The Story of Rungneet (Kanchaan View) Darjeeling Tea Estate

Correction on ownership 17 Sep 2016: Rungneet (Kanchaan View) is owned by Ajit Agarwala as Proprietor and is part of Terai Group.

The Rungneet (Kanchaan View) Darjeeling Tea Estate is part of the history of India in more ways than one. Rajiv Lochan tells their story here. [Editor’s note: Rungneet is the former name of Kanchaan View; for the sake of making that known to you, we have used both names here. “Kanchaan” is sometimes spelled “Kanchan” but we used the more common spelling.]

The Rungneet (Kanchaan View) Darjeeling Tea Estate was recently visited by Tamas Leidal and Ayush Gupta of Namhah Tea. Click each photo (supplied by the Rajiv) to see details:

When the British arrived in Darjeeling in 1828, it was an inhabited area. There were Lepcha villages in Lebong area and a Muslim settlement around present day G building where a mosque still stands. The mosque was the central building around which the remaining battle weary-troops of an assault dispatch to conquer Lhasa by Risaldar of Purnia, the last bastion of Mugal empire on this northeastern corner of India, had settled. King of Sikkim was a force to be reckoned with before doing so and the invaders were ill prepared to cross mighty Teesta river and at Ranipul – the gateway to Gangtok – the capital of Sikkim and seat of the King strategically located town on way to next kingdom of Tibet where a fathomless stock of gold in Potala monastery was a great attraction through Nathu La.

Both these settlements were at around 6,000 feet above mean sea level and a cart road was made on top of the ridge which was much colder and had to be left with forest tree cover to stop soil erosion by lashing rains and resulting denudation. Mahakal temple, military camps with full visibility of surrounding areas, and St. Paul’s school were later developed. Dr. Campbell’s cottage was built there to oversee the progress of construction of British buildings, churches, offices, hospital, clubs etc. etc.

From 1850s tea started getting planted from Lebong nursery and Darjeeling Tea Company came into being first which was followed by Tukvar Tea Company between whom was the source of river Rungneet. Some industrious British planted this small tea plantation which was later augmented with a manufacturing factory and a conveniently located bungalow which served as a club cum headquarters of these two great tea companies in those early years of evolution of tea in Darjeeling. No authentic records are available today but by studying the tell-tale signs of history’s footprints in this area it is sure tea of this area made good fortunes for those old tea planters and they enjoyed life to the hilt.

Coming to the present day scenario Rungneet’s advantages have gotten converted to great disadvantages and it has become an uneconomical marginal source of some wonderful China teas which are being revived now from a modern mini factory. Vivek Lochan is overseeing the marketing with Sudhan Gurung at the helm of affairs at Terai Group, the present owners of this property. (Rungneet is owned by Kanchanview Tea Co. Pvt Ltd., part of Terai Group but not shown on their site.)

Rajiv Lochan
Lochan Tea Limited

About the Author: Rajiv Lochan is a veteran of the tea industry with over 30 years experience, mainly in the Darjeeling area of northern India. He and his family now also run the Doke Tea Garden in Bihar, India, and Lochan Tea, Ltd., a tea vendor. He is also now serving as a “tea diplomat” with tea professionals in China. His personal site.

Tasting Notes from A.C. Cargill:

The tea: Kanchaan View FTGFOP1 2016 2nd Flush

This tasting was a quick one. One infusion of the tea leaves using water heated to 190°F and steeping for 2 minutes. Click on each photo to see details of the results:

© 2016-2020 World Is a Tea Party photos and text


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