East Nepal Tour

East Nepal Tour

East Nepal Tour: Tea Garden, Mountain View Point, Sunrise Sun set views, Endemic wildlife with Spiritual and Natural Heritages


A brisk walk in a tea garden, tranquil picnic and sightseeing stops, holy sites, short treks along gentle slopes, a trudge into the nearby woods and a unique culture – all this and much more is offered by Ilam. Ilam has always been synonymous with tea, but it also produces excellent cheese and has great views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, 8,586 m, the third highest mountain in the world. Ilam district is bordered by Panchthar to the north, Jhapa to the south, West Bengal (India) to the east and Morang and Dhankuta districts to the west. It lies to the south of the Mahabharat range and west of the Shinghalila range.Elevations in Ilam district range between 140 m to 3,636 m above sea level and is sometimes called Charkhol (area of four rivers) because of the four main rivers – the Jogmai, Puwamai, Mai and Deumai – that flow through the district. Ilam is one of the richest districts in Nepal in terms of its cultural diversity, natural landscape and flourishing cash crops. Potato, cardamom, ginger, red round chilly (akbare khursani), milk and broom grass are the major cash crops. Many visitors also go to Ilam for botanical and anthropological research. Ilam is served by a good road which sees little traffic, making for a pleasant journey.

People: The main ethnic groups living in Ilam are the Brahmins and Chhetris. The Lepchas are also a predominant ethnic group in this region. Ilam reflects the rich social and cultural heritages of the people living in harmony. Other major ethnic groups living in Ilam include the Magars, Gurungs, Rais, Limbus and Sherpas. Most parts of Ilam are hilly with farming as the main occupation.

Natural Heritages

Antu Danda: Situated at an altitude of 2,328 m, Antu Danda is famous for its spectacular views of the sunrise and sunset over the eastern Himalaya. From here, magnificent views of the 8,586-m Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak, as well as Kumbhakarna and other snowy summits can be had. Antu Danda is surrounded by scenic terraces, slopes and plains covered by different types of vegetation. On a clear day you can see the middle hills and plains of neighboring Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India. There are home stay facilities at Antu Danda, which is about 35 km southeast of Ilam Bazaar, the district headquarters,

Mai Pokhari (2,121 m): A popular pilgrimage site, Mai Pokhari is a 9-cornered pristine lake considered the sacred abode of Goddess Bhagawati. It lies 13 km north of Ilam Bazaar and is surrounded by dense forests of fir, juniper, birch, pine and medicinal plants. Rare animals like the musk deer, leopard, porcupine, jackal as well as numerous migratory birds and rare insects are found in the area. People from different parts of Nepal visit Mai Pokhari in Ilam for an annual festival on Kartik Ekadasi which falls in October-November. Mai Pokhari is about 1 ½ hours’ drive from Ilam Bazaar.

Kanyam and Fikkal: On the way to Ilam Bazaar, Kanyam and Fikkal have large tea estates that have made Ilam famous for more than a hundred years. These tea gardens are popular among tourists for picnicking, sightseeing and photography. Fikkal is a business center in eastern Ilam and lies on the Mechi Highway leading to Ilam. It is also the junction from where one can go to the eastern border city of Pashupatinagar adjacent to Darjeeling. Indian and Nepali nationals can cross over to the other side of the border with valid documents.

Siddhi Thumka (1,800 m) offers good views of the sunrise and sunset. You can also see the Terai flatlands and the Mahabharat range from the area. Siddhi Thumka is about a 3-hour trek from Ilam Bazaar.

Chhintapu (3,353 m) is the second highest peak in Ilam district. Nearly 11 varieties of rhododendrons, rare herbs, endangered wildlife like the musk deer and red panda are found in this area. Kanchenjunga and most parts of Ilam can be seen from here.

Spiritual Sites:

Gajur Mukhi is an important religious site, about 4 hours’ drive west of Ilam Bazaar. It is a stone tunnel with carved images of Hindu deities. It lies on the banks of the Deumai Khola – one of the four rivers of Ilam.

Sanu Pathibhara: A is a shrine at the top of Kutidanda and Hanspokhari on the Mechi Highway. Sanu (smaller) Pathibhara is regarded as the younger sister of the bigger Pathibhara Temple in Taplejung. The hill is covered with forests and offers views of the Terai plains, the Mahabharat range and Mt. Kanchenjunga.

Mai meni houses the temple of Lord Shiva at the confluence of the Mai Khola and Jogmai Khola. It is located about 3 km from Ilam Bazaar. Thousands of devotees gather here on the day of Maghe Sankranti, the first day of the 10th Nepali month in January, for a holy dip.

Mangmalung is an important religious site of the Kiratis in the middle of a forest at the upper part of Ibhang. The place is the origin of the Kirat religion. It has a number of images of snakes, lions and eagles. There is also a cave which houses the deity, Matrika Kirateswar, where a festival is marked with great pomp every year.

Sandakpur (3,636 m), on the Nepal-India border to the north of Ilam, is a big attraction for tourists because of the beautiful sunrise and sunset views over Mt. Kanchenjunga, and the adjoining peaks of Makalu and Mt. Everest. You can virtually see all parts of Ilam district, most parts of the Terai plains, and parts of Siliguri and Darjeeling in India. Animals such as the musk deer and red panda and birds such as the pheasant can be seen here.


Basantapur (2,200 m) is a town set amidst enchanting scenery of mountains, lakes and greenery in eastern Nepal. Pastures, hills covered with rhododendron and jasmine flowers, stunning sunrise and sunset views, friendly people and a rich Limbu culture make Basantapur appealing. Basantapur hosts trekkers on the way to Taplejung and Mt. Kanchenjunga.People: Limbu culture is predominant in Basantapur and surrounding areas. Other ethnic groups that reside in the area are the Gurung, Rai, Tamang, Brahmin and Chhettri. Tharu, Newar and Marwadi people also live in the area. Most of the people are farmers by occupation

Experience Tinjure ,a ridge at 3,066 m offers, magnificent views of the sunrise and sunset, and the mountains. Tinjure Danda is about half-hour walk from Basantapur Bazaar and is famous for its rhododendrons – a stunning 34 varieties.The TINJURE MILKE JALJALE TRAIL, also known as the RHODODENDRON TRAIL, leads you through Taplejung, Tehrathum and Sankhuwasabha districts.Heading northeast out of Hile – to the north of Dharan – the trail climbs gradually through settle-ments of recent migrants from the northern Olangchung region – trans-Himalayan yak drivers. On the way lies Gupha Pokhari, a serene lake set on a ridge that looks east at the Kanchenjunga massif and west at Makalu and Khumbu Himal. From here, a shorter trek follows the Milke Danda ridge (2,905 m) – a rhododendron forest – due north, climbing to 4,700 m into the Jaljale Himal, a remote area spotted with lakes and inhabited by mountain people from Tibet. You can then descend east to the Mewa Khola (stream) and continue to Taplejung’s airfield and further to the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area.Alternately, you can start from Phidim at the end of a newly com¬pleted dry season dirt road that trav¬erses Ilam’s young tea estates. PATTEK DANDA (2,500 m) is famous for the sunrise, sunset views over the Himalayas including Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga. Pattek Danda is ideal for short treks and is also a good area for picnics. It lies about 3 km from Basantapur. Pattek Danda can also be reached via Chitre that is a 15-minute drive away. From here, Pattek Danda is a 30-minute trek.

Other Attractions

Marg Pokharai (2,600 m) is a natural pond on the lap of the hills on the way to Basantapur from Sindhuwa, which is 5 km from Basantapur Bazaar. The pond holds religious significance as well as scenic beauty surrounded as it is by a dense rhododendron forest. PANCHAKANYA POKHARI, also known as Chhathar Pokhari, is the largest pond in the area. It is approximately 2 hours’ walk further down from Sukrabare Bazaar, an ideal place to experience the rich Limbu culture. The village can be reached via Sindhuwa Bazaar. HILE is a hill station to the north of Dharan, formerly a recruiting center for British Gurkha soldiers, that provides stunning views of the eastern Himalaya. Hile lies 13 km north of Dhankuta, a charming hill town of cobbled streets and white-washed houses. Bhedetar, the gateway to the Arun Valley, is another popular hill station in the area.

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