Ilam: A Heaven On Earth!

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It is no exaggeration to state that Ilam is a piece of heaven. As a small child, Ilam sleeps soundly in a hammock, swinging the soft sun that casts light around him. The cold winds of the highest peaks like Everest, Makalu, Kanjanjunga and other towering snow-capped peaks make Ilam holy by blowing scents every time. The magical touch of Ilam's frenzy ecstasy brings incredible joy to visitors of all ages.

Nature's Gift

The dark green Ilam that has been gifted by nature has not only become so popular because of nature but because of the millions of hard-working people. Ilam has gained fame in the country and abroad today. Which is something that the residents of other parts of Nepal need to think about.

Located in the far east of Nepal, Ilam Municipality is full of beautiful tea gardens. It is located in the Mahabharata mountain range of Koshi State. Eastern Nepal is famous for its scenery, diverse agricultural economy, tea plantations and produce. Previously it was established as a municipality. Later, it gradually emerged as a rich district of Nepal based on cultural diversity, natural scenery, fruits and cash crops.

Sandakpur is one of the beautiful place in Ilam. This village, which is about 15 km from Ilam Bazaar, extends to the Indian border, from where you can see not only Nepal and India, but also the snow chains of Bhutan, and this area is also famous for its rare wildlife and plants. There is one of the highest waterfalls "Todake Jharna" in Nepal. Similarly, the hospitality of open-minded people gives pleasure. Sandakpur is one of the six rural municipalities in the Ilam district.

The name of Kanyam comes to the fore among the prominent places of Ilam. The Ilam district of the Mechi zone is a famous tourist spot that is visited by national and international tourists. It is popular for its wonderful lush green tea gardens. Most popular for the most beautiful, tourist 

picnic spot.

Like in Kanyam, Fikkal Bazaar also welcomes tourists with the spread of excellent tea gardens. Now it is a part of Suryodaya municipality in Ilam. There is also a small town on the Mechi highway near Kanyam called Fikkal Bazaar, from where one can go to the eastern border called Pashupatinagar, which is connected to Darjeeling in India. Sri Antu is a valley within Suryodaya Municipality. Sri Antu is a more popular tourist destination which is known as a place to watch the sunrise as well as for its lively tea gardens. Our Sri Antu and Kanyam of Ilam are more beautiful than Darjeeling.

These places are not so far from Charali of Jhapa, nor is Charali itself that far from the border Panitank of India. Spreading greenery on about 240 hectares of land, Ilam is located at a height of about a thousand feet above sea level on the way to Ilam Bazaar on the highway.

A large tea garden named Kanyam Tea State has been planted in the middle of the tea garden, which has also helped in creating many jobs and economic development. Ilam is also very popular for locals and foreigners to explore tea plantations, go for picnics, sightseeing, photograph and filmmaking. Hence, Ilam is a beautiful hill station in far eastern Nepal where the hills are dotted with many beautiful and lush tea gardens. Apart from the beautiful view of the tea gardens, there are many other places to visit in Ilam.

Another popular pilgrimage site is the temple of Pathibhara Devi which is believed to fulfil the long-held dreams of her devotees. Ironically, the Pathibhara deity is worshipped with equal reverence by both Hindus and Buddhists. It is widely believed that the Goddess of Pathibhara fulfils the long-standing vows of her devotees, begets sons for the childless, and grants wealth to the poor. 

Although the famous temple of Pathibhara Devi, one of the 'Shakti piths' of Nepal, is located in Taplejung district, the temple of sister Pathibhara is located here. Therefore, it can be a good option for devotees who are unable to visit their elder sister in Taplejung. On special occasions, thousands of devotees from different parts of Nepal and India visit the temple believing that their wishes will be 

fulfilled. The devotees of Pathibhara are not only the public but also members of the former royal families of Nepal. 

Pilgrims offer animal sacrifices and gold and silver ornaments to Goddess Pathibhara. Pilgrims can also have the opportunity to visit Kanchenjunga Range, Sawa Pond Waterfalls and Timbuk Ponds every year during the autumn and spring seasons. Dense forests along the way, rare wildlife, variety of birds, flowers and butterflies can also be observed. Most of the Kanchenjunga mountains can be seen from this point. 

Sherpas, Rais, Gurungs, Magars, Newars, Sunwars and Tamangs live in this area and the cultural diversity of Chhetri and Brahmins is also found in this area.

Pashupatinagar market which is 8 km from Fikkal and about 15 km from Mirik in India is very interesting. Halfway between India and Nepal, this bazaar is another charming tea garden site in Ilam. The glory of this beautiful market is no less because it is the centre of trade between the two countries. Here you can buy tea, clothes, perfumes, and handicrafts.

Tourist Destination

Mirik is a hill station in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, near Pashupatinagar Bazaar. It has become a tourist destination for its climate, natural beauty, and amenities. The main attraction in Mirik, which looks like Kanyam itself, is Sumendu Lake, surrounded by gardens on one side and pine trees on the other, connected by a rainbow bridge. The view of Kanchenjunga's distant horizon is reflected in the lake surrounded by a three-and-a-half-kilometer-long road. One can return to Pashupatinagar by visiting this place which has the largest tea garden in Darjeeling.

Among the 5 A's synonymous with Ilam, a specimen of nature, the cardamom is disappearing due to an unknown disease. Now tea, milk and Amreso are being produced more. There is no doubt that if the residents of other districts of Nepal can change the face of their region after learning from the hardworking residents of Ilam, those places will also be the source of the economy. 

But for this, they do not have to cultivate tea. It is necessary to move forward by planting crops according to their geography and climate, by rearing animals, or by promoting the development of tourist services.

(The author is an Associate Professor at KUSOM)

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