“The tea garden of Nepal”.
Where is Ilam?
The hill town of Ilam is located along the prestigious foothills of Mount Kanchenjunga. In eastern Nepal, north of Jhapa, and with West Bengal (India) to the east, it is one of the cleanest & greenest places in Nepal.
Ilam is one of the richest districts in Nepal when it comes to cultural diversity, natural landscape, and flourishing crop industry. Potato, cardamom, ginger, red round chili, milk, and broom grass are the major crops, with tea being the biggest industry.
Our journey from Kathmandu to Ilam was on an overnight bus.
During our time in Ilam, we chose to stay at the Summit Hotel. Billed as the best hotel in Ilam. It is perched on the hill with commanding views.
Large spacious, light rooms with ensuite bathrooms. They offer a variety of rooms to suit most budgets. We opted for one of the better rooms, which was worth the extra.
The restaurant offers good food and a fine breakfast. The staff speaks a little English only. So be prepared to be patient when asking for something.
Places of interest
A walk through the tea plantations
Take a walk through the many tea plantations on the hills. See the stunning views across the mountains. Meet the locals as you walk along the twisting and winding tracks.
Ilam Viewing Tower
Located on top of the hill is the rather strange looking viewing tower of Ilam. As you approach, it actually looks as if it is a residential block. The steps to the top pass through empty floor space, allowing you views from all levels.
At the top, the main viewing space was quite breezy when we visited. Views are far reaching over the town and surrounding plantations and mountains.
Whilst we were in the town, we noticed that there was some sort of sports day taking place on the Tudikhel Ilam. Curious we wandered down to have a look. Various activities were taking place, including the game of Kabaddi.
A sport popular in Asian countries. The game consists of two teams, each team has seven players. A single player from one team referred to as the ‘raider’ goes on the offence.
The objective of the game
To run into the other teams half of the pitch tagging as many of their opponents as possible. Before returning to their own half of the pitch without being tackled by the defending team. If that’s not enough, it has to be done in only a single breath without inhaling. A 30-second limit is also enforced on each raid.
The raider earns points for tagging the defenders, who are taken out of the game when tagged. The defenders earn points for tackling the raider, who would then be taken out of the game. Players are then brought back in for each point scored by their team from a tag or tackle.
Other activities that were taking place included football and various martial arts, at all levels and for all ages.