The weather is improving in Darjeeling but still, not a drop of rain. You can't hurry Mother Nature. Some years the season starts early March. Of late, with the climate changing across the globe, the first flush can be as late as the 3rd week of March with a decent amount of leaf only becoming available in April. One never knows.
The winter season gives tea gardens an opportunity to clean out factories, refurbish and repair equipment and provides workers with some time off. This is earned pay. Tea estate workers must work when there is leaf because most of the world's tea is dormant in the winter. Darjeeling had a very cold start to the winter last year but now the days are warming while the nights are still chilly. Gurkha unrest continues. Their demands for a separate state resulted in many 'bandhs' or strikes in the past few months. Tourism was adversely affected - a major source of revenue for the Darjeeling area.
Stay tuned - when the new season begins, you will be the first to know.
(Photo courtesy of Matt Monroe).