Anandway: Blog

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Saxifrage flower in Valley of Flowers - Nanda Devi National Park

Saxifrage flower in Valley of Flowers, Nanda Devi National Park, Himalaya, India

Saxifrage flower in Valley of Flowers, Nanda Devi National Park, Himalaya, India.

Valley of Flowers: In the Himalayan region of Garhwal, in Uttranchal state, the captivating Valley of Flowers is a paradise on Earth. With a touch of mystique and divine solitude, it inspires equanimity. A World Heritage Site since the year 1988, the Valley of Flowers has enraptured mountaineers and botanists alike much longer. Keep Reading

Taking a Tea tour in the Himalayas

Makaibari tea estate, Kurseong

Matt Gross finds his way around tea estates in the Himalayas to recommend a visit:

Flying to a remote corner of India and braving the long drive into the Himalayas may seem like an awful lot of effort for a good cup of tea, but Darjeeling tea isn't simply good. It's about the best in the world, fetching record prices at auctions in Calcutta and Shanghai, and kick-starting the salivary glands of tea lovers from London to Manhattan.

In fact, Darjeeling is so synonymous with high-quality black tea that few non-connoisseurs realize it's not one beverage but many: 87 tea estates operate in the Darjeeling district, a region that sprawls across several towns (including its namesake) in a mountainous corner of India that sticks up between Nepal and Bhutan, with Tibet not far to the north.

Each has its own approach to growing tea, and in a nod to increasingly savvy and adventurous consumers, a few have converted bungalows into tourist lodging, while others are accepting day visitors keen to learn the production process, compare styles and improve their palates — a teetotaler's version of a Napa Valley wine tour, but with no crowds.

The men who run the estates are royalty — and they know it. When visiting their domains, you are at their disposal, not the other way around. At times, this can be frustrating; at others, delightfully frustrating.

I had my first such encounter — the latter sort — at Makaibari, an estate just south of the town of Kurseong, around 4,500 feet above sea level. More...

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