Tour & get branded tea for life - Tumsong Tea Garden

Tumsong Tea Garden, April 25. Savor a colonial lifestyle in a century-old bungalow and forge a life-long bonding with a garden situated amid mountains.

Tumsong Retreat — resplendent with well manicured gardens and sparkling river — has been spruced up and is getting ready to roll out red carpet to receive its first group of visitors in May.

“The idea to start tea tourism struck us when our foreign clients wanted some facility where their customers could be in harmony with nature. And we decided to refurbish this bungalow built in 1867,” said Arvind Nevatia, director of Chamong Chiabari Resorts Pvt Ltd.

The Retreat, situated about 30km from Darjeeling, will be a launch pad for tea tourism Chamong group is planning to start in the hills. The group owns 13 gardens in the hills, besides three in Assam.

“We are exploring the possibility of tying up with foreign investors who can pump in about Rs 200 crore. They will take a decision once the infrastructure is in place,” said Nevatia.

The Retreat promises to attract not only foreign but also domestic travelers who are looking for a serene spot.

“We will charge 150 Euros (Rs 9,300) for a single night stay in a room,” said Nevaita. The amount is inclusive of pick-up and dropping of tourists from and at either Bagdogra airport or New Jalpaiguri railway station.

Added to these are meals, evening cocktail, bonfires, cultural show and sightseeing in Darjeeling, including a joy ride on toy train between Ghoom and Darjeeling.

The drinks that will be served free of cost, however, include only Indian-made foreign liquors, although there is no limit if you really plan to binge. “If people want high-end liquor, then they will have to shell out more,” said Nevatia.

A ride along the Choota Rangit and angling in it are also included in the package. Tour operators, however, suggest that people looking for a perfect holiday should stay in the garden for at least three days.

Tourists, who make a beeline for Tumsong, are assured of a bonding with the garden flavor. “The visitors will plant a sapling on the day he arrives at Retreat. Until it matures, we will be sending the client a packet of Darjeeling Tea every year on the date he arrived at our bungalow. Once the plant grows, we will process the leaves and start sending the yield for his entire lifetime, said Nevatia.

If you are a bit adventurous also, the place might be of your liking. The organizers will take you to a spot where you may be able to see leopards and deer move in the wild.