Most people outside of Asia have never heard of Sikkim, much less been aware that there is some great tea grown there. But when you realize Sikkim shares a border to the south with Darjeeling and is just a tidge northeast of Assam, it makes sense that they make great tea there.
There is only one tea garden in Sikkim, Temi Tea Garden, and their story is fascinating.
In the foothills of the Himalayas, Temi is one of the most beautiful tea gardens you’ll ever see (photo courtesy of Nitin Ticku)
(photo courtesy of the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation-STDC)
Tea was first introduced into Temi by the last king of Sikkim in the 1960’s as a source of employment for Tibetan refugees fleeing their homeland when China began occupying Tibet. Before that time the spot where the Temi Tea Garden stands was a Sherpa village: and this spot was a crossroads for travelers and traders for centuries.
Sikkim had been an independent kingdom for generations until it became a state of India in 1975.
Tea factory building (photo courtesy of the Temi Tea Garden)
For any tea geeks/travelers reading this, Temi is located in Ravangla in southern Sikkim, here:
It’s a small tea garden, around 400 acres at above 3000’ elevation.
There is a bungalow where visitors can stay, contact the STDC for details.
The Dalai Lama visiting the Temi Tea Estate, offering smiles and blessings (photo courtesy of the Temi Tea Garden)
The teas from Sikkim are still primarily hand-made. In the photo above, a tea worker is shaking the leaves, while the leaves are going through sun withering. (photo courtesy of the Temi Tea Garden)
(photo courtesy of the Temi Tea Garden)
Temi is operated by the Sikkim Tea Board working with a cooperative of local tea growers. They consider it their mission to be a positive force in their community by offering one of the most complete range of benefits for workers and their families in India; crèche, dispensary, clinic, school etc. And they pay the highest wages of any tea garden in India.
TeaSource is very proud to carry Temi teas and to help these folks get their teas and the word of their mission to the rest of the world.
Bill Waddington, founder