The tourism of Nepal has been classified into 18 tourism sectors consisting the natural and man made resources found in different region of Nepal. Among those 18 tourism sectors, Mechi Hill Tourism Area is one of them, which lies in eastern Nepal consisting 3 districts namely Ilam, Panchthar and Taplejung. It is surrounded by the Birat Tourism Area in the south, Arun Tourism Area in west, Tibet in the north and India in east. This tourism area has the world’s third highest peak, Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586 m) and many other peaks. It is rich in religious places and natural beauty. Suketar airport (TPJ) of Taplejung is the airport lies in this area. Here you will find the tourism places of this region and can get the information of the places to visit on your trip to Nepal.
Ilam district is one of 14 districts of Province No. 1 of eastern Nepal. It lies on Hilly region and covers an area of 1,703 sq. km. (658 sq mi). It is about 650 km from Kathmandu. We can reach Ilam via roadways by private or public vehicle. Or we can use domestic flight from Kathmandu to Biratnagar or Bhadrapur and use the roadways to reach Ilam. Ilam district is surrounded by Panchthar in the north, Jhapa in the south, West Bengal (India) in the east and Morang and Dhankuta districts in the west. Elevations in Ilam district range between 140 m to 3,636 m above sea level. Ilam is sometimes called Charkhol (area of four rivers) because of the four main rivers - the Jogmai, Puwamai, Mai, and Deumai in the district. Ilam is today one of the most developed places in Nepal. Its ILAM TEA is very famous and is exported to many parts of Europe.
Tourism in Ilam
A brisk walk in a tea garden, tranquil picnic and sightseeing stops, short treks along gentle slopes, or a trudge into the nearby woods – all this and more is offered by Ilam. An excellent getaway from city life, Ilam, famous for its tea, is a small hill town with pristine landscapes of sloped tea gardens, mountain streams, dense natural forests, holy sites and a unique culture. Using Ilam Bazaar as a base we can take excursions for a day or more.
Places to visit in Ilam
Kanyam and Fikkal
Kanyam is 44 KM east of Ilam municipality and is easily accessible on the Mechi highway. It is popular for its lush green tea garden and is the most beautiful and most popular for tourism and picnic spot. The tea garden is popular among tourists (domestic as well as international) for research, picnic, sight scene, photography and for moviemaking as well. Kanyam is the popular picnic and tourism spot of Ilam district.
Shree Antu is the beautiful hill in the district and one of the best places in Ilam to view the spectacular sight of sunrise, sunset and the Himalayas. This 2,328m high hill overlooks the Terai flatlands, terraced hills of cash crops, tea gardens and thick pine forests. One can also enjoy the views of Mirik, Kurseong, and Darjeeling on a bright and clear day. About an hour drive from Pashupatinagar and about the three-hour drive from Ilam Bazaar takes you to Antu Danda where one can stay at the local homes that offer home-stay facilities in the area. Shree Antu is 14 KM far from Fikkal bazaar.
Lapcha Museum at Antu
Lepcha is also the predominant ethnic group in this region. A Lepcha museum is at an initial stage in Antu and is in the process of being extended. Ilam reflects rich social and cultural heritage of people living in harmony.
Mai Pokhari is a wetland in Ilam District of Nepal that was designated a Ramsar site on 28 October 2008. It is a pilgrimage center for both Hindus and Buddhists. It has nine corners, which is believed to be paying a tribute to nine different Gods. On the periphery of the lake there is the Maipokhari Botanical Garden of horticultural and ecological importance which houses a rock garden, an orchid house, plants collected from many regions of eastern Nepal, and a green house. It is 14 KM from Ilam Bazaar and takes 4 hrs to reach there.
Sandakpur (3636 m; 11,941 ft) is the highest peak of Ilam. It lies at the border line between Nepal and India. It is also the highest point of the Singalila Ridge in Darjeeling district on the West Bengal-Nepal border. The peak is located at the edge of the Kanchenjunga National Park and has a small village on the summit with a few lodges. Four of the five highest peaks in the world, Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu can be seen from its summit. It also affords a pristine view of the entire Kanchenjunga Range. . Trekking towards Sandakpur starts from Khorsanetar or Gorhuwale. It takes 3 hours’ drive to Khorsanetar from Ilam bazaar and overnight stay at Khorsanetar. Next early morning walk towards Sandakpur form there. It takes 6 hrs to reach the peak.
Chinntapu is the second highest hill in the area at 3,353m. Hikes to Chinntapu offers the sightseeing for Red Panda, Musk Deer, Danphe And it is also famous for Yarsagumba (Cordyceps), a rare herb. The peak is about a 4 hour trek from Ilam Bazaar.
Gajurmukhi is renowned as the religious touristic destination in Ilam district. The major attraction here is a cave with carved images of gods and goddesses, which is about 20 feet long and 10 feet high. During the full moon day of Kartik (Month of Nepali Calendar), special worship is performed. This places is accessible with the transport service from Ilam Bazar. One can do trek to this place to about 4 hours from Ilam Bazar too. It is situated on the banks of Deunmai Khola, west of Ilam Bazaar. People visit this place with the religious perspective. It is 11 KM far from Ilam bazaar. It takes 3 hrs to reach there on foot.
Sidhi Thumka is located at an altitude of 1,800 m which offers stunning views of sunrise and sunset. And we can see the flatlands of Terai and the Mahabharat range from the area. We can reach there by trekking for about 3 hours from Ilam Bazaar.
Mai Beni houses the temple of Lord Shiva at the confluence of the Mai Khola and Jogmai Khola. It is situated about 3 kms from Illam Bazaar. Thousands of devotees gather here for a holy dip on the day of Maghe Sankranti.
Mangmalung is the religious spot belonging to the Kiratis. It is located at the upper part of Ibhang in the middle of a forest. We can find the figures of lion, eagle, snake, Budhanilkantha and rocks having different images. There is a cave of Matrika Kirateswar where, the festival is celebrated every year.
Todkey waterfalls is the second longest waterfall of Nepal which is 85 m long. The falls are in maimajhuwa, which is 40 m west of maikhola at an altitude of 1600 m from sea level. Dhappar Todkhe Falls is also located in Dhappar of Maimajhuwa and is another attractive waterfall in the area.
Sano Pathivara (Sister of Pathivara Devi)
This temple of Devi in Illam is believed to be the younger sister of Pathivara Devi of Taplejung. This temple is also called as ‘Sano Pathivara'. The temple is in Hanspokhari on the way to Ilam on Mechi highway.
Panchthar district is one of 14 districts of Province No. 1 of eastern Nepal. It lies on Hilly region and covers an area of 1,241 km2. Phidim is the headquarters of this district. Situated on the eastern part of the country, Panchthar is a beautiful hill district at laying near Ilam. This district is situated at an altitude range from 383 meters to 4,575 meters. The district is bordered by West Bengal and Sikkim in the east, Dhankuta and Tehrathum in the west, Taplejung in the north and Ilam in the south. Panchthar district accommodates Rai, Limbu, Tamang, Magar, Yakha, Bhote Sherpa, Gurung, Brahmin, Chhetri communities.
Tourism in Panchthar
Breathe taking and magnificent views of the snowcapped white mountains and lush green hills is offered by this place and it is renowned with preserving the culture and tradition. That’s why it becomes rich in terms of culture and natural resources. This region is being fascinated by many touristic destination with the natural resources. Phidim bazzar, Jorsal bazzar, Yasok, Rabi, Mehebote, Oyam Sukepokhari, Chyangthapu are some tourist destinations. Tamor, Hima khola, Ima Khola, Namdu Khola, Kabeli, Nibhu Khola are the major river system whereas Jore Pokhari, Suke Pokhari, Baraha Pokhari, Namdu Mahamir and Ratmate and are the major ponds and waterfalls in this district. Some tourist attractions in this region are Guru Falgunanda trek circuit, Lobrekuti Kirant Temple, Gajurmukhi Dham, Laramcha Chukkinamba.
Places to visit in Panchthar
Phidim Bazar is headquarter of Panchthar District. It lies within a valley in the foothills of the Himalayas in eastern Nepal. Phidim is a six-hour drive from Birtamod through a winding road via Ilam. It offers views of the Himalaya and other hills.It offers a route for trekkers and locals, who travel to and from the Taplejung district bordering with the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. It is also a commercial hub for the rural surroundings.
Aangsarang is the popular destination of Panchthar. We can reach this place by 3 hours of walk from Rake bazaar. This place is popular for the Mountain View and trekking. The beautiful landscape and a place of religious significance make it much more attractive.
Yasok is a little town that is close to headquarter, Phidim. It takes couple of hours to reach Yasok from Phidim. Many wonders and mysteries of the nature could be observed during the visit to this place.
Chhalasukka is another popular place in this district which lies over the beautiful hillock providing the panoramic view of the mountains, rivers and small valleys. This place is fascinating with many myths and legends surrounding it and the people living here.
Sadhutar of Ranitar in Panchthar has been more popular these days among domestic tourists. It lies near from Pauwa Bhajyang along the Mechi Highway. This place has a serene blue pond surrounded by bare hills. It has become a hotspot for the local people to enjoy the reflection of Himalayan ranges including Kanchenjunga and Kumbhakarna among others. People enjoy taking photos of the beautiful scenery while having some snacks by the side of the pond in Sadhutar.
Situated in the eastern part of Nepal, Panchthar, it carries great historical and natural significance. Blessed with ecological diversity, the ambiance of this landscape varies on the basis of weather. In autumn, the place offers breathtaking views of mountain ranges. Meanwhile, being in Suke Pokhari during monsoon is another noteworthy experience. Due to the fog, it seems as if the fog is playing hide and seek with green alpines. Moreover, various species of rhododendron make your journey wonderful in summer.
Taplejung District is one out of 14 districts of Province no.: 1 of eastern Nepal. Taplejung or Phungling Bazar is the headquarters of Taplejung district. It is remotely located at Himalayas (mountain) in Eastern Nepal bordered with Tibet in the north across the Himalayas. It covers an area of 3,646 square kilometers, ranging from 670 meters to 8,586meters (Mt. Kanchenjunga) above the seal level. The district surrounded by Tibet (China) in the north, Sankhuwasabha District in the west, Tehrathum District and Panchthar District in the south and Sikkim (India) in the east. This region is connected with the roadways and airways. A 268 km road drive from Jhapa i.e. Mechi Highway leads to Taplejung from the different parts of Country. Domestic flights has been operated from Kathmandu and Biratnagar to Suketar Airport (TPJ). Literally meaning of Taplejung is "a fort of King Taple" in Limbu language. There was a fort situated at that area in medieval times which was built by King Taple.
Tourism in Taplejung
Offering some of the most spectacular Himalayan landscapes with 13 of the world’s highest mountain peaks rising above 7000 m, Taplejung plays host to the longest blue glacier in the world, the Yalung, and a high biodiversity rate. The Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) in the eastern Himalaya boasts some of the most stunning scenery in all of Nepal. There are a number of high mountain lakes in Olangchung Gola. Taplejung is a best destination for trekkers. Tourist facilities are available in Phungling Bazaar and Suketar. Trekkers in this region take camping equipment like tents and food along as lodging facilities are inadequate. Trekkers can make use of lodges, teashops and campsites that are available en route to Kanchenjunga and Pathibhara. Kanchenjunga Conservation Area comprises cultivated lands, forests, pastures, rivers, high altitude lakes and glaciers. Snow leopard, Asian black bear, red panda, golden-breasted fulvetta, snow cock, blood pheasant and red-billed chough can be seen in the area. Pathivara Devi Temple at Taplejung hill is main pilgrimage center for Hindus.
Places to visit in Taplejung
Pathivara Devi Temple
Pathibhara Devi Temple is located on the hill of Taplejung at the elevation of 3,794m. It is also renowned as Mukkumlung (which is mentioned in Mundhum of Limbu people). It is one of the most significant temples in Nepal and also considered as one of the holy places for the Limbu people. Worshippers from different parts of Nepal and India flock to the temple during special occasions, as it is believed that a pilgrimage to the temple ensures fulfillment of the pilgrims' wishes. The waterfall at Sawa and the pond of Timbung, during autumn and spring are worth visiting every year. The forest ecosystem along the trial offers diversity of wildlife, birds, flowers and butterflies. The whole of the Kanchenjunga range can be seen from the trekking route of the region.
Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
The Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) lies within the Sacred Himalayan Landscape and is a key link in the chain of trans-boundary protected areas in the vast landscape, maintaining contiguity between Quomoloangma Nature Reserve in China and Kanchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in India. It has been designated as a conservation area in March 1998 and covers an area of 2,035 sq. km. in Taplejung district, lies in the northeast corner of Nepal. The major tourism activities inside the conservation area is the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek. It is one of the challenging and longest treks in Nepal, located in the far northeastern region of Nepal. The trek offers the adventure journey to discover the very less explored trails in the Himalayas and offers variations in landscapes from alpine grasslands to sub-tropical forests, low river valley, glacial moraine, and rocky scree slopes.
Tamor River (Rafting)
Tamor river rafting is a more challenging adventure rafting in Nepal. The trip for the rafting on the Tamor River in this region combines the river expedition as well as few days trek to the rafting starting point. During the journey, the trip offer the spectacular view of Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Manaslu. The river trip includes around 120 km of continuous 125 rapids, grade 3 to 4, with some graded -5, making one of the best white water expedition trips in the world. The best time for Tamor River Rafting are in October and November and February to May.
Limbu Cultural Trail
Limbu Cultural Trail is a newly developed trekking trail on the hills of Taplejung. This trek offers to observe the culture, tradition, livelihood and lifestyle of Limbu Community. We can see the farm of cash crops, Cardamom along the trail. Diverse flora and fauna, untouched natural landscapes and beauty, cultural performances like music and dances, tongba (local alcoholic beverages), etc. are the major attraction of this trail. The warm welcoming of the Limbu people, meals with them at the teahouse lodge, participating in their regular activities and hiking on the trail in the community offers the best experience of trekking in this region. The trek starts from Phungling Bazar (Headquarter) and passes the beautiful villages of Suketar, Lalikharka, Kande Bhanjyang, Phungphung and Mamangkhe. The final destination of this trekking is Mamangkhe which is dominated by Limbu.
Diki Chhyoling Gompa of Olangchungola
The rich cultural heritage of Taplejung is reflected in the Buddhist gompas (monasteries) such as the 400-year old Diki Chhyoling Gompa of Olangchungola which has a life size statue of Avalokiteshwara. A butter lamp at the altar has been burning here uninterrupted since the construction of the gompa. The waters of a small stream outside the gompa continuously spin twelve prayer wheels with the prayer "Om Mane Padme Hum" inscribed on them.
Fung Funge Jharana (Waterfall)
Fung funge jharana is one of the beautiful waterfall. This place is enlisted in most 100 places to visit in Nepal by Nepal Tourism Board. It is considered as the longest natural waterfall of Nepal.
Timbung Pokhari is situated at 4,335m above from the sea level in the border of Panchthar and Taplejung. The name ‘Timbung Pokhari’ originated from a Limbu word ‘Timbak’, which means the firing of a gun. The locals gave the pond this name as the pond often makes a sound that is similar to that of a gunfire. We can see mountains from this place. This place is famous for its stunning scenario, religious value, and high altitude.
Further more, Trekking on Panchthar-Ilam-Taplejung Red Panda Protected Forest, Great Himalayan Trekking (GHT) are the other popular activities of this tourism sector.
Thank you for giving valuable time for reading my blog. Hope these information will support you for getting knowledge about the places and explore the destinations in upcoming trips.