Published On: May 31, 2018 09:35 AM NPT By: Bhim Chapagain



Homestay projects in several villages in Ilam have gradually started coming into the radar of travelers. These family-run lodges are especially known for providing an organic feel of the rural Ilam settings to their guests. At present home stays in Antu, Mai pokhari, Balangau, and Jamauna villages are seeing a large number of visitors.

Though you find homestays all over Ilam, each village has its unique essence. Additionally, the warm hospitality and kind gestures of the local residents have time and time again lured the visitors to extend their stay. 

The far-spread tea gardens, a captivating view of the sunset, an abundance of cardamom and the panoramic view of the mountain ranges are the major attractions here.  These features have attracted visitors from all over the globe, and aided the locals to generate financial revenue.
The Limbu occupied Balan village also sees a large number of tourists every year. The guests are given a special welcome by the locals with garlands accompanied by the traditional sounds of ‘Dhol’ and ‘Chyabrung’. 

The community forest of Choyatar located at Ingla of the northern Jamuna village has endangered red pandas. Tourists, especially from Nepal and Bangladesh, visit the region expecting a glimpse of the rare animal. 

Homestay in Balan village has been in operation for a few years now. The guest houses can accommodate 20 tourists at one time. Since the tourists get an opportunity to learn about the customs, culture, and tradition, they prefer to stay together in one location.

Bengali visitor, Suresh Jain who visited the Choyatar forest six months back was left mesmerized with the hospitality his hosts provided. He says, “The homestay where I stayed served me with local foods like steamed potatoes, tongba, and wild pig’s meat. I have asked my friends to visit the place.” 

September - April is the most favorable time to visit the Choyatar forest. If you’re lucky, you might just get a glimpse of a red panda in its natural habitat. Shutterbugs from around the world frequent the forest to try their luck to frame the endangered animal. 

Also, the hills of Ilam are covered in lush green tea plants from September to April. To promote the tourism of the region, the government has been promoting hospitality management and homestay services by directly involving the locals. Due to the lack of ample hotels, homestay business has prospered in the region. 

According to Mechi Tourism Department, tourism entrepreneurs are running the guests house following the criteria and provision set by the government. Executive Director of Mechi Tourism Promotion Committee, Keshab Dhaurali stated that homestay registration is being carried out in different parts of Ilam, Gorkha, and Maabu. “We are also providing homestay training in different villages. We are teaching the interested entrepreneurs about hospitality management following the ethics and principles related to the hospitality business,” added Dhaurali.

Though there are fewer numbers of commercial hospitality businesses in the village, villagers are addressing the need of accommodation to tourists through homestay. 

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