The Buddhist Lepchas, who dominated the Darjeeling area, traditionally hoisted 108 flags during their special prayer rituals. Driving through the breathtaking vistas of the North Eastern Himalayas, one is greeted by hundreds of Buddhist prayer flags flying high on bamboo poles and strung on lines at the high passes. The Buddhists believe that the flags take their prayers to the heavens and as the colors and prayers on the flag fade away with the seasons, so will their sins be washed away.

“Dhaja” means flag in the Lepcha language and over the years, the estate came to be called Dhajea—the place of prayer flags.

With an average elevation of around 3000 ft. above sea level, the Dhajea tea garden occupies an area that used to be a large forest of Rungbong trees on the bank of the Balason River. The estate employs 500 workers and will be certified 100% bio-organic in January 2007.

Around 180 hectares of this 317 hectare, horizontal piece of land is planted for an annual production of 95 million tones of tea. 30 hectares remain forest land and about 60 hectares are given to a workers’ village, road, factory, office and temple. The restless, clear and cold waters of the mountain river or “jhora” run through 47 hectares of Dhajea.

In keeping with the Chamong Group’s commitment to the welfare of its workers, the estate is host to 4 primary schools for 310 workers’ children and a High School with 1260 students from the Rungbong area. There is also a small dispensary in the garden.

The historic Dhajea garden was first cultivated with tea in 1870, as a division of the Moondakotee Tea Estate. Until 1995, green leaf from the garden was transported to the main factory by ropeway. This damaged the delicate flavor of the tea leaf and in 1995, a factory was constructed on the estate and the first single garden Dhajea teas were made.

Dhajea tea is subtle and pale, like the rising sun as it slants in through the morning mists over the rolling Rungbong plains. A 2 minute steep in hot water, just short of boiling, and you have the perfect cup of Chamong morning sunlight for the start of your day.