEL

The delicate tea is a semi-fermented Oolong variety produced in limited quantities. Accents of mango and frangipani flowers fuse together to create a subtle, satiny floral flavour. Hand processed, the tea is said to have an uplifting, anti-ageing effect, that leaves you feeling invigorated.

This smooth, elixir-like effect coupled with the cosmic nature of the harvest gave rise to a cult following amongst buyers across the world. The tea has found patronage at the Royal Palace at Buckingham; Queen Elizabeth II received the tea as a gift from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to the UK. The tea was also served to the players at FIFA world cup 2014. At present, the limited-batches produced are picked up by elite international buyers and businesses in the UK, US and Japan.

It takes 200kg of leaves to make 50kg of processed Silver Tips Imperial tea, and workers rarely pluck more than that each harvest.

- BBC TRAVEL

The delicate tea is a semi-fermented Oolong variety produced in limited quantities. Accents of mango and frangipani flowers fuse together to create a subtle, satiny floral flavour. Hand processed, the tea is said to have an uplifting, anti-ageing effect, that leaves you feeling invigorated.

This smooth, elixir-like effect coupled with the cosmic nature of the harvest gave rise to a cult following amongst buyers across the world. The tea has found patronage at the Royal Palace at Buckingham; Queen Elizabeth II received the tea as a gift from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to the UK. The tea was also served to the players at FIFA world cup 2014. At present, the limited-batches produced are picked up by elite international buyers and businesses in the UK, US and Japan.

It takes 200kg of leaves to make 50kg of processed Silver Tips Imperial tea, and workers rarely pluck more than that each harvest.

- BBC TRAVEL

The delicate tea is a semi-fermented Oolong variety produced in limited quantities. Accents of mango and frangipani flowers fuse together to create a subtle, satiny floral flavour. Hand processed, the tea is said to have an uplifting, anti-ageing effect, that leaves you feeling invigorated.

This smooth, elixir-like effect coupled with the cosmic nature of the harvest gave rise to a cult following amongst buyers across the world. The tea has found patronage at the Royal Palace at Buckingham; Queen Elizabeth II received the tea as a gift from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his visit to the UK. The tea was also served to the players at FIFA world cup 2014. At present, the limited-batches produced are picked up by elite international buyers and businesses in the UK, US and Japan.

Makaibari

For us our tea factory is a living organism, born 150 years ago

Built entirely in wood, bamboo and cast iron. It has grown organically in the years in different stages becoming a sample of living industrial archaeology perfectly functioning to this day, preserving its unique atmosphere and heritage character.