This Darjeeling Tea produced in the gardens of Thurbo in Nepal is highly regarded and has a rare and delicate fragrance. The hybrid of Chinese and Assam features create a tea which is bright and full of flavour, and also beautifully rounded and sweet. The surrounding orange orchards and orchid farms all add to the exotic charm of this tea.
The unique name of the tea relates back to an historic event in the area.
Between 1814 – 16, the Anglo-Nepalese War raged. It was also known as the Gurkha War. Fought between the Kingdom of Nepal and the British East India Company as a result of border disputes and ambitious expansionism on both sides, this was to herald a significant change in both countries.
The British attacked, while the Nepali defended, under the guidance of Captain Balbhadra Kunwar. His army of 600 contained men, women and children, while the British army of 3500 contained only men. The Nepali took refuge at a strategic fort hill but after a month, the British realised they could not win with their military efforts and so tried to cut off the water supply to thirst the Nepali out.
Still the Nepali were determined to defend their position. They walked out of the fort in single file, drank from the river and went back inside. The British looked on in amazement.
After several days, Captain Balbhadra emerged with drawn Kukri’s (utility knives) in his hands and 70 survivors. He roared at the British “You could never have won the battle but now I myself, voluntarily abandon this fort. There is nothing left inside but the corpses of women and children.” He and the remaining troops then escaped into the hills.
After this war, Britain began recruiting Gurkhas into the British-India army and they still recruit into the British army to this day.
The soldier-poet, John Ship, wrote about the Gurkhas:
“I never saw more steadinesses
Or bravery exhibited in my life.
Run they would not and of death
They seemed to have no fear
Though their comrades were falling
Thick around them, as bold
For we were so near to know
That every shot of ours told.”
The place in which the British built their camps was called “Tombu”, which means “tent”. Over the years, this became known as Thurbo and is the very place this tea grows, and why it is named Darjeeling Thurbo.
The exotic gardens are said to now be blessed by nature itself, as a reward to the Gurkhas for their immense bravery and determination to their land.