Makaibari spans over six ridges, flanking the breathtaking hills of Kurseong. Founded 160 years ago, it houses the world’s first tea factory which is built entirely in wood, bamboo, and cast iron. It is also the only one in Darjeeling to have never been owned by components of the Raj. A variety of fruits, wild flowers, and woods grow along with the tea, untamed and unmanaged – as nature would have it. And that’s just part of its appeal. This sentiment extends to the way the estate is managed; as a living organism that has a scope far beyond the fence lines of the garden. Tea is grown without the constraints of yield or dividends. The plantation covers 550 acres and the forests cover twice that area, making supervision intensely difficult. While this makes it thrice as hard to farm tea at Makaibari, the collective effort of man and forests gives its brew the magical flavour. Tea is treated as a herb, one of the many medicines provided by the forests, known to aid metabolism and cure several ailments. Being the oldest tea factory in the world, it employs organic production and traditional processing, said to retain the medicinal value.
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