Over the years, several of our wholesale customers have visited Makaibari and this year, it was the turn of Linda and Sonam, my good friends and customers. (From left to right, my sister, Srirupa, Sonam, Rajah and Linda with tea pluckers behind them). We could almost be a travel agency with the amount of guests, itineraries and arrangements that we now expertly handle. Darjeeling has a lot to offer apart from the tea estates. It has a renowned Mountaineering Institute, spectacular sunrises over the Himalayan mountains, Tibetan monasteries, a famous high-elevation, narrow 'toy train' that still carries passengers, shopping and many opportunities for day trips to other adventures. Makaibari is off the Pankhabari Road which is the main artery connecting the airport to Darjeeling town and our estate runs right through it. Every visitor sees the prominent billboards announcing Makaibari.
Not everyone stays at the house, of course. But those who are lucky enough to do so get an authentic experience at a tea bungalow with "bed tea" brought to the room each morning and visits to the factory, guided tea tastings, interaction with workers at the health clinic, sorting room, their houses, child care facilities and during tea manufacture. Add to this, personal time with Rajah & Srirupa at home and the two German Shepherds, Sencha & Jade. Unlike many Darjeeling estates with anonymous workers and absentee landlords, Makaibari is a community of thriving workers, managers and owners, each engaged and in a partnership. It not only makes for good living but great tea.