The revival story of Kangra tea

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No beverage can ever replace the ‘tea’. Spreading its aroma from its leaves to providing sooth within is what the tea lives for.

But, understanding the varieties of tea is no less than an art. Beginning from the Assam tea to the Darjeeling tea, all are unique. One of such not-so-popular type is the ‘Kangra Tea’.

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Kangra tea has quite a heroic story. During the British colonial times, its production was high on demand. It is different from other Indian varieties as it has a rich liquor and a fruity aftertaste that is pleasant. The city Kangra is now under Himachal Pradesh. It also holds a history of around 150 years, explaining the statement “The old, the better.”

William Jameson, superintendent of the Botanical Gardens at Saharanpur and the Northwest Frontier Province, was the man who brought the tea plant to Kangra. In 1849, he planted Chinese hybrid shrubs at the valley. Its popularity kept hiking for almost a century. The tea also received the gold medal in 1865 and a silver one in 1895 at the International Conventions held in London and Amsterdam respectively.

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All odds were in favour until 1905, the year where an enormous earthquake hit the region destroying all plantations and life. The destruction was irreversible and hence marked the downfall of this tea. Measuring 8 on the Richter scale, the quake took away its existence. The British colony hence sold away the gardens and vacated the region.

The tea plantation was lost but its roots weren’t. The tea planters tried to save the tree but couldn’t succeed due to an inhospitable environment. Then finally in the 1960s, this tea industry saw some revival and by 2004, several tea factories were set up in the region.

Today, this tea has once again made its way along with the other popular varieties available in the Indian tea palette.