India has given many gifts to the world, including its cuisine, saffron and other spices, and its world-famous teas; in fact it remains one of the world's largest tea producers of tea in the world. Commercial cultivation of tea was started in Darjeeling, West Bengal during the colonial era of British rule. Nestled amidst the region's lush green slopes (top), there are many tea estates found in this region, many of which offer guest bungalows and the chance to freely roam among the tea gardens, join in the experience of plucking tea leaves, and enjoy a comfortable stay in the lap of nature.
Darjeeling tea was India's GI designation (GI standing for "geographical indication", similar to France's AOC, apellation d'origine contrôlée). Considered to be the “Champagne of teas” by many connoisseurs, Its tea comes with a strong muscatel flavour - described as a muscat-wine-like fruitiness and spiciness akin to dried raisins with a hay-like finish - and its prized status has made tea tourism in Darjeeling quite popular, especially amongst upmarket travellers (with notable exceptions; see Munnar, below).