Once the village tour was over, I started searching for places to see nearby. My Google Maps indicated a small temple on the eastern side of the tea estate, atop a hillock. Undeterred by my previous day’s unsuccessful trek, I started asking for directions. It was a small temple under a thatched roof which doubled up as the home for the priest and his family. Instead of idols, an array of flickering oil lamps and home-made candles adorned the images of various deities. Praying there in utter silence, with no chants, no bells, no queues of other devotees and no pestering vendors, was a visceral experience.
My next stop was the Temi Tea Factory, where I received a crash-course in the tea manufacturing process, from plucking the leaves to its final metamorphosis into being packaged into boxes containing three types of tea– green, black and white. I was curious to learn more about the process. I must have come across as a nerdy, overenthusiastic kid to the tour guide at the factory, because his expression eventually turned into an unintentional frown.
Needless to say, after two days at Tarku, my travel plans had been turned on its head. Two days of sojourn in this quiet settlement had completely detached me from the outside world. I felt an inexplicable warmth and understanding of the place.