The appellation Melli in Nepali means "the place where the dead are cremated". Melli is one of the few towns in India that lie in two different states. A bridge named Jawaharlal Nehru Bridge connects the two parts of the town. It is the longest bridge in Sikkim. The part of the town in West Bengal is also called as Melli Bazaar. The town lies on National Highway 31A connecting Siliguri to Gangtok. Melli is the main entry point for West and South Sikkim districts. Kalimpong town lies 20 km away from Melli.
The town lies at an elevation of about 100 m. It is located 7 km upstream from Teesta Bazaar. On the Sikkim side lies Yuksom Breweries which produces most of the beer in the region. The brewery and a biscuit factory are the major industries in the region. River rafting can also be undertaken from this point.
Melli Bazar on the Sikkim side is one of the 32 constituencies of Sikkim Legislative Assembly.