Wah Tea Estate — Palampur's Hidden Gem for Tea Aficionados

by - September 02, 2023

There is a world to explore beyond Shimla and Dalhousie. Snuggled in the heart of the Kangra Valley, Palampur beckons with its ethereal beauty. A resplendent jewel in the crown of Himachal Pradesh, this quaint town is renowned for its lush tea gardens and breathtaking landscapes. Among these verdant havens lies the illustrious Wah Tea Estate, where tea cultivation is not just a craft but a tradition passed down through generations. 

This article is an artefact of my visit to the Wah Tea Estate in Palampur, an experience that transcended time and space.

The Journey to Wah Tea Estate

The road to Palampur, meandering through dense forests and pristine mountains, is a prelude to the magic that awaits. Wah Tea Estate, situated a mere 3 kilometers from the heart of Palampur, is a sanctuary of tranquility. The journey here is a part of the adventure, where the invigorating mountain air fills your lungs, and every twist and turn brings you closer to nature's embrace.

If you're starting from Bir, which lies 30 kilometres off Palampur, you will pass through the hamlets and a road unfrequented by tourists. 

Exploring the Tea Gardens

Stepping onto the sacred grounds of the Wah Tea Estate feels like entering a different dimension. The tea gardens, meticulously terraced and flawlessly maintained, stretch as far as the eye can behold. As I wandered through the gardens, the heady fragrance of tea leaves unfurling in the breeze was nothing short of intoxicating. The estate graciously offered guided tours, and serendipity was on my side as I was paired with a guide whose knowledge of tea was as profound as the landscape before us.

Our journey began at the lower slopes, where the tea bushes flourished in abundance. Here, tea leaves were plucked with precision, destined for the transformation into the famed Kangra tea - renowned for its delicate flavour and intoxicating aroma. I had the privilege of trying my hand at plucking tea leaves, a task that unveiled the labour-intensive artistry behind each cup.

Our next destination was the processing unit, where tea leaves underwent a mesmerizing metamorphosis. Withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying - these steps were orchestrated like a symphony, culminating in the creation of tea as we know it. The guide's passion for the craft and the estate's rich history lent an extraordinary depth to the experience.

Tea Tasting Delight

After the tour, it was time for the pièce de résistance - tea tasting. We were led to a quaint tea room that overlooked the gardens. The fragrance of freshly brewed tea caressed our senses, and the atmosphere was nothing short of enchanting.

An array of exotic teas awaited my discerning palate - mint green, earl grey, and rose, each a masterpiece in its own right. The Kangra black tea, with its floral notes and a whisper of citrus, was an indulgence that left an indelible mark on my soul.

You can shop for different teas, gift boxes, and a variety of herbal products such as mosquito and insect repellant, which was a delight for someone who loves gifting. 

Tea Room Cafe

We headed next to the plush cafe facing the tea garden. The tables were carefully arranged. A few, for two persons, overlooking the garden, and a few in the centre, for groups. The menu is vast, with desserts, sandwiches, biryani, and parathas. And if you're visiting during the eventide, nothing like having a lemon cake drizzled with honey and any of their exotic tea variants. 

It's an experience one must not miss. Rewind and simmer down alongside the garden, and read about the Indian Chai from their library. 

Image Credits: thelodgeatwah.com 

The Lodge at Wah

For the utmost luxury experience, stay at The Lodge. The cottages there are a testament to local craftsmanship and sustainable construction. These structures are meticulously crafted using indigenous materials and the expertise of skilled artisans from the Palampur region. The very essence of these cottages emanates from the earth beneath, as they are constructed entirely from on-site excavated mud. 

One cannot help but admire the striking slate roofs, drawing inspiration from the traditional homes of the 'gaddi' tribe. These roofs are not just a visual delight; they are also masterfully designed to ensure water tightness and symmetry when viewed from any angle. 

Book your stay @ The Lodge At Wah

My trip to the Wah Tea Estate, Palampur, transcended mere travel. It was an odyssey into the realm of tea cultivation, an awakening of appreciation for the alchemy of tea-making, and a communion with nature that words can barely capture. If you ever find yourself in the serene embrace of Palampur, do not let the opportunity slip through your fingers. Explore Wah Tea Estate, and allow yourself to be enveloped in the beauty and serenity of this tea garden. It is a journey that will awaken your senses, quench your thirst for tea, and etch a memory that will endure through time - an experience deserving of the finest magazine pages.

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