• Full name: Republic of India
  • Population: 1.1 billion (UN, 2007)
  • Capital: New Delhi
  • Major languages: Hindi, English and at least 16 other official languages
  • Major religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism

India is the world’s largest producer of tea, exporting more than 12% of the world's tea and – three times the size of London! By the 1840s, India was producing regular shipments for sale at auction in London, and gradually the planting of estates grew throughout the country, including Darjeeling.

Darjeeling tea is traditionally prized above all other black teas, especially in the United Kingdom. Known as ‘The Champagne of Teas’, it is revered by tea connoisseurs around the world for its full-bodied, light golden colour and muscatel aroma. It was first planted in 1841 by Dr Campbell, a civil surgeon of the Indian Medical Service, who cultivated the plant in his garden in Beechwood in the Darjeeling region using Chinese seeds. By 1856, commercial cultivation of the tea had started.