On December 20, 2012, the second annual Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival opened its 20-day stint in Chowrasta, which included a charity tea auction organized by the India Tea Association. The auction was conducted by world-renowned Darjeeling tea tester Krishan Katyal of J Thomas and Co. and featured seven lots of Makaibari, Margaret’s Hope, Mim, Sungma, Badamtam, and Teesta Valley, including sub-districts such as Rungbong Valley, Mirik, Kurseong, and Darjeeling represented.
Tata, Lochan, Golden Tips, Gujrat Tea Processors, and Mahabodhi participated in this charity tea auction and 45,000 to 61,000 INR bids were called, resulting in the collection of 3.78 hundred thousand rupees (7,500 USD), which were to be donated to the Gorkha Territorial Authority for help in developing various tea worker-related events.
The Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival is an excellent event covering all four sub-divisions of Darjeeling, namely Kurseong, Mirik, Kalimpong, and Siliguri, not to mention Darjeeling itself. Considering the great potential of tourism and the unique views of the Himalayas, this festival is a wonderful opportunity to see the tea gardens and factories in the area, and experience the local culture and food.
It also helps to attract foreign tea tourists and tea tourism groups who are not very familiar with the region. In the future, it will be particularly important to organize this festival during the tea season, so that tea tourists can experience the tea harvest and manufacturing activities that are unique to the Darjeeling region.
Merging the symposium held as part of the India Tea Forum in Siliguri with the Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival could help to showcase Darjeeling tea even more, particularly as Siliguri is one of Darjeeling’s sub-divisions and is the second largest tea auction center and third largest tea town after Calcutta and Gauhati. Organized by the CII – Confederation of Indian Industry, the India Tea Forum was also supported by the ITA – Indian Tea Association – and the Indian Tea Board.