The Inception :
According to records, the first commercial tea gardens planted out by the British tea interest were Tukvar, Steinthal and Aloobari tea estates. This was in 1852 and this entire plantation used seeds that were raised in the government nurseries.
Darjeeling was then only a sparsely populated hamlet which was being used as a hill resort by the army and some affluent people. Tea, being a labour intensive enterprise, required sufficient number of workers to plant, tend, pluck and finally manufacture the produce. For this, employment was offered to people from across the border of Nepal.
It appears that in 1866, Darjeeling had 39 gardens producing a total crop of 21,000 kilograms of tea. In 1870, the number of gardens increased to 56 to produce about 71,000 kgs of tea harvested from 4,400 hectares. During 1860-64, the Darjeeling Company was established with 4 gardens while the Darjeeling Consolidated Tea CO. dates back to 1896. By 1874, tea in Darjeeling was found to be a profitable venture and there were 113 gardens with approximately 6000 hectares. Some of the finest Darjeeling Tea Producing gardens are listed below: