Temi Tarku, South Sikkim
The Temi Tea Garden lies between Damthang and Temi Bazaar along the way to Singtam. It was, established in 1969 by the Government of Sikkim and covers an area 440 acres. This is Sikkim's sole tea garden and connoisseurs will tell you that it is truly solitaire. The tea produced here enjoys international repute commanding premium prices in world auctions. The last king of Sikkim initiated tea growing in Sikkim to provide employment for Tibetan refugees fleeing the Chinese invasion of their homeland.
Initially a small plantation was started in Kewzing. This later moved to Temi and a proper processing plant was constructed. The government owned estate today produces about 1 lakh kg of tea annually. Temi tea is planted along steep hillsides ranging from 1200-1800m. The factory is situated at 1500m and the road upto it is lined with cherry blossom trees. Driving in November when these trees are in bloom is like moving through a pink mist beyond which one can glimpse the gleaming snows of Khangchendzonga. The drive upto Temi takes you through mountain sides lush with ferns. Recently the Institute of Marketology (IMO) of Switzerland has certified this tea garden as organic and hence the quality and demand of this certified product has ever increased.
A one of its kind carnival, the Cherry Tea Festival, aiming at promoting the natural beauty of cherry blossoms and organic tea produced at the famous 'Temi Tea Estate' is celebrated every year when cherry blossoms in full bloom during the month of November. The festival is a major draw for countless nature lovers who throng here to immerse their souls in ethereal beauty of the place that gets covered in the veil of blooming Cherry Blossoms, providing a hypnotising spectacle sitting against the serene backdrop of the majestic Kanchenjunga peak. Adventure activities, photography competitions and cultural programs too are an integral part of this annual fiesta that surely leaves all adventure buffs and cultural aficionadas basking in its wonderful memories for a number of days.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Anytime of the year except the rainy season would be best time to visit this place. The weather of South Sikkim remains pleasant throughout the year, however if you are visiting in winter then don't forget to carry warm clothes as it can get chilly during this time of the year.
HOW TO GET THERE
Airways: The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, West Bengal about 111 km from Temi Tarku. Sikkim also has got its first commercial airport at Pakyong, East Sikkim but weather hampers the operation of this airport most of the time. If you are lucky enough you can get a flight directly to Pakyong.
Railways: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal which is about 107 km from Temi Tarku. You can take a taxi to reach Temi Tarku via Singtam, which takes about 4-5 hours.
Roadways: Temi Tarku is about 42 km from Gangtok, the capital city and about 34 km from Namchi.