Taplejung is Northeastern end district of Nepal having Mt. Kanchanjunga, the world’s third highest mountain in the northern border with Tibet of China and Sikkim of India. Taplejung district is an area with immensely rich biodiversity and cultural heritage. The northern region of the district is protected under Kanchanjunga Conservation Area (KCA), home to diverse mountain flora & fauna and the southern region is marked by beautiful tea and cardamom gardens a major economic sources for the people. As the navel of the landscape and culture of the region is the temple of Pathibhara devi – situated on a hilltop - venerated by Kirat, Hindus and Buddhists alike. Majority habitat of Limbu, Sherbas, Bhotias people in the north and Chhetri, Gurungs, Magars, Newars, Brahman, Dalits ,etc. towards the south, forming a rich array of cultural diversity.
Until 1774 BS, the region was ruled as a part of a Limbuwan when it was annexed into Greater Nepal through a treaty. The name Taplejung derives from the words ‘Taple’ and ‘Jung’ where ‘Taple’ was a medieval Limbu king who ruled the area and ‘Jung’ in local ‘Limbu’ language refers to a fort, thus meaning ‘Fort of King Taple’. Taplejung now refers to the district with its headquarters in Phungling municipality in the Mechi Zone of Nepal.
People depend on subsistence agriculture, pastoral farming, and trade in the highlands and in the lower areas, in addition to subsistence farming, they are adopting cash crops such as tea and cardamom while also cultivating a mix crops of rice, wheat, maize, millet, mustards, and vegetables. They also raise animals such as cattle, water buffalo, sheep, and goats. In the past, the people form the hill areas bartered their surplus grains with Tibetan salt and wool but with improved road access, ancient trades are being replaced with other forms of commerce. Tourism is emerging as a new source of livelihood diversifying different form of activities.
As you climb up from the plains of Terai and East West highway upwards the Mahabharat range, crossing gentle Chure hills, you will observe beautiful villages of traditional houses perched alongside beautiful tea and cardamom gardens. In the north, the snowcapped mountains stand as crown jewels of the landscape. However, it is the hospitality of visiting a family and their farmhouse that will make you want to visit the area again and again.