Kurseong in plantaža čaja Makaibari / Kurseong and Makaibari tea estate - Slovenia Wedding Photographer
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Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong in plantaža čaja Makaibari / Kurseong and Makaibari tea estate

15 – urni vlak iz Varanasija je bil naporen. Otroci imajo karte zastonj, indijske družine pa veliko otrok. Ker sva zopet potovala v času, ko se po praznikih vračajo domov, je bil vlak torej zelo poln. Dobila sva le tretji razred – spalnik. Kljub rezervaciji ležišč sem imela družbo na postelji. Poleg tega je higiena veliko slabša kot v drugem razredu – smeti mečejo na tla, stranišča niso bila očiščena že kar nekaj časa,… Nimam prezahtevnih evropskih standardov čistoče, ampak tole je pa krepko čez mojo mejo.

Nenaspana prispeva v New Jalpaguri. Tu bolje spoznava Stephena, ki je spal pograd nad nama. Ugotovili smo, da imamo iste načrte, zato skupaj rezerviramo taksi jeep, ki je najhitrejši in najudobnejši prevoz proti hribom. O udobni vožnji bi se dalo reči še kakšno besedo, saj je bila to ena bolj divjih voženj, kar sem jih doživela. Bolj ko se oža in strmeje vzpenja cesta, bolj dihjemajoča pokrajina nas obdaja. Po manj kot eni uri vožnje prispemo v Kerseong. Gorsko mestece, ki leži na 1460 metrov nadmorske višine in je obdan z nekaj deset metrov višijimi hribi. Na tem delu Indije živijo večinoma Nepalci. Od tu nama do Sikkima, kamor se odpravljava na treking, manjka le še slabih sto kilometrov.

Tudi temperature se na severu v že poznajo – ni več vročine in sopare kot v velikih mestih. Kratke hlače in natikače počasi zamenjava za tanjše dolge hlače in superge.

Kurseong je poln malih uličic, kjer prodajajo raznorazne zadeve – od sadja, zelenjave, oblačil in ostalega. Veliko bolj čisto od prej obiskanih večjih mest. Prodajalci na marketu niso vsiljivi – izredno prijazni in prijetni. Cene so še nižje kot v mestih – tako nizke, da komaj verjameš. Za vrečko granatnih jabolk in pomaranč sva plačala 1,5 evra. V Sloveniji je 1,5 evra enakovredno enemu velikemu granatnemu jabolku. Ker potrebujeva fotografije za dovoljenja, se odpraviva se v tamkajšni fotografski studio (če se temu lahko tako reče) kjer jih izdelajo smešno poceni- 40 rupij za 16 fotografij (približno 0,5 evra). Kako je studio izgledalo se najbolje vidi na fotografiji. Končni izdelek pa presenetljivo vredu osvetljen obraz, le malo slabša kvaliteta tiska.

Ne odločiva se ostati v mestu, temveč vzameva taksi, ki naju pelje nekaj kilometrov na drugo stran po strmi cesti navzdol. Do plantaže čaja Maikabari. Pred nama se začnejo odpirati nasadi sredi katerih leži ta majhna vasica.

Plantaža Maikabari – pravijo, da niso tovarna, temveč ročno delo. Ne glede na to, bom uporabila besedo “tovarna”, ki se nananša na poslopje, ne na njihov pristop k pridelavi čaja. Na leto pridelajo 120 000 ton čaja. V tovarni dela 800 ljudi, od tega 200 iz te vasi, ostali pa prihajajo iz še petih manjših okoliških vasi. Dnevna plača je minimalna – 80 rupij na dan, kar pomeni en evro. Delo pa težko, fizično. Delavci na plantaži 8 ur z rokami obirajo list za listom – poberejo najsvetlejše liste iz vrha grmov. Vse to nosijo v košari – na glavi. Tu so zaposlene ženske. Medtem ko v tovarni, kjer poteka sušenje, delajo tako moški, kot ženske. V tovarni je drugi del postopka – sušenje. Začne se s sušenjem na zraku, ki loči črno od zelenega čaja, ter nadaljuje na sto let starih strojih, ki dokončno izsušijo vso vodo – 70 %. Tako torej v 24 urah, ko se listi čaja posušijo, ostane le 30 % pobranega pridelka. Na koncu pa še fino delo, kjer se čaj loči po kvaliteti. Mehansko.

Darjeeling “tea” je poznan po celem svetu. Makaibari je ena izmed plantaž v skupnosti teh pridelovalnic čajev. Vendar je ena izmed edinih, ki ima bio certifikat – njihovi izdelki so popolnoma organski.

V vasi ponujajo tudi prenočišča – “home stay” oziroma nastanitev pri družinah. V ceni 700 rupij na osebo dnevno (8 evrov) je vključeno prenočišče, trije obroki in ogled tovarne. Midva dobiva zelo čisto sobo z odličnim razgledom (čeprav imajo predvidevam da vse hiše v tej vasi lep razgled) in odlično kuharico, da okušava kulinariko nepalske kuhinje. Občutek domačnosti paše obema – še posebej Luku, ki ima malo vročine in bolj počiva.

Ogledava si nogometno tekmo Rohini proti Mayabutsi (zmagovalna ekipa Rohini nosi oranžni dres). Peščeno nogometno igrišče je iz ene strani obdan s hišami, iz druge pa strmimi plantažami. Po sredi je ponekod poraščen s travo, črte pa delajo kar z vodo, tako da so bile konec tekme že kar slabo vidne. Dobiva tudi najbolje sedišče v vasi – Nayan, naš vodič, naju povabi na njegov balkon od koder je pogled odličen, povrh vsega pa postreže še s čajem.

V upanju, da se Luka kmalu pozdravi in se odpraviva na treking, se po dveh nočeh na plantaži odpravimo dalje proti mestu Darjeeling. Z nama namreč še vedno potuje Stephen. Za potovanje izberemo vlak – vendar drugačen vlak. “The Toy Train” ali “Darjeeling Himalayan Railway” je ena izmed edinih gorskih železnic, ki še obratujejo. Zelo počasna, vendar zanimiva vožnja. Bolj zame, kot za Luka, ki ga še vedno daje vročina.

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15 – hours long train from Varanasi exhausted both of us. People returning back home after Diwali and children having free tickets is just perfect combination for crowd. Again. No matter booking the ticket, I still have company of people sitting on my bed. Hygiene at the 3d class train which we have is extremely bad. Much worst than 2nd class. People throwing trash on the floor, toilets probably wasn’t clean for a while… When it comes to hygiene I have quite “normal” european standards, but this is too much for me.

That’s why I’m even happier arriving to New Jalpaguri. After having a few more words with Stephen, who was at the train as well, we realize we actually have the same plans. So we take the taxi jeep together. This is not the cheapest (compared to bus) way to travel, but is for sure faster and more comfortable. I could say a few more words about “comfortable” drive because this was one the wildest drives I’ve had in my life.

As the road is becoming steeper and narrower, the surroudings is becoming breathtaking. After less than an hour drive we finally arrive to Kurseong – small city (elevation 1460 m).  City is full of small streets and markets, where you can buy different things really cheap. For one bag of pomegranate  and oranges we paid about 1,5 euro. In Slovenia for comparison you pay about an euro for one pomegranate.  We also need to go to photography studio, to get photos for permissions. We find really cheap one – 40 rp for 16 photos (that’s 0,5 euro). How studio looked like, you will see from the picture, but final result was suprising well lightened photo, just not the best quallity of the print.

We don’t decide to sleep over in town, but prefer taking taxi downhill to Makaibari tea eastate. A few kilometers of steep and not the best road takes us to the village which lies in between hundreds of acres of tea bushes.They call themselves a craft, not a factory. I’m still gonna use word “factory” which refers to a big hall where the production is going on, not to their approach of making the tea. Which is craft indeed.

There is about 800 people working on the fields and in the factory. About 200 of them from this village, and others from five nearby villages. Yearly they produce 120 000 tons of tea. Daily rate of employees is 80 rp, which means 1 euro. Work is hard. Job on the field is done by mostly woman. It means picking up the greenest leaves from the top of the bushes, one by one. They start at the bottom of the field and are moving upwards. Inside the factory is drying part. They use hundred years old machines to dry water from leaves and sort them by quallity. After 24 hours when the proccess is finished of 1 kilogram of picked fresh leaves only 0,3 kilogram is the final product.

Darjeeling tea is well known all over the world – but Makaibari tea estate is one of the only tea estates which has certificate of 100% organic tea products. They use no additives.

In the village they offer homestay. In the price of 700 rp per person daily (8 euro) you have included room, three meals and guided tour to the tea estate. All the houses have really nice view. We also got good cook which made delicious nepal’s meals. Feeling of homeliness feels good to both of us – specially Luka, who has a little bit of fewer and needs to rest.

We have a chance to see the local football match – Rohini vs. Mayabutsi (the winning team Rohini is wearing orange colour). Sandy court surrounded by houses on one side and steep tea estate on the other side. A little bit of grass here and there. To make lines they have to use water, so at the end they were not that visible anymore. We get VIP seats. Nayan, our guide, invites us to his balcony which offers the best view at the game. Drinking Makaibari tea at the same time ofcourse.

After two days staying in the village we decide to continue our trip. Even though Luka still has a little bit of fewer, we hope that he gets better soon and be able to do trekking. We decide to take train again. But this time more interesting one – The Toy Train or Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is one of the few hill railways still operating in India. Really slow, but interesting drive. Not so much for Luka, but more for me from the photographic point of view.

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

Kurseong Makaibari tea estate

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