Serving traditional chaha the same quintessentially delicious way for almost a century now, Aadya Amruttulya is the oldest tea shop in Pune
With its origins based in Sanskrit, Aadya Amruttulya literally translates to the first tea shop. Aadya means pratham or first, while amrut and tulya mean nectar and comparable respectively. Which makes sense, since the tea shop has managed to carve a truly magical niche for itself in the world of tea lovers.
Since its inception in 1924 by Vishwanath Pannalal Ojha, the shop has served the same special chaha with little to no alterations. The story began with the Rajasthani family migrating to Pune and opening up a sweet shop entitled Rajasthan Sweet Mart. A few years later, Vishwanath opened the doors to Aadya Amruttulya. A first of its kind, the place served tea 24×7 alongside locally loved snacks like poha, upma, vada pav, puri bhaiji etc.
Unsurprisingly, the place became an instant hit amongst the common folk. Rumor also has it that the humble tea shop served as a haunt for freedom fighters back in the day.
Fast forward to the present, the tea shop is currently helmed by Sharad Khubchand Nartekar. Ninety six years and four generations later, the place hasn’t changed much. Annual paint and polishing of the wooden interiors aside, Nartekar has ensured he always stays close to his roots and keeps the authentic nostalgic aura of the shop alive.
The interior is simple, with colour tinted windows, a huge fan, wooden panelling and benches, and brass and copper utensils. Hand painted caricatures adorn the wall, and a small menu on a blackboard completes the rustic vibe of the historic shop. Loyal customers flock here everyday to start their day with the special tea from Aadya Amruttulya, a staple taste cultivated over several years.
While the brewing of the tea is undoubtedly an art, the current artist behind the famous chaha is Vikram Khubchand Nartekar, the owner’s brother. According to him, there are two things that give the tea its distinctive taste. One being the special combination of ingredients that they use to make the chaha, and the other is the pair of hands that make them. Having worked in the shop for more than 35 years, Vikram Nartekar is now the diligent expert who ensures he prepares the tea himself. Fortunately for the tea shop lovers, he doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon.
An arguable major factor to the tea shop’s success is their disciplined and focused attitude. Major legacy in Pune aside, the family is sure to open shop every day from 10 am to 9 pm barring Mondays, when the place closes at 12 pm. With the costliest item on their menu priced at Rs 50, Aadya Amruttulya’s affordable menu helps them rise above neighbouring competition.
With their platinum jubilee just four years away, the charm of the place lies heavily in maintaining their special recipes over generation. Fakkad chai is their signature speciality here, which is essentially tea prepared in pure milk, yielding an unmissable super creamy taste. That aside, the menu features regular beverage like black tea, regular tea, special tea, black coffee and regular coffee.
While their regular customer roster includes neighbouring jewellery shops, the tea shop also delivers to nearby places like Bhandarkar Road, Shivaji Nagar, and Kasba Peth. However, they’re still attempting to crack the right packaging to keep the tea piping hot at the time of delivery.
Following the success of Aadya Amruttulya, the word amruttulya became so famous that other tea shops across the city started adopting it. From Yewale Amuruttulya, Laxminarayan Amruttulya to Bhosale Amruttulya, there are several similar notable places dotted across the landscape of Pune.
Two years and a relentless bout of Covid-19 however, have forced several amruttulyas to close their shutters forever. The popping up of various small tea stalls have also posed a threat to these retro amruttulyas.
If you’re in Pune and looking for an authentic tea experience, visiting Aadya Amruttulya is a no brainer. From the ambience to the delicious tea to the warm and welcoming owners; the place is a must visit for any tea connoisseur!