The Tonganagaon Tea Garden

“Tongana” is the Assamese word for “axe” and “gaon” means “village”. According to Hindu legend, the god Parashurama, who is pictured with an axe, visited this location in the far east area of Assam. This tea garden, first established in 1927, now belongs to the Chamong group of the Lohia family. They have run tea estates for six generations and also have gardens in Darjeeling.

Ashok Lohia, once expressed his passion for tea by saying that tea runs in his veins. This fervor led him to transform the neglected, run-down gardens he acquired in 2008 into flourishing tea gardens. He introduced organic farming practices, and replaced old tea plants with new ones. Today 1330 acres are being used for tea cultivation. A new tea factory was built to meet the requirements of international tea buyers. He has improved the quality of life for the ~ 6000 people living in 12 villages on the tea estate who are dependent on the business for their livelihood. He has a plan for continued improvements to the infrastructure of the estate which currently provides a hospital, schools, and other important services.

Assam tea from the Tonganagaon garden has become sought after, largely due to fair trade production, and concern for its labor force and local community.