Assam has been synonymous with tea ever since Briton Robert Bruce claimed to have discovered it in 1823, though the Singpho tribal people living in areas straddling Assam and Arunachal Pradesh cultivated and drank tea as a herbal rejuvenator for ages.
With more than 800 major and 60,000 small estates spread across 300,000 hectares, Assam has the world’s largest concentration of tea plantations and employs 17% of the State’s workforce. Assam tea accounts for 55% of India’s total tea production and 80% of the country’s export.
In 1829, India became the first country outside Great Britain to have a golf course. The country offers many world-class greens today, laid at Himalayan heights, in desert, military cantonments by forests and lakes and in urban areas. But Assam’s ‘tea-tees’ – golf courses in tea estates – are in a class of their own. There are some 20 tea-tees, natural and almost all with nine holes. Within 200 km of each other, these golf courses prepared essentially to enhance the lifestyle of British planters transport one to the grandeur of the Raj days. Today, they are helping the estates package them as exotic holiday destinations where tee-putt is as exhilarating as the teapot.
In 1833, a British panel sent George Gordon to China to study plantation techniques and implement them in Assam. Gordon returned with Chinese camellia (tea plant) specimens and workers since the local variety was not commercially viable though more suited to ambient conditions. Crossing the local and Chinese varieties yielded the perfect Indian hybrid, plucked by the ‘tea tribes’ comprising 87 central Indian communities relocated by British planters form central India 150 years ago.
In 1911, the Tocklai Tea Research Centre, the oldest and largest Tea Research Centre in the world was established at Tocklai in Jorhat for developing more scientific and fruitful methods of cultivating tea plants, applying fertilizer, testing soil, selecting sites for garden and processing tea leaves. Brand Assam has invariably been the distinctive black teas (crush tear and curl or CTC). The state also produces a small quantity of distinctive organic orthodox tea that was granted GI status in 2007.
For a better marketing of the tea produced in Assam and the entire North EasternStates, a Tea Auction Centre - Guwahati Tea Auction Centre - was established in 1970 at Guwahati. The bulk of Assam’s teas are sold through the Guwahati Tea Auction Centre. A special logo assigned by Tea Board of India separates Assam Tea from others in the international market. On an average, Assam produces 550 million kg of tea. They cheer and refresh more than 85% Indians every day.
A stay in the tea garden, playing golf and driving through tea country is an unforgettable experience. This beautiful state has sprawling lush green tea estates with old-world bungalows, most of which have golf courses attached to them. Besides classical clubhouses for post-golf sessions, some of these estates have airstrips for tourists to arrive and take off in chartered aircraft. Professional golfers swore by the 18-hole Digboi Golf Course that Digboi Refinery lords over in eastern Assam’s Digboi town until the Kaziranga Golf Resort came up in the middle of a tea estate in Jorhat.
Designed by one of India’s leading golf course architect, the resort has a challenging 18-hole, par-71 golf course that is the first of its kind. The club house is the heritage Burra Sahib’s Bungalow. The resort also offers a golf academy with professional coaching and a well-equipped golf pro shop.
|Sl. No.||Name of the golf course||District||Nearest airport / Air strip|
|01.||Bishnauth Gymkhana Club||Sonitpur||Salonibari (Tezpur)/Borjhar(Guwahati)|
|03.||East Boroi Club||Sonitpur||Salonibari (Tezpur)/Borjhar(Guwahati)|
|04.||Mangaldai Polo & Golf Club||Darrang||Salonibari (Tezpur)|
|05.||Thakurbari Club||Sonitpur||Salonibari (Tezpur)|
|06.||North Lakhimpur Planters Club||Lakhimpur||Lilabari (Lakhimpur)|
|07.||Misa Planters Club||Nagaon||Borjhar (Guwahati)|
|08.||Jorhat Gymkhana Club||Jorhat||Rowriah (Jorhat)|
|09.||Seleng District Club||Sibsagar||Rowriah (Jorhat)|
|10.||Sonari Gymkhana Club||Sibsagar||Rowriah (Jorhat)|
|11.||Tingri Golf Club||Tinsukia||Mohanbari (Dibrugarh)|
|12.||Samdang Golf Club||Tinsukia||Mohanbari (Dibrugarh)|
|13.||Kanjikoah Golf Club||Tinsukia||Doomdoma/Panitola (Dibrugarh)|
|14.||Dibrugarh & District Planters Club||Dibrugarh||Mohanbari/Chabua (Dibrugarh)|
|15.||Margherita Golf Club||Dibrugarh||Mohanbari (Dibrugarh)|
|16.||Naharkatia Golf Club||Dibrugarh||Mohanbari (Dibrugarh)|
|17.||Moran Golf Club||Dibrugarh||Rowriah (Jorhat) /Moran|
|18.||Zoloni Golf Club||Dibrugarh||Mohanbari (Dibrugarh)|
|19.||Dhunseri Polo Club||Golaghat||Rowriah (Jorhat) / Behora T.E.|
|20.||Narengi Golf Club||Kamrup||Borjhar (Guwahati)|
|21.||Digboi Golf Club||Tinsukia||Chabua (Dibrugarh)|