Taplejung District is one of 77 districts of Nepal and one of the 14 districts of Province No. 1. It is remotely located in the Himalayas in Eastern Nepal with Tibet to the north across the Himalayas.

The district covers an area of 3,646 square kilometres (1,408 sq mi) and has a total population (2011 Nepal census) of 127,461. The district is surrounded by Tibet (China) in the north, Sankhuwasabha District in the west, Tehrathum District and Panchthar District in the south and Sikkim (India) in the east. Geographically, the district is located at a latitude of 27º 06’ to 27º 55’N and longitude of 87º57’ to 87º40’ E.

Literally meaning of Taplejung is “a fort of King Taple” in Limbu language. There was a fort situated at that area in medieval times which was built by King Taple.

Before the unification of Nepal, the area of Taplejung and surround were used to call (Pallo Kirat) Limbuwan which means “Far region” used to be ruled by Limbu kings of Limbuwan before unification. After the unification of Nepal, the area of Taplejung became a part of the large Dhankuta District. In 1962 when the traditional old 32 districts divided into 75, then three thums (counties) of large Dhankuta district separately established a new district named “Taplejung”.

Geographically Taplejung is a mountainous district located near to the world’s third-highest peak Kanchenjunga (8586 m). It is situated at an elevation ranging from 670 metres (2,200 ft) to 8,586 metres (28,169 ft) from sea level. Tamur River is a main river in the district, which flows through the middle in the district dividing district in east and west Taplejung.

Gunsa river, Simbuwa river and there are many tributaries of tamor are an important source of freshwater. There are over than 60 rivers and streams in the district. Some glacial lakes are Sinjenma Pokhari, Samdo Pokhari, Tin Pokhari, Kali Pokhari etc. The district includes many highest peaks eg. Gimmigela (7350 m), talung (7349 m), Kabru (7276 m), Nepal peak (7177 m), Kumbhkarna (7025 m) etc. Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is a protected area in the district which covers an area of 2,035 square kilometres (786 sq mi).

Climate Zone Elevation Range % of Area
Upper Tropical 300 to 1,000 meters
1,000 to 3,300 ft.
subtropical 1,000 to 2,000 meters
3,300 to 6,600 ft.
Temperate 2,000 to 3,000 meters
6,400 to 9,800 ft.
Subalpine 3,000 to 4,000 meters
9,800 to 13,100 ft.
Alpine 4,000 to 5,000 meters
13,100 to 16,400 ft.
Nival above 5,000 meters  7.7%

Phungling: The Headquarters of this district

Phungling Municipality is a municipality and the headquarters of Taplejung District in the Mechi Zone of Nepal. The municipality was formed merging the two Village Development Committees of Phungling and Dokhu in May 2014. At the time of the 2011 Nepal census, it had a population of 19,085 people (Phungling 14,974 and Dokhu 4,111) living in 4,480 individual households.

It is located at 27°21’0N 87°40’0E with an altitude of 1441 metres (4730 feet). The name Taplejung is derived from the words Taple and Jung. Taple was the medieval Limbu king who used to rule the area and “Jung” in Limbu language means fort. Literally, Taplejung means Fort of King Taple.

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By Satyal

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