Tea Industry in Himachal Pradesh
(Source: Meghna Sood, 2016)
In 1849, Dr. Jameson brought China tea plants to Kangra valley, from Almora and Dehradun. Both black and green teas were manufactured in Kangra. But, the disaster of 1905, instabilities in the major importing regions like Kashmir and Afghanistan, and liquidation of tea auction centre at Punjab in 2005, brought down the tea trade to a great extent.
Quite unlike the organized tea planting that exists in Darjeeling, Assam and the Nilgiris, the Kangra tea, today literally survives against all odds. Dominated by small growers tea growing here is more of a cottage industry. At present, the tea acreage is estimated at 2,312 hectares with practically half the area considered either neglected or abandoned.
William Jameson, superintendent of the Botanical Gardens at Saharanpur and the Northwest Frontier Province, was the man who brought the tea plant to Kangra. In 1849, he planted Chinese hybrid shrubs at three places in the valley: Kangra town (altitude 750m); Nagrota (870m) and Bhawarna (960m).
Kangra town was too warm and dry, but the plants did well at the other two places. This was all the encouragement the local administration needed. Three years later, in 1852, it set up a commercial plantation at Holta near Palampur, at an altitude of 1,260m.