Shree Antu located in Ilam district of eastern Nepal at a height of just 5705 feet above sea level offers view of Sunrise not seen anywhere on earth. The early morning view is so dramatic that it keeps your jaw wide open and your fingers glued to your camera clicker. An orange and then red ray of light penetrates the entire length of the horizon which seems to stretch for a good 270 degrees several minutes before the sightings of the rising Sun. This mind boggling view is priceless! NepalSutraTM gives you a complete run down of a trip to Shree Antu including GPS maps, photographs and information on local eateries and places to stay.
Fly to Chandragadi of Jhapa and then hire a taxi/van for about Rs. 1800 to head up to Fikkal Bazaar which takes about an hour and half. You have few good options to stay at home stay or small lodges in Fikkal. One such home stay is run by Mr. Jay Rai who is a local from Sunderpani VDC in Fikkal. They will make your stay in Ilam a memorable one with their hospitability. Another good place to stay is Bishal Hotel & Lodge which offers clean rooms and excellent Dalbhat (just like home cooked).You may contact Bishal Hotel at 027-540411.
Depending on what time you arrive in Fikkal, Ilam you may be able to make an excursion to Pashupatinagar which is the easternmost border between Nepal and India. May locals (mostly Nepalese and Indians) cross the border each day to visit Darjeeling and Siliguri. If you are a third country national other than India and Nepal, you will not be able to cross the border here as there is no international immigration facility on either side. You may consider extending a day or two to explore rest of Ilam to visit Kanyam and Gorkha Tea Estate. This is a private tea estate whose tea has made it to the world. They produce bio-organic green tea which is mainly exported to Germany. It is worth a visit to their factory to learn their various stages of tea production. You will probably be impressed with some of the houses in Fikkal. We have seen some of the best looking houses in this district.
The drive up to Shree Antu may take up to 1.5 hours to 2 hours depending on the skills of the driver and road conditions. It is important to reach Shree Antu well before the sunrise. Setting off at around 3 am gives you good advantage. You may check the exact sunrise time and weather details via Mausam mobile application which gives accurate information on weather. You may make an arrangement with local lodges for a transport up to Shree Antu. Remember, only a four wheeler can make it up to the summit. The cost may run up to Rs. 3000 for the transport. The road to Shree Antu forks left from about a km down from Fikkal Bazaar on Mechi Highway. Part of the road is paved until the bridge. Rough jeep track starts after the bridge all the way until the top of the Shree Antu ridge.
There is a home stay lodge available for people who would like to stay overnight at Shree Antu.
Enjoy the Sunrise!
Story and Photo : Sunil C. Sharma