12 September 2018

Laying out the Tea Leaves

The story of Expedition Everest is not easy to describe and is as long and winding as its queue. It is layered in daily life of the Himalayan region, tourism, culture, agriculture, history, and mythology. The interplay between these elements is at times bold and in your face, while at other times the story takes a little scratching beneath the surface to get to the heart of the matter. As with all great stories, repeated interaction is crucial to uncovering nuances and finding something new you never noticed before.

The offices and tea trains of the Himalayan Escapes Tour Company once belonged to the Royal Anandapur Tea Co. The historical value of the company has not been lost on Himalayan Escapes, as remnants from the tea purveyors and nods toward their work are scattered throughout the Expedition Everest queue. Some of this is for ease of business, if it doesn’t need to be changed, why change it? Still, other instances give Himalayan Escapes a chance to play up the history or to pay respect to what has come before. One such instance of this nod to history is the inclusion of photographs showing glimpses into the past of the Royal Anandapur Tea Co., framed and mounted on the walls in Himalayan Escapes office.

Modern transportation comes to the Himalayas. c 1922 (File photo, The Anandapur Reporter)
In the first photo, we see a hint of what is to come for guests. Listed as modern transportation and coming from The Anandapur Reporter, this is the guests’ first glimpse of the tea trains, depending on where guests have approached the queue from. While not listed directly, it is safe to assume that these tea trains belonged to the Royal Anandapur Tea Co. as a way to carry their tea more easily. Also, this isn’t the only time that The Anandapur Reporter is present in the office, as there are article clippings from some of the newspapers more noteworthy stories as they relate to the Forbidden Mountain.

Industrious pickers pause in their labors for a photograph. (Royal Anandapur Tea Co.)
Laying out the tea leaves to dry before fermentation. (Royal Anandapur Tea Co.)

The next two photographs feature the actual work of tea production and come directly from the archives of the Royal Anandapur Tea Co. The first is a group of workers picking the tea leaves. They’ve stopped momentarily to have their picture taken. It is a great study in contrast between the white garments that they are clothed in and the dark, meticulously lined tea bushes that they are working through. The second photo shows a drying room where the tea leaves are being laid out to dry before they are to become tea.

In this handful of photographs we can learn a great deal about how tea is made and transported, and are given a time-capsule into industry of Anandapur. Nothing in these photos references the mythical yeti, they serve only as setting the foundation for what has come before and how that collective history has made the expeditions of Himalayan Escapes possible today. They aren’t crucial to the storytelling of Expedition Everest, but they provide a small reward for those looking to delve into the story of the attraction just a bit more.

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