Your visit to the hill station of Darjeeling will not be complete if you do not make a trip to the Happy Valley tea estate. As the name suggests, a trip to the tea factory will instantly put you in a happy mood as you walk through the lush green tea plantations and take in the view of the mighty Kanchenjunga surrounding the valley.
The Happy valley tea estate is one of the oldest tea factories in Darjeeling. You can tour the entire tea factory in one day.
The tea estate was originally established in the year 1854 by an Englishman named Wilson. But in 1903 the ownership was passed over to a rich Bengali man named T.P Banerjee. Ever since then the Banerjee’s have been taking care of the management of the tea estate until 2008 when Sanjay Bansal took over the ownership of the factory. Even the roads going to the tea estate have been named after him.
When the estate was owned by Mr. Wilson, it was known as the Wilson Estate. Mr. Banerjee went on to buy another tea estate known as Windsor Tea Estate in the year 1929. Later on, he combines these two to create the Happy Valley Tea Estate. The total area of the tea estate stands approximately 270 hectares.
The tea estate is located 3km from the Chowk Bazaar area. While the road to the tea estate is quite steep, the climb will be worth it once you reach the tea factory. As you walk through the winding roads with the Kanchenjunga looming high over you, you will be instantly transported to a dreamland where everything is quiet and peaceful. Along the way, local cottages and the home of villagers will greet you.
This is the nearest tea estate to Darjeeling and its proximity to the town center also makes it more convenient to reach.
Things to Do
At the tea estate, you can learn about how tea leaves are processed from the very beginning. You will see the workers pluck leaves and you are also allowed to ask them questions if you cannot restrain your curiosity.
Your guide will also tell you the different steps involved in making tea, and by the end of the tour, you would have known everything about tea processing. We recommend a guided tour because the area is vast, and you only have a few hours to tour the entire place.
The estate is quite picturesque, surrounded by Kanchenjunga and tall trees, your pictures will come out great! It is the perfect place to go with your family.
After you are done taking pictures, you can buy teabags right from the factory itself. You can then enjoy this aromatic tea back at home. Instead, if you want to taste the tea before buying, you can head over to the Happy Golden cafe right beside the factory to taste the tea before ordering it directly from their website.
If you cannot buy tea bags or packets in the factory itself you can taste the tea from the factory at the Happy Golden Cafe that is located right beside the estate. You can taste a piping hot black tea freshly plucked from the Happy Valley Tea Garden at just 25 rupees at the cafe.
Apart from black tea, you can taste other varieties of tea as well. The cafe is operated by a local lady who sources the tea leaves from the employees of the factory.
When you are visiting the Happy Valley Tea estate you must keep in mind the opening hours of the tea estate. The estate is open from 8 am to 4 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. The factory remains closed on Mondays and Sundays. The estate remains closed during the winter months as tea leaves are not plucked from November to February.
You can get a guided tour of the place. These local guides are the employees of the factory who give tours of the factory when they are not on duty. The entry fee is around 150 rupees. If you are a single person, do not worry, they offer guided trips for single persons as well. However, if you do not want a guided tour and are not interested in knowing about tea processing then you can simply visit the estate and hang around without paying any entry fee.
Unfortunately, the tea estate does not provide accommodation to visitors. But you can find accommodation near the Chowk Bazaar. There are several hotels and homestays, where you can stay in Darjeeling. Since the tea estate is quite near to the town center, it will not be too difficult for you to find transportation to the tea estate.
All the hotels and the homestays provide hot water, geyser, and other amenities to make your stay comfortable. Before making a trip to Darjeeling, book a hotel that is within your price range is close to the Chowk Bazaar.
How to Reach Happy Valley Tea Estate
The Happy Valley tea estate is in Darjeeling, West Bengal, so you will have to first reach Darjeeling.
It is possible to reach Darjeeling by road. The hill station is well connected to other major cities of India, like Gangtok, Kalimpong, and Siliguri. Once you reach Siliguri you can then a bus or a cab to Darjeeling.
The nearest railway station is the New Jalpaiguri Station, West Bengal. The railway station is well connected to other major cities of the country. From the front of the railway station, take a taxi to Darjeeling.
You will arrive at the quickest if you opt to travel by Air. The nearest airport to Darjeeling is the Bagdogra Airport, West Bengal. The airport is connected to cities like Guwahati, Delhi, and Kolkata. From the airport itself, you can find cabs or buses that will take you directly to Darjeeling.
As already mentioned, the tea estate is located exactly 3kms away from Chowk Bazaar. You can get a cab from there. Since the distance is quite short they will not charge you too much.
You might come across reluctant taxi drivers who will not be too willing to drive down such a short distance. In that case, you can easily walk your way through the T.P Banerjee road but please be aware that the road is not in very good condition, there are too many potholes. It will take you around 25-30 minutes to reach the tea estate if you walk.
The Happy Valley tea estate will be the perfect stop at the end of your trip. End your Darjeeling trip at the Happy Valley tea estate. The short trip is not exhausting and is the perfect way to end such a memorable trip.
The Happy Valley tea estate also serves as an excellent gateway for the weekend with family. The tour is suitable for young kids as well, just make sure that you are carrying warm clothes with you at all times because it can get chilly in the evenings.
For a budget traveler, you cannot skip this place on your itinerary. The entry fee is merely 150 rupees which is quite affordable. For simply hanging out in the garden, you would not have to pay anything at all!