The Kangra valley is situated in North India in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh.
At an elevation of 1,500 meters and ringed by peaks which are white-capped all year around, this beautiful valley nestled in the Himalayan foot hills has an awe-inspiring backdrop of the snow covered Dhauladhar mountain range which towers over the valley at 5,500 meters above sea level.
The valley, blessed by the twin advantages of a temperature range of 13-35°C during the cropping season of March-October and an annual precipitation of 250–230 cms of well distributed rainfall, is an absolutely ideal tea cultivation area. These unique topographical and climatic conditions must, obviously, have been the deciding factors way back in the 1850s when the Kangra Valley was opened up to tea planting. The then British planters in their wisdom used a cold-resistant Chinese cultivar as the only planting stock. This same high quality tea stock, having been propagated for the last century and a half, is till today the only raw material for all teas produced in the valley.
Tea in Kangra, which thrived and grew from the time of its inception in the mid 19th century, fell off the map following a devastating earthquake which struck the region in 1905. That disaster, which totally disrupted the industry, resulted in an exodus of the British from the area leaving behind the ethnic marginal growers. Having never fully recovered from that catastrophe, the industry today is confined to approximately 2,500 hectares of small holdings run by a handful of tenacious never-say-die planters who continue to hang in there.
The excellent inherent quality of the Chinese origin tea plants, the only cultivar propagated since the original planting, aided by a combination of optimum environmental conditions, is what gives Kangra tea it’s superlative and distinctive cup quality. What definitely adds to the flavour is the fact that the valley, thanks to natural benevolence (hence the nom de plume - ‘Valley of the Gods’) is TOTALLY free of any tea related pests or diseases so that there is zero usage of chemicals, insecticides or pesticides. There is no other place in the world which can lay claim to being a natural organic tea producing region.
It is these factors which add up to making every single one of the Kangra Black and Green teas literally being a collector’s item. We present only four teas - the crème de la crème from the Valley of the Gods.
While each one of the four teas are available as ‘First Flush’ and ‘Rest of the Year’ variants, plucked and manufactured following the long and very cold winter hibernation, the Kangra First Flush teas are as complete and rounded a cup as one could ever wish for.
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