“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground
The exhilarating experience of staying in heritage bungalows resided earlier by the British colonial rulers amidst the evergreen tea gardens. We bring you a list of six such properties in Assam.
Chameli Memsaheb Bungalow, Cinnamora Tea Estate , Jorhat
(photo courtesy : Mr. Shashanka Deka – facebook.com/shashanka.deka)
Set up by first Indian commercial tea planter Maniram Dewan, Cinnamara will complete 175 years in 2018 is now owned by the Assam Tea Corporation Limited (ATCL), still houses the graveyard of the freedom fighter, which died at the gallows. Cinnamara and Senglung tea estates were started by Dewan between 1843 and 1845 after he resigned from the post of dewan, land agent and chief executive, of India’s first tea company, the Assam Company. Although Cinnamara still exists, Senglung got lost in time and there were no records available about the garden, till Pradip Baruah, a tea expert undertaking research on Assam tea on behalf of TeaVision, an NGO, discovered the tea estate a couple of years back in Sivasagar district.
History has it that Cinnamara was confiscated by the British and auctioned off soon after the execution of Dewan in 1858 for his role in the freedom struggle. British tea company George Williamson purchased the two estates. However, they fell on bad times as the laborers refused to cooperate with the new owner. They remained loyal to Maniram Dewan, forcing the company to part with them.Cinnamara tea estate was taken over by Jorehaut Tea Company and developed later.
The heritage bungalow at the tea estate is located amidst lush green tea bushes has been given a facelift to make the stay comfortable for tourists. A small museum at the estate where old photographs, history of the garden, artefacts are on display. The bungalow at Cinnamara tea estate, whose floor is made of teak wood, has been lying unused for several years.
Puroni Bheti Tea Bunglow, Haroocharai Tea Estate, Jorhat
Heritage Tea Bungalows of Assam
(photo courtesy : Mr.Kuntil Baruwa – facebook.com/kuntil.baruwa
The Haroocharai Tea Estate is open to enjoy delicious blends and refined Assamese cuisine, and visitors are greeted by the owners, Indrani Barooah and Rajeeb Barooah. Local dancers contribute to a cheerful outdoor dining experience, while the tea pickers in their colorful clothes collect the leaves of the Camellia sinensis, while stealing a view of the dancers for a moment. Puroni Bheti means old foundation which is a crude literal translation. In its essence in the Assamese language it is a place from where humble beginnings were made by a family. The Lodge stands on what once housed the first office of the 116 year old Haroocharai Tea Estate.
Burra Sahib’s Bungalow, Sangsua Tea Estate, Jorhat
Burra Sahib’s Bungalow, owned by the Barooahs is situated in Sangsua Tea Estate, is known for its quaint colonial architecture and associated with a unique and graceful lifestyle of an age gone by. This big “L” shaped bungalow, surrounded by tea plantations, huge trees, where all one hears are the frogs and crickets seems time has come to a standstill. Built during 1900-1905, with the British colonial exterior, sprawling interiors of carpeted floors, four bedrooms, high ceilings, verandah (courtyard) with sloping corrugated iron sheet roofs and a panoramic view of acres of flower-bedecked garden.
Having four bed-rooms, a large sitting room, and verandahs, all around to suit the climate. This house was refurbished with all modern amenities. Keeping its original style, retaining the old furniture and furnishings with fire places, was converted for tourists into a guest-house, in particular for tourists coming to tour the famous Kaziranga Wild life sanctuary or the Majuli Islands (the biggest river island in the world).The bathrooms, big and elaborate, with 24 hours of hot & cold Water/Shower, got a new look in the 80”s with modern fittings, retiled in pastels and floral designs, making it all look nice and beautiful.
With food, served by their smiley uniformed staff, are delicious Anglo Indian dinners with traditional and continental meals.
With activities , guests could go for Golf or even stroll to the Golf course , or go to the Burra Sahib”s personal fishing lake , that looks beautiful after the rains or go to the tea estate tour for tea tasting.
Mancotta Chang Bungalow, Mancotta Tea Estate, Dibrugarh
The Mancotta bungalow is owned by the Jalans, one of the oldest tea-growing families in Assam, their business dating back to the middle of the 19th century and still going strong. In recent years, they have converted two of their ‘manager’s bungalows’ into guesthouses, but not of the usual touristy kind. They are not widely advertised and are not bursting at the seams with visitors either. There are six rooms on offer at Mancotta Chang, with and without air-conditioning.
Balipara Bungalow – Wild Masheer, Addabarie Tea Estate, Balipara
Taste the lifestyle of a Colonial tea planter at Wild Mahseer, a 22-acre sanctuary comprising the jewel in our crown, the exclusive Heritage Bungalow, an additional 4 cozy tea bungalows, the First Flush dining pavilion and Two & A Bud conference facility all located on a certified organic property.
Wild Mahseer is the perfect place to relax and be pampered between forays out to witness Assam’s breathtaking pristine scenery, discover its rare and abundant wildlife, meet its eclectic mix of people and savour its flavorful multi-cultural cuisine.
The Heritage Bungalow is immersed in over 100 years of rich history. Set in the midst of the Addabarie Tea Estate, it was originally the Visiting Agent’s residence. After renovation and fronted by a massive lawn interspersed with mature trees, decorative beds blooming with seasonal flowers and dotted with wooden benches, it is a perfect refuge for visitors keen to re-create the experience of the old-world British planters’ lifestyle.
Wathai Heritage Bungalow, Limbuguri Tea Estate, Tinsukia
The low-slung bungalow, embroidered at its fringes with a sizeable lawn, lies partly in the shade of a scattering of trees. The sun-seared green roof crouches protectively over the wraparound verandah “cocooning” walls painted ivory. Wathai, the renovated manager’s bungalow — with two large bedrooms and a family suite — in Assam’s Tinsukia district, is run by the Dibrugarh-based Jalans, who own vast swathes of tea plantations in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. Limbuguri is a convenient post for travellers taking a break after Kaziranga National Park. A stay in a heritage bungalow in the heart of tea country, a trip to Dibru Saikhowa and a tour of Wakro in Arunachal Pradesh, are on offer. The large bedroom (Yuhina) immediately off the drawing room features a double bed, cupboards and old-fashioned dressing table, all painted white. The spacious bathroom contains a gleaming tub and WC. The bedroom we are assigned (Sibia) is twin-bedded, with a slightly smaller bathroom. The third room, Minla, is family-sized, with an extra bed, dressing table and sizeable bathroom.
Dinner is brought to us in the slightly stark dining room, its slice of glory the original fireplace. It is simple home-cooked fare. Breakfast served in the sunny jaali kamra, however, is a typical planter’s brekkie — eggs and yummy veg cutlets, seared tomatoes with a spot of cheese, fruit and juice, marmalade, heaps of hot toast and tea.
India offers plenty when it comes to choosing accommodation ,whether you’re looking for unbridled luxury or a simple homestay. Eventours Travels brings to you some exceptional places for you to experience in some of the most exotic locations in eastern India.