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“A storybook holiday place”
Review of Darang Tea Estate

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Darang Tea Estate
Ranked #1 of 18 Kangra B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Chandigarh, India
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“A storybook holiday place”
Reviewed 19 April 2014

Another guest here brings up an Enid Blyton children's story to describe his experience staying at Darang Tea Estate. That's an apt comparison. When you arrive, you see this huge, rustic tea estate with greenery as far as the eye can see; the backdrop has the snowy Dhauladhar mountain range and the air is truly fragrant.

Naveen and Neeru, the hosts at this homestay, welcomed us in when we arrived and so did their 3 friendly dogs -- a little pug and two Labradors. As you walk up the path to your cottage, you notice a great attention to detail everywhere. There's no place that doesn't have some sort of charming of rustic artifact, some beautiful exotic flowering plant or something else of interest (a tree house with a slide, a hammock, etc.). Clearly, a great deal of love and good design sense have gone into the creation of this place.

The cottage itself is too cute. With pink rose plants hanging from the roof and little potted plants lining the windowsills, the cottage is right out of a painting and exactly the kind of place I always wanted to stay in. When you open the window, you have all kinds of flowering plants right outside, too.

While the accommodations are simple in keeping with the rustic theme of the place, they are extremely clean and well thought out. I tried hard to see if there was any sign of dirt -- there was none. The beds are very comfortable and the doors and windows shut snugly to keep the cold out.There is a little dressing room and the clean little bathroom has hot water.

There are hundreds of delightful trees, bushes and flowering plants to explore all around the estate (apparently we visited in the flowering season in April). We had a delightful time just taking in the beauty of it all.It feels so much more authentic than anything you get to see in a park -- none of the plants here seem cultivated -- they are just natural. What makes it all special, though, is the palpable friendliness. Not only are the hosts unbelievably kind and friendly, even the workers all over the place are nice. When we walked around the tea gardens, even the tea pickers smiled and explained tea-picking to us.

The hosts, Naveen and Neera, are the kind of wholesome characters that you read about in children's books. They are obviously highly skilled in the way they run their huge estate. Yet, they are always there to take care of anything at all that you want. We knew about home-cooked food and organic food; the food served here, though, is home-grown, as well. For instance, the rotis are made of wheat from their own estate, grown, ground and cooked right there. You can tell by the taste that it's special.

Mealtimes are wonderful -- Neera and their cook painstakingly make elaborate meals with multiple dishes and dessert, all of them perfect, pure and delicious. At breakfast, for instance, you have papaya, tea or coffee, toast with 3 homemade jams and homemade honey, butter and cream, dalia and milk. Lunch has roti, 3 kinds of side dish (crispy okra, potato and chickpeas one day), basmati and a wonderful dessert made of cream, homegrown litchi and strawberry. It's all set in their cute dining room. While breakfast is included in the price of the cottage (Rs.4200 per night) the other meals are perfectly priced at Rs.350 per person. After tasting the food here, my family refused to eat anywhere else.

Anytime we needed something, the hosts are always there -- they gave us the wheelchair that the host's mother used because my mother needed it to visit the tea gardens, for instance. They are with you every mealtime and have nice stories to tell. At one point Naveen made my mother little sandwiches with different combinations of honey, jam and cream.

All said, this place made my holiday.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank seenuhello
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Darangteaestate, Owner at Darang Tea Estate, responded to this review, 12 May 2014
It was our pleasure to have you here.
Am glad we could make your trip worth it's while.
Regards
Naveen neeru
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
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English first
Gurugram (Gurgaon), India
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 April 2014

Thanks to Neeru Aunty and Naveen Uncle, there is still hope that at times holidays can be what they are supposed to be - simple and relaxing. I and my wife were there last week. The choice for stay option for us was between a heritage hotel in the Palampur area, hotels in Dharamshala region or try out a homestay. And we are so happy with ourselves that we made the decision to try out a homestay this time. There were two reasons for us to make the choice -

1) Between Palamapur and Dharamashala, I strongly believe palamapur is relatively less spoilt by the ever increasing tourist influx (I was there in McLeod Ganj 7 years back and the place is unrecognizable today - too many guest houses everywhere like shimla/ mussorrie) and more central and conveniently located for various day excursions

2) My wife is pregnant and we were hoping to find a option with some personal service, clean food and relaxed environment.

Based on the earlier reviews on tripadvisor, Darang seemed to holdout a clear edge on these parameters, when we were planning. Value for money metrics ofcourse left no room for any other choice. So there we were...

Airport transfer - comfortable Innova ride arranged by Neeru aunty
Personally greeted by both of them once we reached the estate after 40-60mins ride (no receptions with plastic smiles) and shown to our rooms.

To be frank, as is the case with such 'in lap of nature' places, we had our share of apprehensions of how we will pass time here for 4 days. But as we sat down for a sumptuous home cooked lunch and the conversations started to flow - I knew that shouldn't be a concern.

Navin uncle has his share of rich experiences and naughty jokes. Aunty is always around to take care of the details - food, comfortable and warm stay, day excursion options and planning, taxi options - everything. Then there are three dogs - Brandy, Casper and Laila (I am not a dog lover, my wife is) who keep you entertained with their three very different personalities. And when you are not indulging yourself in these conversations with fellow human beings and playing with animals, there is a 30 acre tea estate waiting for you to explore it. You can do whatever you want to do in the property - I Iike morning jogs and the estate offers a good track, wife likes to relax and sleep late on holidays so she slept and she slept like a log of wood (i personally believe if you can sleep well at some place then thats the biggest testament of its comfort).

And there were moments when you don't want to do anything - the residential quarters of the estate give a serene and calm view of the snow-capped Dhauladhar mountains (Apr 1st week). Sitting there in the portico offers you that rare opportunity to do exactly that - do nothing and relax. We stayed in a room attached to the main house, other cottages are also not far and are part of the same compound.

You can always choose to do day excursions - we went to McLeod Ganj and Norbulingka monastery route on day 2 and to Bir Billing, Palampur city, Andretta village route on day 3 of our trip. Aunty and Uncle were very helpful in planning these itineraries, suggesting good eating joints, arranging taxi connections.

And finally food - simply delicious. We were vegetarians and were fed with some of the best home cooked food away from home for 4 days. Most of the ingredients to the kitchen come from within the estate (organic). We always looked forward to breakfasts (your preferences always asked and fulfilled) and dinners after day long excursions. And then there were pre-dinner sittings around the fireplace in the company of aunty, uncle and his 92 year old mother while you indulge in your soups/ drinks and share your stories of the day. I celebrated my b'day while I was there and Neeru aunty was very sweet to bake a nice (egg-less) cake.

To summarise, I read somewhere that staying at Darang Tea Estate was like staying at your Nanni's place in childhood and I find that description very apt - it was just that. And I look forward to doing that again for years to come - pack your bags, drive down and surrender yourself to the hospitality of Neeru Aunty and Navin Uncle.

Room Tip: As I remember there are two cottages and one room. If you are a couple then staying in the room conn...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank AJain06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Darangteaestate, Owner at Darang Tea Estate, responded to this review, 14 April 2014
Dear Abhishek and Neha,
We are overwhelmed by your warm review.
The best compliment ....it felt like being in your Nani's home !!!
Thank you so very much.....guests like you both make our running our homestay worth it's while.
Warmly
Naveen neeru
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 March 2014

I have just visited Darang for the third time. Darang to me is a little piece of heaven in Himachal |Pradesh and epitomizes the very best in home stays. From the moment you arrive you feel part of the family. Neeru and Naveen are the most caring and thoughtful of hosts and nothing is too much trouble. Rooms are cosy and comfortable and there are electric blankets to warm the beds on chilly evenings. The food is a joy - fruit and veg are homegrown and Neeru makes delicious jams. Dinner is served round a blazing log fire. You can do as much or as little as you like. Take an afternoon walk with Naveen and the dogs through the tea plantation with spectacular views of the snowcapped Dhauladhar Mountains glistening in the sun, visit the bustling little town of Palampur, the pottery at Andretta, Dharamshala and McLeod Ganj (with the very interesting Norbulingka Institute enroute). I could go on forever but I urge you to visit and find out for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

Thank you Neeru and Naveen for another wonderful stay.

Room Tip: There is no good room - they are all good.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Mary G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Darangteaestate, Owner at Darang Tea Estate, responded to this review, 24 March 2014
Dear Mary,
The biggest compliment we can get is to have you with us for the third time
It was a joy to have you here. For us it's having family!
Warmest wishes
Naveen and Neeru
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Royal Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2014

I shall always keep a very special, fond memory of the Darang Tea Estate, mainly due to the extremely warm and generous hospitality offered by Neeru and Naveen. I so appreciated the delicious home cooking and most of the ingredients used were grown in their vegetable garden. I loved the fact that Neeru made her own jams, butter and clotted cream and what indulgence at breakfast time to spread clotted cream on the toast, cut it in four and top it each piece with a different variety of jam...guava, strawberry, gooseberry and not to forget the most delicious marmalade EVER!!. We were truly spoilt on the culinary side but also Neeru and Naveen took care of us by taking us to the local towns nearby, accompanying us on pretty walks through their tea plantations, backed by snow-capped mountains, and the little villages around. In the evening a roaring fire was lit, around which we sat to have our evening meal. At lunch-time we sat outside in the sun, as it was getting warmer, and it was so pleasant being in the garden surrounded by lovely plants and flowers. This was a truly memorable visit and I hope to return. Once again, thank you Neeru and Naveen!

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Eileen F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Darangteaestate, Owner at Darang Tea Estate, responded to this review, 24 March 2014
Dear Avril,
It was delightful having you here with us.
It gives us so much pleasure when our guests enjoy our household goodies!
Come back soon.
Warmest wishes,
Naveen and Neeru
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New Delhi, India
1 review
Reviewed 7 January 2014

.....yes it was ..... on reaching Darang tea estate......so much greenery in the form of Tea of Course, but to add it all there were radish red-white, salad leaves, peas, beans, onion to name a few. Fruit papaya, oranges, banannas and many more. (All organic) Amidst all this were the lovely ..cottages.with the main cottoge housing the fire place..around which goes all the conversations, --------- and it's lovely verandas with such elegant sitouts, adorned with paintings, furniture and pretty plants tastefully lying around. The tree house is so much the in place in the property. Not to miss the giant backdrop of the beautiful mountains known as the Dauladhar range.of the Himalayas.
Meeting ..The back bone of the place senior Madame Sarla Bhandari was so very pleasurable!
To top it all the food provided by the wonderful inmates, under the supervision of the lady of the home stay ..... Neeru Bhandari. ..food prepared with the in house cows, milk products. Such lovely jams of lychee, guava, black berries, pickles and what nots prepared by the lady herself. Enjoying the lunch out in the sun...in the well looked after lawns.
Not to forget the dogs one feels you brought yours along .....so very loving.
And of course this could never have been possible without the master Naveen Bhandari, he has so much history about the place, to talk about.
Every thing so reasonably priced. .........Thank you! Indu Sethi

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Inderjit-Sethi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Darangteaestate, Owner at Darang Tea Estate, responded to this review, 8 January 2014
Thank you ever so much for your review.
It was our pleasure having you here and look forward to your much promised more visits.
Warm regards
Naveen and neeru
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gurugram (Gurgaon), India
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 November 2013

Darang tea Estate is a beautiful place , its beauty is in its serenity and quieteness . You can take a walk around the estate & also the village , feel the sun in the day, get cozy by the fireplace in the evening. Let the clear Himalayan air fill your heart with as much pleasure as the wide horizon fills your visuals.
Its location is at a convenient place , you can either go uphill or downhill from here. Food was a treat. Home-made food prepared by Neeru Aunty is yummy, especially the jams & the desserts. The cook – Umed Singh treated us to some delicious spread. You will also enjoy the company of three lovely dogs – Laila, Simba & Brandy. One cannot help but enjoy a great conversation with Naveen uncle & Vinnie aunty. You can’t miss out on Uncle’s wit.... The room was cosy & comfortable and clean. It was a home away from home in the truest sense. Do enjoy the panoramic views of the snow-clad mountains- the dhauladhar's & the great food served with love. Our’s was a short stay but planning to come back again soon.....

Do VISIT DARANG TEA ESTATE to rejuvenate yourself

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Animesh_952
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Darangteaestate, Owner at Darang Tea Estate, responded to this review, 17 November 2013
Dear Animeshji ,
It was wonderful having you both here for us.
Thank you for your very positive review.........it encourage s us to do better.
Warm regards and all good wishes.
Naveen & Neeru
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Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 August 2013

Went to Darang in March 2013, perfect location 1 hr away from dharmasala and 5hrs from Dalhousie. Loved the place, rooms were ok, quite homely with books kept almost in every corner of the room. lovely garden and lot of veggies and fruits came directly from the farm and got cooked. Homemade jams were really good. Our hosts Naveen and his sister were very warm and took good care of us. Missed meeting Neeru. Dogs laila and hutch gave my kid and husband good company as they both love dogs. Also attaching few beautiful pictures of the property. Thanks for the wonderful holiday that we had. Rudra is planning to visit once again with his friends (as suggested by Naveen). Regards

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank MONSAM10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Darangteaestate, Owner at Darang Tea Estate, responded to this review, 17 August 2013
Thank you so much for your review.
I missed meeting you....next time!
Liala and Hutch are well and seem to endear all our guests.
Best always
Neeru
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Additional Information about Darang Tea Estate

Property: Darang Tea Estate
Address: V.P.O. Darang, Kangra 170 060, India
Region: India > Himachal Pradesh > Kangra District > Kangra
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Kangra
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Darang Tea Estate is a family owned Estate which is over 150 years old and one of the first plantations to be planted by an Indian. A self-contained estate in the beautiful pristine hills of Himachal Pradesh. It consists of cottages framed by 70 acres of estate-owned land. The Estate is just 45 minutes drive from Mcleodgang and 20 minutes fromPalampur. The cottages have a direct view of the snow covered himalayas. Our homestay is featured in on Conde Nast Traveller :-) ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Darang Tea Estate Kangra, India - Himachal Pradesh

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