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The Bangladeshi Tea Estates

August 6, 2010

Madhabkunda Waterfall

The last week in Bangladesh, we took an overnight trip to Srimangal – a city in the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. Unlike most of Bangladesh which is flat, this is a hilly region and tea plants are grown on the hills intermixed with beautiful trees because tea plants need diffused light.

On our way to the tea estates, we stopped at an orchid plantation, which was beautiful. Then we went to the tea estate guesthouse – a vacation-type resort operated by the Bangladeshi government. The bungalow we stayed in was nice and met our needs. Next was a stop at Lawacharra National Park. We took a 30-mintue hike through the forest which took more like an hour because we took a side trail to a small tribal village that had just been modernized less than six years ago. This village existed completely disconnected from the rest of the world. We also looked for some of the animals that can be seen in this part of Bangladesh including several types of monkeys, the spotted, barking deer and giant spiders. We did not come across any deer. We saw several monkeys but not for long enough to get a good picture, but the spiders were plentiful.

The next day was full of excitement. Our first stop was to Madhabkunda Waterfall.  It was a rainy day so the waterfall was heavy and it made for a good trip. Viyellatex – the garment factory we toured earlier in the trip – also owns a new tea estate (Ruthna Tea Estates) in Sylhet. They just planted their first tea plants this year and hope to begin harvesting in a year. They invited us to their recently rehabbed guest house for tea. The views from this guesthouse were magnificent.

After Ruthna Tea Estate we stopped at a tea processing plant to learn how my new favorite beverage is made.

Women pick the tea in the fields.

After wilting, the tea goes to the CTC room - crush, tear, curl - a special process used in black tea production.

After CTC, the tea is dried.

Then the tea is sorted and is ready for packaging.


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