Tea tourism plan brews in garden

The management of Majherdabri tea estate on the outskirts of Alipurduar town has drawn up a major tea tourism project in the garden for which the company will invest funds to the tune of Rs 10 crore.

Recently, the Bengal tourism department approved the project, the work of which will soon commence in the garden.

In Alipurduar district, this is the first major project to be taken up in a tea garden.

“We hope to finish construction work of the first phase in two years. There will be an array of amenities for tourists. It will also be an attraction for people of this region,” said Saket Agarwal, a director of Majherdabri.

The garden is favourably located for tea tourism, as it is adjacent to the Buxa Tiger Reserve and close to NH 31C that connects district to the Northeast. Also, Nonai, a hilly stream, flows through the garden. It is also near two railway stations – Alipurduar Junction and New Alipurduar, with the the Bhutan hills in the background.

Agarwal, while elaborating on the proposed project, said they will use around 10 acres of land to set up the infrastructure.

“The work will be carried out in three phases. In the first phase, we will build 10 cottages, a swimming pool, a tea and coffee bar, a multi-cuisine restaurant and a banquet hall,” he said.

These would be followed by a destination wedding hall, another 10 cottages, a spa and a gymnasium in the second phase.

In the final phase, the tea company will develop a golf course, along with tennis and badminton courts.

“There is also a plan to build a hanging bridge. Also, the cottages would be built in such a manner so that people can have different views of rivers, forests, the tea plantation and the hills,” Agarwal added.

In recent years, a number of proposals for tea tourism have reached the state government, especially after the government  increased the ceiling of land that can be used for tourism  purposes in a tea garden. Now, 15 per cent of the vacant land (maximum 150 acres) can be used for this purpose. Earlier, the ceiling was 5 per cent.

Special teas

Along with the tea tourism project, Majherdabri has also come up with CTC and green teas with special flavours.

The varieties — around 30 of them — have been named as “wellness teas” and are available at their outlet in Alipurduar and also online.

These include moonlit tea, hibiscus tea, masala tea and elaichi tea.

“We have plans to open various outlets for these teas in Cooch Behar and Siliguri soon,” said Agarwal.