Ilam is the hilly region in the eastern region of Nepal, it is a small hill town with pristine landscapes of slopes tea gardens, mountain streams, dense natural forests, holy sites and a unique culture. Ilam district is located at the height of 610m to 3669m above sea level. This region is bordered by Panchthar in the north, Jhapa in the south, West Bengal of India in the east, and Morang and Dhankuta district in the west. It is also known as one of the richest districts in Nepal in terms of its cultural diversity, natural landscape, and thriving cash crops sector. The major cash crops are potato, cardamom, ginger, red round chilly, milk and broom grass.
Ilam is adorned with an almost limitless range of lush green tea gardens and the rolling hills covered with tea leaves are simply splendid. The famous sights in ilam which worth a visit are Antu Danda, Mai Pokhari, Sandakpur, Fikkal Bazaar, Tea garden, Chhintapu.
Ilam Tea garden
Ilam is largely popular for its picturesque tea production. Tourists visiting this place can feel the refreshing mountain atmosphere surrounding the small town that is home to some of the most beautiful tea gardens in the world. For this reason, visiting ilam’s Tea garden is one of the most popular things to do.
Antu Danda is one of the best places in this region to view the spectacular sight of sunrise, sunset and the Himalayas. It is situated at a high elevation of 2328m above sea level. This high hill overlooks the Terai flatlands, terraced hills of cash crops, tea gardens and thick pine forests. Visitors can also enjoy the views of Mirik, Kurseong and Darjeeling on a bright and clear day. It takes about three-hour drive from ilam bazaar to reach Antu Danda and about an hour drive from Pashupatinagar.
Mai Pokhari is a wetland in the Ilam district of Nepal which is a famous star shaped lake. It has nine corners, which is believed to be paying a tribute to nine different Gods. It is a pilgrimage site for both the Hindus and the Buddhists and is considered to be a sacred place among the local population. The Mai Pokhari is known for the lush greenery surrounding which provides a perfect place for boating and fishing. It is about half and hour drive from ilam bazaar.
Sandakpur in Ilam district is a popular tourist destination which is rich in biodiversity and natural beauty, situated at the height of 3,636 meter. One of the attractions for tourists to this area is that mountain ranges of Nepal, India and Bhutan can be viewed from the single location that is Sandakpur. The weather at Sandakpur is mostly cold and the environment here gives visitors a sense of freshness. From the top of this place four of the highest peaks in the world, Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu can be seen. One has to go to Maimajhua Khorsanitar through Mai Pokhari first and then trek for about five hours to reach Sandakpur.
Fikkal bazaar is the most vivacious place to experience the day to day livelihood of local Nepalese people. It is also the business centre in the area that falls on the Mechi highway on the way to ilam. It is also the junction that leads to the eastern border city Pashupatinagar adjacent to Darjeeling district of India.
Chhintapu is the second highest peak of Ilam district that stands proudly at the height of 3400m. This area is rich with natural forests rhododendron which has around eleven species of rhododendron, herbal plants and various species of birds. The rare herb Yarshagumba, wild animals like musk deer and red panda are also available here. To reach here it takes about three hours trek from ilam bazaar.