The Planter’s Bungalow
A sprawling bungalow amidst lush green tea plantaions, liveried servants, socialising at planter’s clubs, billiards, golf and the likes…this pretty much sums up the idyllic lifestyle of the collonial planters who came to manage the British owned gardens and thrive the tea industry in the wilderness of India’s Nort-Eastern state of Assam.
Idyllic it was, but in an era that is bygone and with changing times life on tea gardens started changing. The manager’s bungalow (which once housed the “mai-baap” of garden labourers) on many estates started remaining unoccupied.
However, with the budding bond between tea and tourism in recent times, some of the innovative tea estate owners have taken up the task of restoring old tea garden bungalows and converting them into boutique hotels. It only seems befitting that Assam, which has been romancing tea for centuries, is home to some of the must-visit heriage bungalows.
If you are planning a tea tour extravaganza consider, the options below and relive the colonial tea environment.
Kaziranga Golf Resort
A first of its kind in the world, this is a premium heritage resort in Jorhat which houses an 18 hole golf course in the midst of the Sangsua Tea Estate which is known for its famous Assam black tea. The Club House of the resort is a 125-year-old bungalow, known as “Burra Sahib’s Bungalow”. The heritage bungalow was originally used by the visiting agents and is known for its colonial architecture. Apart from being a golfer’s paradise, the resort is popular amongst tourist due to its close proximity to the world famous Kaziranga National Park.
Located near Tezpur in Assam, this 22 acre property lies in midst of the Balipara division of Addabarie Tea Estate, established by the British Assam Tea Company in 1864. The Victorian style, 3-bedroom Heritage Bungalow, formerly resided by the visiting agents, boasts of 100 years of rich history. Live the life of a British Sahib and Memsahib while here and enjoy cups of rich assam black tea!
Another bungalow over 100 years old is locaed at the Gatoonga Tea Estate in Jorhat. The old-charm bunglow was home to the factory assistant manager, popularly referred to as Mistry Sahib for his knowledge of mechanics. Hence, the bunglow is also known as Mistry Sahib’s Bungalow, and is in fact even visited by one till date.
These are excellent properties where you can enjoy the laid-back, luxurious life that was common during the British Raj, while savouring the taste of fine Assam teas every day.