Exploring the tea fields of Palampur

In March 2017 my dear friend Kate and I fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to India. We spent 18 days exploring the north of India and had an incredible range of experiences from spiritual to cultural as well as learning a lot about the history of the Mughal empire. Food wise, we ate many thalis and drank almost a hundred cups of masala chai. This blog is part of a series on our trip to India.

MCLEOD GANJ – It was another cold and miserable day, but we weren’t going to be deterred by the bad weather. We bundled up and got into a taxi and made our way to the green tea fields of Palampur.

Driving through the tea plantations and rice fields gave us a glimpse of rural life in India.

Palampur is a hill station in the Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh. It’s about 42 kilometres south east of Mcleod Ganj. Our driver stopped at a few tea shops where we enjoyed a hot cuppa – just what we needed because of the cold weather

Kate at our first tea shop stop
The chef and tea wallah at his small kitchen behind the shop

This is where we tried Kangra green tea for the first time. I had never heard of Kangra tea before. Green and black tea plantations have been producing in this area since the mid 19th century.

We noticed several signs for tea estates in the area as well as signs for homestays.

Our next stop was the Neugal Café. There is a pretty garden outside but because of the poor weather we didn’t stay for long.

The rest of our Palampur tour took us to the Norbulingka Insitute. It was closed because His Holiness the Dalai Lama was giving a private teaching to monks at the temple.

Instead we had an incredible lunch at Queenie’s Oven Green Café, which is located outside the Institute.

Queenie’s also sells delicious home-baked goods

Groups of tables are situated on a balcony overlooking the entrance of Norbulingka. We loved the recycled placemats made out of plastic packaging.

The balcony seating area

Perhaps it was because it was so cold this is where I had one of the most delicious cups of Ginger tea in my life. For lunch we had pumpkin soup and momos (Tibetan dumplings).

Ginger tea – yes please!

Finally our last stop was the Indru Nag temple, located high up on the side of a hill. The view of the Dhalaudar mountain range, which are part of the Himalayas, was spectacular.

Enjoying the fresh air of the Himalayas

During our time in Mcleod Ganj we stayed at the Pink House on Jogiwara Road. We booked a driver for the Palampur tour with them and were able to customise the trip so we only visited the places we had time for. If you have some time to spare while in Mcleod Ganj and if you’re a tea lover, like me, I would recommend the experience.

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