Pashupatinagar, Jan. 2: Tourists celebrating the ‘English New Year 2023’ have crowded Kanyam and Antu, the famous tourist spots of Ilam. Kanyam and Antu, which are always teeming with tourists, are crowded this time as they came to celebrate the New Year in significant numbers.

Tourists from different districts of Nepal, especially Indian tourists, have booked hotels and homestays in advance this time. Tourists from Sikkim, Bihar, Siliguri, Darjeeling and West Bengal have already booked the hotels. At least 64 homestays and more than 50 hotels and cottages are operating in Antu.

Rudra Ghimire, Director of Antu's homestay, said that tourists had booked the hotels and homestays for Friday to Sunday in advance since the number of tourists increases during the New Year in these areas. Indian tourists visited this time to celebrate the English New Year and observe the beautiful sunrise. 

Similarly, tourists prefer to take a boat ride in Antu Pond and visit tea gardens on horseback. Tourists enjoy the sun rising from the Bay of Bengal colouring the white Kanchenjunga and Kumbhakarna mountains and kissing the Antudanda in the blink of an eye.

Bikas Oli, a native tourist who has come to Antu, said that the carefully decorated wooden houses and homestays run in Chiyabari (tea garden), Fulbari (flower garden), nicely decorated homestays and the taste of local tea is the attraction for tourists.

Kanyam is also packed with tourists this time. They had already booked all the hotels for Sunday. Tekraj Giri, a hotel businessman from Kanyam, said tourists have made bookings because they cannot get a room if they are late.

He said that tourists from Nepal and India planned to celebrate New Year in Kanyam. "For the last three to four years, the English New Year has been celebrated here as a festival," said Giri. Puskar Bhandari, who came from Darjeeling and has been staying in Antu for a few days to celebrate the English New Year, said that no matter how many times he comes, Antu and Kanyam are always missed. “Antu and Kanyam, which are so close to us, have started pulling us every year in the New Year,” he said.

Most of the tourists are found enjoying the tea garden in Kanyam. Some tourists visit to dress up in costumes of different castes and take pictures. Suryodaya Municipality has built Selfie Park, TikTok Park and Sky Walk with private investment in Kanyam targeting the tourists. Tourists enjoy Kanyam until late at night, said Rana Bahadur Rai, Mayor of Suryodaya Municipality.

He said that the friendship between the two countries has been improved by the New Year. Except for Antu and Kanyam, Panitar, Sandakpur and other areas of Ilam are also crowded with tourists celebrating the English New Year.

Meanwhile, our Dhalkebar correspondent Bijay Kumar Sah reported that there was a big crowd of domestic tourists and picnickers at Mithila Sagar, a tourist spot located at Dhalkebar in Dhanusha, on the New Year day Sunday.

Mithila Sagar is developed as a major tourist spot in Madhes province. International and domestic tourists come here to exchange New Year greetings and have fun picnicking together. Keeping in mind the increasing presence of tourists, the Mithila Sagar Conservation Committee has tightened the beautification, sanitation, drinking water and security arrangements of the area.

Mithila Sagar is located three kilometres north of Dhalkebar Chowk. More than 200 groups (more than in previous years) came for picnic in the Mithila Sagar located in the Pokhari Damar Community Forest area, said Dev Raj Ghimire, an official of the conservation committee.

Mithila Sagar, Kamala River, Lalgarh and other tourist spots of the district are also crowded with domestic and Indian tourists. Likewise, our correspondent Sujan Kafle from Dolakha reported, hotels in Dolakha used to be full even during English New Year in previous years but this time, there is not much excitement in the hotels. Even in the main tourist areas of the district, the movement of tourists has not been witnessed.

Hari Oli, a hotel businessman in Kalinchwok Kuri, said that domestic and foreign tourists were not seen in the hotel area this New Year. He said that the movement of tourists is low in areas such as Kalinchwok, Jiri Shailung and Kharidhunga, which are known as the main tourist spots of the district. There has been no snowfall in the high Himalayan areas of the district this year. 

Another hotel businessman in Kalinchwok, Chandra Kumar Lama, said that there is no snowfall this year. There was snowfall three to four times last year and that had attracted tourists in good numbers. The first choice of tourists is visiting Kalinchwok, a religious and tourist destination and also a place to enjoy the snow. Lama said that tourists from India also used to come to Kalinchwok to play with the snow. There are more than 100 hotels in the Kuri area that cater to tourists.-tha rising nepal