Prior to the introduction of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the journey from Siliguri to Darjeeling took up to 5 days, employing rail, boat, horse and ropeways. After the introduction of the mountain railway, the ropeways were slowly abandoned.

We found only one such ropeway rebuilt and in operation. A 20 minutes journey took us above the tea plantations. The variety of tea grown there is called chai.

To better understand the process, we moved to Happy Valley tea estate, in business since 1854. The factory was closed and only maintenance personnel was there because it was off season. But one worker took us for a short tour and explained how the century old British machines still prepare varieties of chai such as green, golden or black. Finally, they took us to a nearby village for a chai tasting.

It was such a pleasant experience!