Chamong Teas
About Estates

The tea that is born in Chamong is steeped in the magnificence of its surroundings. It is delicate, distinctive, flavorful, historical, full of majesty and unforgettable—just like Chamong.

Dhajea tea is subtle and pale, like the rising sun as it slants in through the morning mists over the rolling Rungbong plains. A 2 minute steep in hot water, just short of boiling, and you have the perfect cup of Dhajea morning sunlight for the start of your day.

Planted with pride, nurtured with care, raised with happiness and picked in song, Soom’s tender tea is the color and flavor of contentment in your cup.

Begin a demanding day with the energizing, orangey color of a cup of Bannockburn steeped for 3 minutes at boiling temperature. It will infuse you with a relaxed confidence and will give you a taste for victory.

Mystical Darjeeling

Just beyond Darjeeling hills, begin the greater Himalayas, where the mighty lord Kanchenjunga stands tall with his snow covered peaks forever in clouds. And with him, stand his brothers—the highest of the Himalayan range—among them, the Everest. Tall Sal forests stretch skywards on these gentle slopes, standing erect in naturally disciplined rows and columns, silent sentries to their royal snow-lords.

Here, 4000-6000 feet above sea level, the weather is always crisp, the mist clean and fresh and the air clear and true. Water cascades down from the majestic snow capped mountains in thousands of ice-sparkling streams.

And it is here that graceful local women with high bamboo baskets on their backs work in unison along the slopes. They look like rainbow dots of color amidst the bright green shrubs that grow in this area of ample rainfall and natural drainage—the ideal conditions for the sensitive tea bush. They pick the most tender, top two leaves and a bud that are responsible for the incomparable burst of flavor in your cup of brew.

The flavor you know as Darjeeling is touched by the magic of the rich soil and the enchantment of the land in which the tea grows. This is tea without equal; its taste cannot be replicated anywhere else on Earth.

The Tea Board of India has granted only 87 plantations in Northern West Bengal the right to call their tea “Darjeeling” and to use the “Darjeeling” logo on their produce. Of these 87, 13 are owned by the Chamong Group.

At Chamong Group, we add to that flavor the premium quality and organic production that makes your cup of tea the freshest thing straight from our gardens to your home.


The original inhabitants of the Darjeeling region were called the Lepcha, who converted to Buddhism many centuries ago. Lepcha Buddhist monks have for centuries found this area a spiritual haven, conducive to prayer, meditation and heavenly contemplation. In the summer months, little whistling birds the Lepchas called “Chamoo” gather here, monk-like in their quest for tranquility and harmony.

It is said that there was a pond in the Chamong tea estate. The clear, sweet waters of this pond provided drinking water to the estate’s residents. Sometimes, leaves and twigs fell into the water, making it dirty. The Chamoo birds would help clean the pond by taking away the leaves and twigs for their nests and the estate took its name from these birds.

Our flagship garden, Chamong, became a tea plantation as early as 1871. It was one of the first Darjeeling gardens to be acquired by the Lohia Group. Stretching over 332 hectares of land, Chamong is set into the side of a hill and its altitude ranges from 1150 meters to 1850 meters above sea level. Only about 132 hectares of this space is given to tea plantation, while a small area holds a tea factory and a village for laborers.

Most of the property is forest-land filled with a great variety of flora and fauna. The incredible splendor of this area has to be seen to be believed. As you walk through the tall, deciduous forest, liquid gold pours from the sun in streams from the broad, mystery-green Sal leaves as carefree monkey-families frolic in the dappled sun-spotted undergrowth of ferns and shrubs.



The Buddhist Lepchas, who dominated the Darjeeling area, traditionally hoisted 108 flags during their special prayer rituals. Driving through the breathtaking vistas of the North Eastern Himalayas, one is greeted by hundreds of Buddhist prayer flags flying high on bamboo poles and strung on lines at the high passes. The Buddhists believe that the flags take their prayers to the heavens and as the colors and prayers on the flag fade away with the seasons, so will their sins be washed away.

“Dhaja” means flag in the Lepcha language and over the years, the estate came to be called Dhajea—the place of prayer flags.

With an average elevation of around 3000 ft. above sea level, the Dhajea tea garden occupies an area that used to be a large forest of Rungbong trees on the bank of the Balason River. The estate employs 500 workers and will be certified 100% bio-organic in January 2007.

Around 180 hectares of this 317 hectare, horizontal piece of land is planted for an annual production of 95 million tones of tea. 30 hectares remain forest land and about 60 hectares are given to a workers’ village, road, factory, office and temple. The restless, clear and cold waters of the mountain river or “jhora” run through 47 hectares of Dhajea.

In keeping with the Chamong Group’s commitment to the welfare of its workers, the estate is host to 4 primary schools for 310 workers’ children and a High School with 1260 students from the Rungbong area. There is also a small dispensary in the garden.

The historic Dhajea garden was first cultivated with tea in 1870, as a division of the Moondakotee Tea Estate. Until 1995, green leaf from the garden was transported to the main factory by ropeway. This damaged the delicate flavor of the tea leaf and in 1995, a factory was constructed on the estate and the first single garden Dhajea teas were made.



Soom—the Lepcha word for triangle—is a triangular tea garden in the lap of the Greater Himalayas, where Shiva meditates. The estate is surrounded by the Little Rangeet—a mountain river—and three other tea estates.

Captain J. Jerden was the first planter of Soom in 1860. According to the locals, the first factory at Soom was constructed by Chinese laborers. Afterwards, the British multinational, Williamson Magor, owned the garden for more than a century. The Chamong Group took control of the dying historical estate in 2001 and gave it a new lease of life.

Soom occupies a total of 535 hectares of scenic land in West Darjeeling. Of this, 237 hectares are planted with the help of 692 permanent workers and many more contract workers. Soom is home to about 7000 people and is one of the most densely populated areas of the Darjeeling hill regions. Most of Soom’s residents are either Nepalese, like the Chettri, Brahman, Mukhia or from the Tibetan Buddhist tribes like the Rai, Limboo, Lepcha, Tamang etc.

Of these, only 2-3% (about 200 people) are self employed or in Government or Private employment. The rest of the earning inhabitants of Soom secure their livelihoods either directly or indirectly from the tea garden. The workers villages in the three divisions of Soom have about 500 houses provided by the Chamong Group and 150 private houses.

There is one local language primary school in each of Soom’s three divisions and also an upscale primary school where the medium of instruction is English. In addition, a high school is conveniently situated just 2 kilometers from the garden.

After taking control of Soom, the Chamong Group has taken several steps to improve the socio-economic lives of Sooms inhabitants. The Group runs an 8 bed hospital and has a visiting Doctor and trained medical staff to take care of the daily health needs of Soom’s workers. Drinking water, new roads, irrigation, awareness camps on health, hygiene are just some of the proactive programs that are bettering the lives of Soom’s populace.

Like the other Chamong Group estates, Soom is also in the process of becoming fully bio-organic and its workers are regularly given instruction on the latest techniques on improving quality, production and productivity as well as maintaining SQF and IMO norms in the garden.



Bannockburn Tea Estate is located in the West Darjeeling Valley. It has a planted area of 143 hectares of a total of around 300 hectares of land and produces 90,000 kgs of tea. The estate employs around 500 workers and is engaged in the process o f conversion to organic cultivation.

The Bannockburn Tea Estate was one of the first tea gardens in Darjeeling; planted in the 1850s just a few years after the British brought the earliest Chinese tea plants into the region. The estate is named after the famous battle in which Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated the English King Edward II in 1314. The hilly area near Darjeeling probably reminded the original Scot planters of their home terrain and the tiny hamlet near Glasgow. Even in these post-colonial times, the name of the Bannockburn Tea Estate in Darjeeling keeps a little bit of Scotland in India and commemorates and perpetuates the famous Scot victory.

An east facing slope just past the army barracks a few miles from the center of Darjeeling, is home to Bannockburn. The estate consists of a tea factory, the estate workers' village and an area of forest leading up to a small mountain river.

The signature Bannockburn single estate Darjeeling tea has been a traditional favorite with British connoisseurs and has won several taste awards including the 2003 Great Taste Gold Award for the best single estate specialty tea.

The classic first flush Bannockburn is multifaceted and balanced: the most satisfying cup of tea you can get. A mature tea from one of the first Darjeeling gardens, it is fresh yet fruity with citrus and apricot notes; crisp yet mellow with honey undertones.