Gagnesh Sharma Deputy director Tea Board of India in Kangra says “In the mid 1800s Dr William Jameson the Superintendent of the Botanical gardens of the North West province visited Kangra. A feasibility survey was conducted and in 1848 this area was declared suitable for tea plantations. The China Jat variety of Camellia plants was later planted here.”
In 1883 the tea was mentioned in the Kangra district gazette as “Probable superior to that produced in any other part of Indai. The demand for it has been increasing and much is bought by natives for export via Peshawar to Kabul and Central Asia.
The destruction caused by the earthquake in 1905 forced the British to sell their estates and leave the area. Until the middle of the 20th century the new owners continued to grow tea. However only small amounts of tea could be manufactured as few factories were functional.
Due to the geographical elements present in the region the colour flavor and body of Kangra tea is distince. The word Kangra Tea has bence been registered as a geographical indicator since 2005 under the Himachal Pradesh Patent Information centre Shimla.
Unfortunately this industry is unable to flourish as the bushes are old as a result of which the yield is low. With intensive research being done on tea at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Agricultural University of Palampur there is hope that replanting and rejuvenation will take place and give impetus to this industry
Courtesy Aparna Menon young world