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Ghost stories from Darjeeling’s tea estates

Every old tea garden has its own fantastic tale, and, indeed,what better location for them—that chill in the air, those palatial bungalows with wispy ghosts of residents past and elderly bungalow-hands passing down stories.

The most famous legend is of the ghost of Margaret’s Hope. This 150-year-old estate in Darjeeling, now part of the Goodricke Group, was originally called Bara Ringtong. Spread over 1,450 acres, and 6,000ft in elevation at its highest point, it’s famous for some of the finest Darjeelings—and this story.

Margaret was the young daughter of J.G.D. Cruickshank, the estate’s manager between 1896-1927. She fell in love with the estate when she visited it. She went back to England, promising to return. But on the way home, little Margaret fell ill and died on the ship. Soon after, Cruickshank thought he saw a vision of Margaret on the estate grounds. He renamed the estate Margaret’s Hope. And the legend was born.

He sounds disappointed. Perhaps every good legend is kept alive by that slight belief that it could well be true.


Author Shona Patel offers a glossary of Assamese spooks on her blog, Tea Buddy. From the Nilgiris, Sangeetha Shinde’s A Moral Murder And Other Tales From The Blue Hills is another delicious read.

Tea Nanny is a weekly series steeped in the world of tea. Aravinda Anantharaman is a Bengaluru-based tea blogger and writer who reports on the tea industry.


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