Ilam, a picturesque hill station located in the eastern development region of Nepal, is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Known for its lush tea gardens, unique culture, and bio-diversity, Ilam attracts a significant number of tourists every year. This article will guide you through the top 10 must-visit places in Ilam, offering a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and thrilling adventures.
Ilam: The Tea Capital of Nepal
Ilam, nestled in the eastern part of Nepal in Province No. 1, is a famous hill station covering an area of 1,703 sq km. The district is bordered by Darjeeling, India in the east, Morang and Dhankuta in the west, Jhapa in the south, and Panchthar in the north. The name 'Ilam' is derived from the Kiranti language, where 'Il' stands for twisted and 'Lam' stands for the road, symbolizing the twisting highways of the region.
Ilam is renowned for its tea gardens, with shrubs planted over 140 years ago. The tea produced here is of export quality and is shipped to several countries in Europe. Besides tea, Ilam is also a leading producer of cardamom, ginger, potato, and broom.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Ilam
1. Antu Danda
Antu Danda, located at an elevation of 2,328 m, offers spectacular views of sunrise and sunset against the backdrop of the Himalayas. On a clear day, you can also enjoy the panoramic views of hill stations in India like Kurseong, Darjeeling, and Mirik from Antu.
2. Mai Pokhari
Mai Pokhari, a beautiful lake with nine corners, is surrounded by a thick jungle of juniper, fir, pine, and birch. The lake holds religious significance and is considered a holy pond dedicated to Goddess Bhagwati.
Sandakpur, located at an elevation of 3,665 m on the Nepal-India border, offers majestic views of the world’s highest mountains like Mt. Everest, Mt. Kangchenjunga, Mt. Makalu, and Mt. Lhotse.
4. Kanyam and Fikkal
Kanyam and Fikkal are famous for their tea gardens. Kanyam is a popular spot for photography, sightseeing, and picnics, while Fikkal is a business center and a hub for tourists arriving from Darjeeling, India.
5. Siddhi Thumka
Siddhi Thumka, located at an elevation of 1,693 m, is famous for sunrise and sunset views and spectacular vistas of mountains Everest and Kangchenjunga and ranges like Mahabharat range and Churia range.
6. Gajur Mukhi
Gajur Mukhi is a famous Hindu religious site in the eastern region of Nepal. This sacred place lies near the river banks of the Deumai Khola.
7. Pathibhara Devi
Pathibhara Devi is one of the most visited holy places in the eastern part of Nepal. This temple of Goddess Pathibhara is considered a sister temple to the original Pathibhar Devi in Taplejung.
8. Mai Beni
Mai Beni, located at the junction of two holy rivers Mai Khola and Jogmai Khola, is famous for the temple of Lord Shiva.
9. Todke Falls
Todke Falls, the second-longest waterfallof Nepal with a height of 85 m, is a major attraction for tourists. The waterfall, located near Mai Khola or Mai Beni, appears as if it's pouring out from the heavens.
10. Hangetham and Choyatar Forest
Hangetham and Choyatar Forest, located on the north-eastern side of Ilam, are known for their dense fog, green forests, and incredible views of Ilam. The forests are home to animals like red panda, leopard, thar, black bear, and birds like munal, eagle, kandevaccur.
Ilam, with its lush tea gardens, diverse wildlife, and cultural richness, offers a unique experience for every traveler. Whether you're trekking to Antu Danda, exploring the tea gardens of Kanyam and Fikkal, or immersing yourself in the local culture at Gajur Mukhi, Ilam promises an unforgettable journey. So, pack your bags and set off on an adventure to Ilam, where the eastern jewel of Nepal awaits you.