Tea is the agriculture-based industries; tea occupies an important place in Assam. The plants used to grow naturally in the Upper Brahmaputra valley. Robert Bruce, an official of the British empire, who is credited with the discovery of tea in Assam in 1823, gave publicity of the existence of the plant, the leaves of which were boiled to prepare the tea.
In Assam, tea is grown both in the Brahmaputra and Barak plains. Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Nagaon and Sonitpur are the districts where tea gardens are mostly found. Assam produces 51% of the tea produced in India and about 1/6th of the tea produced in the world.
In 1911 a Tea Research Centre was started at Toklai 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. This is the oldest and largest Tea Research Centre in the world.
Instant tea project was established at the Tea Research Centre of Toklai Experimental Station in 1974. Instant tea is a golden coloured powder which dissolves in hot or cold water easily.
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.
This is the world’s largest CTC tea auction centre and the world’s second largest in terms of total tea. It now auctions more than 150 million kg of tea valued at more than Rs 550.00 crores annually. Tea industry has contributed substantially to the economy of Assam. About 17 percent of the workers of Assam are engaged in the tea industry.
Places of Interest
Khaspur: 20 Km. from Silchar stands the ruin of a great capital of historical time and importance.The main attractions are the Lion Gate, the, Sun Gate and aged old kings’ temple. The ruin of the capital is of great importance and a visiting spot for tourists. The original palace is in a state of non-existence, but its subsidiaries, the main entrance gate, the `Suryadwar”Debalaya’ are still there intact. The entrances are of elephant-patterns
Bhubeneswar temple (Bhubanhill): It is the most celebrated temple of Lord Shiva in the entire’ South Assam. The Bhubeneswar temple is situated at a distance of about 50 Km. from Silchar and located on the top of a high hill. This is a place of pilgrimage and during the festival of Shivaratri, thousand of Shivaits march towards the hilltop of worship Lord Shiva. This temple by its geographical location attracts a lot of hikers as there are no motor roads to reach the hilltop. One has to hike at least 17Km. from the plants to the temple.
Salganga: About 22 kms away from Silchar on the way to Kumbhirgram airport a Vishnu temple at salganga is another tourist attraction.
Karimganj: The district headquarter town of Karimganj is nearly 55 km from Silchar. The town is onthe Southern bank of the Kushiara River that demarcates the Indo¬Bangladesh border.
Badarpur: It N.F. Railways’ one of the longest station
Badarpur fort: The Badarpur fort situated on the bank of Bark River is an important historic place of Barak valley. The Fort is about 16 kms away from Badarpur Railway station.
Hailakandi: The district town of Hailakandi is 55 km from Silchar. The district is sandwiched between Silchar and karimganj. On the South and south eastern sides it is bordered by Mizoram.
Pirbadi: A dargah of Sufi saint is visited by a large number of devotees. It is 35 Kms away from Hilakandi on Gharmuda road.
Siddheswar Temple: 1 1/2 Kms from panchagramnear badarpur, this temple is located on the bank of Dhuleswari river.
Adi kali Mandir: The wife of Kachari king Krishna Chandra, Induprava Devi constructed this temple in 1707. This is the oldest kali mandir in barak valley.