Handi Tea of Bakhtiyarpur

Bihar is famous for many things but it obviously doesn’t include tea in any form.River plains of Ganga & it’s tributaries as well as weather system are unsuitable for tea plantation. Therefore, we get to drink cheap -quality dust tea brought mostly from large tea estates of North-East. Some connoiseurs may prefer export -quality Darjelling Tea but cheap tea brands of Tata Tea or Brooke Bond are most popular brands in North India . I personally prefer Wagh -Bakri Tea(Tiger- Goat Tea), not because of the aroma or flavour but for the sole reason that this brand name sounds exotic or should I say out of this world.

Imagine that Tiger & Goat cohabiting in Tea Plantation of Assam !

However, it is a great idea and it gives the impetus to the brand because may be manufacturers of this brand are saints and they believe in equal co-existence of all living beings on the earth.

Nevertheless,tea is a crucial morning drink meant specifically for starting the day by stimulating your senses. It helps you in morning chitchat with family members and neighbours. Some people get addicted to this morning routine and realize that their morning rituals depends upon potency of this milky brown-coloured brew. In Bihar, people also add a dash of some form of tobacco after gulping down few cups of tea to speed up the process in lavatory.

And when it comes to tea, one cup is never enough.

Bachelor student living in various lodges of Patna city prefer few cuppas of nukkad chai (strong-flavoured tea made on street-side shops) in morning which sets the tone for the study pattern of the day. Students all over India prefer to bond over tea in Canteens throughout the day or mostly night time. I even heard a rumour that some IAS -aspirants of Jiyasarai (a small village ensconced in midst of boundary wall of IIT-Delhi) swear by the magical effects of tea brewed in congested lanes of this suburb which will make them crack civil services exam conducted by UPSC. Therefore, many of them keep drinking this strong tea at unearthly hours in the hope of being a bureaucrat and some become one by the the sheer logic of probability. So, the myth of tea in student’s life persists.

Tea-maker boy with magical touch

But, coming back to the Handi Tea. I must confess that I have never heard the term before yesterday though I count myself among the nosy connoiseur of tea having lived and tasted tea from around the country. I also believe in the institution of bed tea. Whoever discovered this great tradition was an innovator of highest order as drinking tea while sitting under the quilt lazily in winter season is one of the greatest pleasures of life. If you have to move your legs even before gulping hot cup of tea , then the fun of well-deserved night sleep goes out of the window.

I discovered this well – known local variety of tea-making by sheer luck. I was travelling on the newly black-topped four-lane highway connecting Anisabad(Patna) to Bakhtiyapur. This nearly 50 Kms. part of NH-30 is one of the finest examples of development in roadways sector of Bihar. However, the fun of driving on this shiny road flies away when you think about the journey ahead on Bakhtiyarpur – Barh stretch of NH -31 which faces unending hours of traffic snarls and poor quality of road designing. So, you come back to realize that why some parts of India are shining and some live in dark ages. This section remains the same since last 30 years or more while traffic on NH -31 has seen exponential growth as it is one of the most vital links connecting Rest of India to North -Eastern states.

So, I wished to have a break before embarking on the driving on this horrendous stretch of NH -31.

03-04 large tea/snacks shops are situated near the junction of NH -30 & 31 and tourist hotspot of Rajgir/Nalanda are not far away from this place. So, this pit stop of few rustic-looking tea shops sees large number of footfalls of tourists also. All shops look identical and flashes large flex-signboards advertising the Handi tea. I ordered 01 cup and it was delivered to me in Kulhad(handle-less clay tea cup) within seconds. Delivery was so quick that I verbally abused swanky fast food chains or Coffee Shops for their inordinate delay in delivery of items. Sometimes, I wonder that Coffee shop people ask for permissions from Coffee Plantation owners in various parts of India or may be from far corners of South America for delivering a hot Latte/Cappuccino to me.

Now, coming to the taste. My goodness !!! What is this ?

It was the strongest ever tea made in deeply-baked high calorific-milk poured into the Handi(Clay pot) or terracotta- like pot straight from the udders of a a big and bulky jet-black coloured buffalo ! I may have even looked for her but good sense prevailed !

The aroma of deeply-baked tea brewed with generous amount of milk & sugar was overpowering the senses. I must say that this tea is not meant for weak people. You may get heart attack if you prefer the tea in a delicate English manner. The sensuous and erotic mix of clay with brown milky tea can even arouse the senses of a gentleman. I immediately ordered few more cups and gulped 04 cups in succession as Kulhads are normally very stingy in matters of quantity as they contain lesser amount of liquid than their regular counterpart bone china tea cups. Don’t ask me about origins of bone china but these are normally white porcelain cups definitely containing some amount of animal bones. May be now, craftsmanship has improved and we can be using vegetarian cups.

Thereafter, I did a small research and talked to tea boys and owners and they sweared on the record that this is the best tea brewed in Bihar. I agree with their opinion as the taste of pudding lies in eating the cake and I did so. I discovered that they slowly cook the tea on coal-ovens over an extended period of time and their recipe is simple but unique to them.

Fragrance of Handi Tea

When , I was taking photographs, one chirpy young lad suggested to me to put the tea-making boy on the internet and made him famous. I didn’t promised him anything but loved their care-free attitude. A tea-maker boy is more happy than many of us reading this blog. I became happy for him and wished him well. But, now in hindsight, I regret that I forgot to ask their names. May be in my next trip, I will sit with them for longer duration and ask for names.

But, I must recommend that if you wish to be in the vicinity of that location, go and drink the elixir called Handi Tea in their shop. It works like poison on your senses but what is life without a small dose of poison. Hopefully, you will enjoy it.

That’s it for today.

So, if you have anything to say , write it down and let others see what you think of Bakhtiyapur School of Tea.

20 Comments on “Handi Tea of Bakhtiyarpur

  1. Whenever I cross the area I can’t resist of having experience of the handi tea. Rightly said one cup is not enough. The aroma and rustic flavour of the area and tea are just enchanting as your writing sir!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Dilip very nicely narrated, the great indian milk tea is the great elixir which signals the start of day in India.The magical way in which ur journey unfolded added to its flavour. I have never never served in Bihar but will surely not forget to taste the magical brew if I ever travel through this stretch to highway. Happy reading. Dhiraj

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Dhiraj for nice comments. Hopefully, you will surely have the pleasure of tasting this brew in near future. Your kind words means a lot to me. Thank you once again.


  4. Thanks Shardendu. But , as you knew about this magical tea, you should have shared it with us earlier as we were deprived of the pleasure of drinking this tea. Especially for me as I have travelled through that part of Highway innumerable times in the past.


  5. Really mesmerized by both your writing skill, unique thought process & unmatchable detailed explanation about the handi tea. Though i am not a die hard lover of milk tea yet i will certainly love to enjoy it after your such an excellent heart touching blog especially while crossing over to my native village. Please continue writing such an outstanding piece indeed & thanks a lot for sharing it with us, Rajesh

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Rajesh for sharing your thoughts about this blog. I didn’t knew that your native place is situated there. Good to know. Keep inspiring. Thanks again.


  7. Sir
    Surprised to know about Handi tea
    Unfortunately I missed this opportunity due to lack of knowledge. One more important thing is the way you have described everything is it is more erotic and sensuous than any tea.
    Definitely I will enjoy Handi tea in next trip of this area. Thanks for bringing this tea in our knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you Shankar for encouraging words. Our countryside is full of such hidden treasures, we just need to look for things all around. Happy to know that you discovered this great tea-making tradition through this blog. Thank you again.


  9. Bhaktiyapur school of tea! I like the originality of its sound. The implicit humour is typical of a North Indian pun! May not be very relevant for people with less exposure to things North Indian. But the language is simple and comprehensible, definitely reflecting that the author is genuine and not “show-off ish” as many English writer from our country. Continue staying true to yourself Dilip bhai! It’s fun knowing you as you are through your leisurely pursuit! 👌🏻👌🏻


  10. Hats off to your threadbare description of handi tea.tea in Indian spectre has taken a pivotal role in get together, be it of family level or casual chitchat at any street corner tea shop.mesmerized with flow of ur writing.keep it up.


  11. Thank you Lian. Your words will continue to provide motivation to me. Thanking you once again for taking interest in reading this blog.


  12. Thanks dear Nagendra.Encouraging words from friends are the biggest source of motivation for me. Hoping to continue the conversation over a cup of tea in near future.


  13. यह सारा वृत्तांत पढ़ कर ऐसा लगा कि जैसे किसी धुरंधर लेखक की विशाल रचना संग्रह के कुछ अंश सामने आ गए हैं परंतु जहां तक मुझे पता है श्रीमान कि आपका व्यवसाय तो कुछ और ही है और उस पेशे में रहकर भी अपनी संवेदनाओं और रचना शक्ति को इस कदर मौलिक बनाए रखना एक बड़ी उपलब्धि है ।

    जीवन के जिन छोटे अनुभवों को हम वाकई छोटा समझ कर अनदेखा कर देते हैं उनका भी इतना मर्मस्पर्शी विश्लेषण एक आत्मिक आनंद प्रदान करता है और इस धारणा को भी पुष्ट करता है कि खुशियां छोटी छोटी चीजों में ही है बड़े-बड़े तो सिर्फ सपने होते हैं।
    कुछ पंच लाइन जैसे कि जहर की एक छोटी सी खुराक के बिना क्या जीवन है ? इत्यादि ,एक प्रकार का कटाक्ष भी करते हैं और वास्तविकता से साक्षात्कार भी करवाते हैं ।
    बहुत बढ़िया ! साधुवाद!
    ऐसे ही लिखते रहिए और हमें अनुग्रहित करते रहिए ।

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dear Raghubir,
    I was not expecting a page full of literary review from your side. It was unexpected but I loved every bit of poetry in your thoughts. It gave me immense pleasure and I sincerely hope that you too start writing something.
    I must quote Benjamin Franklin for you here –
    “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing”

    I know for sure that you belong to 2nd category but I will prefer you as belonging to 1st category. Join the tribe of writers. Let your creative juice run amok and overwhelm everyone around you.

    Thanking you dear dost for sharing your views.


  15. Sir
    Unbelievable writing skills, collection of words from local language, which heart touching, I fill teaste of Handi tea of bakhtiyarpur during reading of this blog. I can’t stop reading of this blog before completing. writing flow mind blowing.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Handi Tea of Bakhtiyarpur – Vijayagiri views

  17. Ha ha ..i was smiling all through when u was reading this blog, because i could image your expression and your words u would have expresses while gulping 4 kulhadhs of. In my honest opinion ,if i had to choose best among the equals (your blogs) this blog would be a very serious contender.cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you Vicky for appreciation. Your wonderful comments made my day. This is what a blogger needs -unbridled and bucketful appreciation. Thank you once again.


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