Monday, 30th October 2017

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Next weekend you can be at ... Singtam

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By (METRO ON SUNDAY THANKS READER SAIRA SHAH HALIM FOR THIS CONTRIBUTION. PICTURE BY AUTHOR)
  • Published 29.04.12
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Tea gardens in Darjeeling have their own charm and share a rich history of the world’s one of the most loved beverages. And it happens to have all started at the Singtom-Steinthal tea estate, spread over 1,662 acres.

The estate came up on a steep slope and some areas were developed by German missionaries. The name Steinthal originates from one of their Jesuit fathers.

The surroundings will leave you spellbound, especially during the descent to the bottom of the garden, where the Rungeet flows.

Every turn you take on this 8km stretch provides picturesque views of the garden and the hills.

From countless cups of freshly brewed Darjeeling tea to sitting beside a cosy fireplace, listening to all the sounds that Mother Nature offers far away from the city, a tea estate is perfect if you want a lazy weekend getaway.

The estate’s bungalow, home to generations of tea planters, is now open to tourists. All its rooms have an old-world charm, with high wooden ceilings and teakwood flooring. The resort offers pure vegan organic food.

History (or folklore, whichever way you see it) has it that a coin was unearthed from beneath the tea garden with an inscription, chaakh lagdo jeevan (flavour of life), on it.

There are a host of activities you can enjoy while at Singtam. Camp out at the riverside or the mini waterfall. Trek through the hills surrounding the garden. Pluck and manufacture your own tea at the tea factory. Experience a tea-tasting session. Enjoy an impromptu gig by a local music group.

A visit to Singtam is a tribute to the fine pleasures the exotic brew offers, a tribute to the flavour of life.

Going

Singtam is a three-hour drive from Siliguri. The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri and airport is Bagdogra. There are daily flights and trains from Calcutta. There are three roads connecting the region with Siliguri. The shortest and the most adventurous one is the Pankhabari route. Volvo and other deluxe buses and cars are available from the Siliguri bus stand. The tea estate resort provides pick-and-drop facility if requested in advance.

Staying

The tea estate bungalow is the best place in the area. Contact its manager, Shalome Israel, for booking. Phone: 09432648827