A brisk walk in a tea garden, picnic in the peaceful setting and sightseeing stops, short hikes along gentle hills, or explore the nearby woods – enjoy all this and more in the greenery of Ilam.
An excellent getaway from city life, Ilam, famous for its tea, is a district largely covered in tea bushes boasting a hill town with pristine landscapes of sloping tea gardens, mountain streams, dense natural forests, holy sites and a unique culture. Using Ilam Bazaar as a base you can take excursions for a day or more. There are many hotels in the town and a few resorts a short distance away in the tea gardens.
While the subtropical climate of Ilam ensures good weather throughout the year, except during the monsoon when heavy rains engulf most of Nepal, the best time to visit is between October -December or from February – April.
Ilam district is bordered by Panchthar in the north, Jhapa in the south, West Bengal (India) in the east and Morang and Dhankuta districts in the west. It lies to the south of the Mahabharat range and west of the Shinghalila range. Ilam town is a quiet little hill town and places to visit are the viewing tower and Mai Pokhari known for diverse fishes. Local visitors go to Kanyam Tea Estate for horse riding, hikes and picnics.
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 Deaumai in the district.
Ilam is one of the richest districts in Nepal when it comes to cultural diversity, natural landscape, and a flourishin cash crop industry. Potato, cardamom, ginger, red round chilly, milk, and broom grass are the major cash crops. Visitors also go to Ilam for botanical and anthropological research.
Lepchas were once 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.
It reflects rich social and cultural heritages of people living in harmony. Major ethnic groups living here include Brahmins and Chettris, Magars, Gurungs, Rais, Limbus, and Sherpas. Most parts of Ilam are hilly regions with farmers as main inhabitants along with some businessmen, officials and government employees.