Once in a while an amazing opportunity comes along, and you just have to jump up at the chance. And, as luck would have it, I received an amazing chance to spend a wonderful weekend residing in a colonial bungalow snap bang in the middle of Duncan Tea Estate.
Packing my bags with anticipation, I caught the Sylhet-bound train early in the morning from the train station at Dhaka Kamalapur. If you’re travelling by train to Sylhet, I would recommend buying tickets at least a week in advance and booking a compartment for yourself, in order to travel in comfort. The train journey is extremely scenic, with numerous rice fields and the occasional tea garden towards the last leg of the journey.
Reaching Sylhet in the evening, we then climbed into a car which was sent by our kind host and settled in for the next 3 hours to the bungalow. It was nighttime when we finally reached the bungalow; exhausted after the day’s travel, we decided to have an early dinner and settle in for the night. Our living quarters simply took my breath away. Our room was massive, easily the size of three big bedrooms fused together; the bed was custom made and could easily fit 6-7 people sleeping comfortably in it; the bathroom was easily big enough to serve as a bedroom.
I woke the next morning to the sound of birds chirping and the most unexpectedly beautiful sight that I could imagine. Surrounded by green on all sides, it felt like I was stepping back into simpler times, when cars and offices and factories did not exist. The porch railing just outside our living quarters (“room” is an inadequate term, it was THAT massive!) was the perfect place for some morning lounging.
I explored the bungalow grounds to my heart’s content. Everywhere I looked, little surprises of flora and fauna greeted me.
I was even fortunate to find a lovely sitting nook hidden away in the corner of the garden, and I happily curled away in it with my book and the sound of birds chirping.
After lunch, we had the opportunity to take a drive around the tea estate. Our guide drove us around the estate, giving us facts and figures about the tea cultivation process. When I expressed the desire to see actual tea-picking in action, he happily promised me a trip the very next day to go and witness tea picking.
We returned pretty early to the bungalow, because the heat and humidity was quite strong (middle of summer and all that!) but that didn’t disappoint me as I was quite content to simply sit back and watch the gorgeous scenery at the villa itself. I was soon called back to the bungalow for some tea and afternoon snacks. Once again, curled up in my book, I just let myself sit back and lose myself in the moment, savoring my food and tea.
Although I got to spend just two days at the bungalow itself, those were magical two days unlike any other. One of my best memories was during the night, after dinner. I was lucky enough to witness a full moon during the visit, the silvery rays shining down on acres and acres of tea estate in front of me created some surreal memories!
True to his word, next day our guide to us to another part of the tea garden where active tea-picking was going on, and also to their tea factory to witness the tea processing. Read about my experience soon 🙂