Assam tea is renowned for its rich, full-bodied bright liquor. For those who favour a cup of tea w
Assam tea is renowned for its rich, full-bodied bright liquor. For those who favour a cup of tea with a punch, Assam is the answer. To celebrate the ‘Tea Festival’, one’s visit to Assam is an experience to be savoured for a lifetime.
Legend has it that the founder of Zen Buddhism – Darauma or Bodhidharma – first created the tea plant. Centuries ago, while meditating near Nanking in China, the saint fell asleep. On waking up, he was so livid that he punished himself by cutting off his eyelids. Where the eyelids dropped to earth a strange plant came up. It was found that the leaves of the plant could give a brew that could banish sleep. Thus, the tea plant was born and the ‘beverage that cheers’ came into being.
Claims Too Many
During his travels, Major Robert Bruce came into close contact with Bessagaum, Singpho chief in Assam. Bessagaum gave Bruce some indigenous tea plants and seeds in 1823. This incident is described as the discovery of tea in India. But Robert’s brother Charles Bruce, who was working for the East India Company, took credit for discovering tea in India by stating himself as “the man of destiny who first penetrated the forests and visited the tea tracts in British Suddiya”. He continued to stand by this claim. However, in 1841, he was challenged by Lieutenant Charlton (who had been serving in Assam) who claimed that it was he who had sent tea plants to the Agricultural & Horticultural Society as long back as 1831.
Festival & Events
The focus of the tea tourism festival would be mainly on experiencing the tea culture of Assam – the famous “Jhumur” dance of the tea community, the lifestyle and work of a tea planter and an exhibition showcasing the growth and development of tea as well as research activities in this connection. On the sidelines would be a seminar at the oldest tea research centre in the world at Tocklai, a tour of a mini automated tea factory, a visit to the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, an ethnic food festival, a fashion show and visits to historical spots as well as the beautiful parks and scenic places of tourist interest in Jorhat district.