Silghat, India

Silghat is a town located on the southern banks of the Brahmaputra, in Nagaon district, Assam in India. It is 48 km northeast of Nagaon.

Major points of attraction include the Hatimura Temple and huge Samantagiri hillock. The nearest airport is at Saloni, 10 kilometres from Tezpur. Silghat Town Railway Station is the nearby railway station.

The British might have left 62 years ago but not much has changed since. Tea estates on the Brahmaputra River look out over where the boats laden with leaves must have left for Calcutta over the years, while the lizards come out at night and bark like dogs. Thousands upon thousands of labourers imported from Bihar and Orissa in the heyday of the Raj — never did get to own the land, or save enough to crawl out of the tea estates, or afford the tea itself.

Today, Silghat employs 680 permanent laborers and 180 part time workers. Together, they pluck around 20,000 leaves from the 332 acres every day, once even 38,000.

Tea gardens are beautiful and the life they promise upper management is aristocratic but they are labor intensive because the tea must be handpicked so only the newest of leaves are plucked. However, the labor is very cheap. Full time employees get Rs.56 a day, plus 300g of rice and 300g of flour.

Silghat is home to the prized Darjeeling variety of tea but Assam's tea fortunes created by the British, are well past their glory days, suffering in this corner of India, beaten into submission by market forces and competition from the only other native tea-growing nation in the world, China.

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General Information:

Language: Assamese
Currency: Indian Rupee
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

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