Ilam (Nepali: इलाम Listen (help·info)) is a municipality of Ilam District, which is in the hilly region of Mechi zone, in the Eastern Development Region of Nepal. Ilam also acts as the headquarters of Ilam District and Mechi zone. Geographically it lies in the hill region which is mostly known as Mahabharata range. It is also one of the important town in Mechi zone and one of the major place in Nepal for tea-production. It is famous for natural scenery and landscapes, tea production, and diverse agricultural economy. Ilam municipality is sub-divided in 9 different wards, the major governmental and district office lies in ward number 1 and ward number 2. Ilam also is a major hub for transportation and communication for VDC that lies in the upper part of the discrict.
The word ‘Ilam’ comprises two words-‘I’ and ‘Lam’. In Limbu dialect, the word ‘I’ means ‘winding’ and ‘lam’ denotes to the way. Upon looking at the topography of this land, we can actually see several winding paths crisscrossing on the way. Thus it is aptly named ‘Ilam’.
Ilam Bazaar is located about 700 km east of Kathmandu. Regular buses are available from New Buspark, Koteswor and Kalanki of Kathmandu which takes to Ilam after a bus ride of about 18hours. An airport is under construction at Sukilumba Danda. A new buspark is being constructed at Sera.
Ilam view tower located in Panitanki, Gadi is a good place for the majestic views of hills, tea gardens, and some part of Ilam bazar,you can also see some parts of Jhapa on a clear day. The clock tower of Ilam also known as P.P. Tower is located in Ilam chowk bazar.
Tea production in Ilam (as Nepal tea) started as early as 1863, when the Chinese government offered then Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana tea saplings that were then planted in Ilam. In 1868, the Ilam tea factory was established, and tea plantations covered over 135 acres of land. In 2010, the tea factory was privatized, and is currently not under operation. However, tea production continues in Ilam in other forms.
In 2010, the total tea production of Nepal is 16.23 million kilograms per annum; a majority of this amount is produced in Ilam itself
New Hotels are being opened in Ilam for tourism. Ilam is known for its six "A"s: are Alu (Potato), Alan (Milk), Alainchi (Cardamom), Aduwa (Ginger), Amriso (Broom Grass), and Akabare khursani (Round Chillies),etc. although tea, bamboo, flowers and silk are also produced in Ilam.
Ilam bazaar has got haat on Sundays and Thursdays every week.
It is cold and freezing in the winter,mild warm in summer and fogg in the monsoon season. Many tourists come to Ilam for sight seeing of the natural beauty.
Environmentalism in Ilam
Ilam municipality is also known for its innovations in environmentalism. In 2010, the municipality became the first one in Nepal to ban plastic bags from the market. The district also set aside 38 ropanis (>19,000 square metres) of land in the same year for processing degradable waste. In addition, Ilam's network of microhydropower produces more reliable electricity than is available in the rest of Nepal.
Ilam has three FM radio station namely Nepalbani FM (94.9 MHz), Ilam FM (93 MHz) which are Community radio station and Fikkal FM (90.6 MHz). They aim to promote local culture by various programs of infotainment. Ilam Express, Ilam Post and Sandakpur are daily newspaper published from Ilam. In addition to these, several weekly newspaper like Pawanbhoomi and Ilam Awaj are published in Ilam.