All about Taplejung

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Taplejung is the far eastern district of Nepal bordering China and India. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains. Some world-famous Himalayan peaks, like Kanchanjunga and Khumbhakarna, lie in the region. Rich in natural beauty with rivers, rivulets and green forests, temperature varies in the district due to the difference in altitude it covers.

Locally, the plain areas are generally known as Besi and the hilly areas are Lekh. You will find warm temperatures in Besi but if you start to climb up the hills, you will gradually feel the cold. ‘Besi’ are mostly along the bank of the river. There is also a big river in the region called the Tamor which originates in the Kanchanjungha Himalayan range. The boundary of Taplejung district is generally guided by the river Tamor and we can find several other rivers, fountains and waterfalls all over the district. Phungling is the headquarters of the district.

Taplejung can be reached by different modes of transport nowadays. There is a regular bus service from Birtamod to Phungling via Ilam.  Phungling is also connected by air with Kathmandu and Biratnager. Suketar Airport is the only airport in the district, and it is about seven kilometers from Phungling. A few years back, there was no road connectivity with other parts of the country and people used to walk or fly to travel in and out of the district. The popular walking route was Dhankuta to Taplejung via Basantpur. Traditionally, porters used to transport essential goods through this walking route.

During the last decade, there has been a significant development in road networks within the district. Most of these roads are unpaved and not safe for vehicular use throughout the year. However, a big, wheeled tractor and motorbikes are popular modes of transport for goods and services within the district. In this region, road connectivity has contributed to the economic activities in the area as well as the movement of people.

Most of the hotels, shops and restaurants are located in Taplejung Bazaar, which lies at the center of Phungling Municipality. There are some small shops and restaurants everywhere in the villages. Restaurants are ironically called hotels. Furthermore, Tokmedada is a very popular market in Taplejung, where farmers and shopkeepers from surrounding villages go to sell and buy their products every Saturday and Tuesday.

Taplejung Bazaar

Moreover, there are some local markets alongside the Tamor river that are set up occasionally, mostly during December and January, called Pushe Mela and Maghe Mela. These markets are very special; people can buy local products at a cheaper price. Vegetables, ghee, and bamboo products named Doko, Dhunse, Naglo etc. are available there. Cardamom farming is very popular in Taplejung these days, as it is in high demand and economically profitable. Farmers produce rice, wheat, corn, potatoes and tomatoes in local farmland. Oranges, mangoes, jack fruits and plums are also produced there. 

Agriculture, animal husbandry and tourism are the major sources of livelihood for the local people. Thousands of domestic tourists visit Taplejung every month (except in June/ July) to worship the popular goddess Pathivara Devi, while other tourists from different parts of the world visit for trekking and hiking. Due to the natural diversity in the country, one can enjoy different cultures and landscapes throughout the district. People from different ethnicities like Limbu, Rai, Gurung, Tamang, Sherpa, Newar, Chhetri, Magar and Bramhan have been living in this area for many years.

During the Maoist insurgency, many people migrated to the terai region to save their lives; likewise, people moved to Taplejung Bazaar and surrounding villages. Politicians made false promises during the election to extend road facilities, to distribute pure drinking water and electricity, but they did not keep  their promises after the election. Even though this is the case, local residents remain calm and wait for a happy and prosperous life ahead.

It is one of the most beautiful places to go for a holiday, especially for those who love trekking & hiking. They can look forward to spending quality time in the lap of heaven and feel the peace and serenity of their surroundings. Is there any place you would rather go on holiday?


Durga Dhakal

Durga Dhakal


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