history

Started by Joachim Stoelke, a German priest, in 1854, Singtom Tea Estate is Darjeeling’s 2nd oldest tea estate. Stoelke also planted Darjeeling’s first tea estate, called Steinthal Tea Estate, in 1852. He was fondly known as ‘Father Steinthal’ as a result. Father Steinthal discovered that the forests in the Singtom area were an abode of lions, and used to make the short hike from Darjeeling to Singtom to spot lions. When he planted the first tea bushes at Singtom, the locals named the area ‘Singtam’, which meant the house of lions in the local language. Father Steinthal’s co-ownership of both estates led to Singtom and Steinthal being considered sister tea estates. The two estates are right next to each other, with Darjeeling town in between. Father Steinthal planted the two estates in their current locations because he loved the majestic view of the Kanchenjunga mountain range (of course, the mountains were named much later, but they looked breathtaking nonetheless) from both areas!

 

From 1854 onwards, the estate’s ownership changed hands several times, but has now been with the Chirimar family, one of India’s oldest tea planting families, for several decades.

our family

Mr. Aditya Chirimar, a 4th generation tea planter and entrepreneur, runs the property currently. The Chirimar family's holiday home was the Director’s Bungalow at Singtom, which was built by Father Steinthal in 1862.

 

In April 2014, Aditya re-branded the bungalow, which was at the time just a house without any modern amenities, as Singtom Tea Estate & Resort and launched the hospitality business after graduating from Cornell University, USA. The first 3 years of the business were spent understanding the finer nuances of the hospitality business, understanding pain points of customers, and iteratively improving our hospitality services. The next 3 years were spent aggressively improving the business, adding 30% more space to the resort, revamping it with modern amenities, recruiting better staff, etc. Consequently, since launch, we successfully managed to grow our revenue 35% YoY and our positive customer feedback 56% YoY.

 

Today, a traveller’s experience at Singtom is a reflection of the hard work of those initial years.