A sub-metropolitan city with seven municipalities in the Sunsari district, Itahari has recently evolved into a bustling transportation junction in the eastern side of Nepal. The two main branches of the Nepal highway circulation - Mahendra Highway running from east to west and Koshi Highway running from north to south cross with each other at Itahari. And, thus, it has become a traffic nerve centre of Nepalese transportation. If you really delve deep into Itahari, you will find it is more than just a city to pass-by and enjoy from the windows of your vehicle, or to stop merely to have meals. The small metro city has some things to offer as well.
In terms of years, the city of Itahari is not very old. It was established only in 1997 and was declared a metro city in 2014 along with some other adjoining cities. So, it neither has the vast historical appeal of antiquity, nor the charm of distinctive culture like many other cities of Nepal do, especially the capital.
Budhikhola Ghat is a calm and quiet place, only a few minutes' walk from the centre of the Itahari. The Ghat or the water bank is right where the Budhikhola Bridge connects Sunsari and Morang on two sides of the narrow muddy stream. There is not much water in the stream unless you go during monsoon. However, the serenity of the ghat will make up for it. The ghat is cemented with staircases and benches to sit and enjoy the evening. The place is beautifully decorated with flower pots and small bushes alongside the walkway.
There is a giant statue of Lord Shiva as well, along with some other idols accompanying his calm and composed posture.
Another pretty water body is the Mechi-kali pond, but this one is located right inside the compound of Itahari sub-metropolitan office. However, visitors are allowed inside, and although there is not much to see, you can kill some time leaning against the safety railings, enjoy the breeze, chat with your companions and watch fish play down in the water.
If you want some pictures in the light of the setting sun, the open ambience of this pond might be a good place.
Only a quarter of an hour's drive away is one of Itahari city's major attraction sites Taal Talaiya. It basically means wetland in the local dialect, but it is a charming ecological park, with lots of lush greenery and crisscrossing roadways in between for you to walk along.
The main reason to visit this site is the new art installations that will stir up the creative person hidden inside you. In 2016, this place held an international sculpture art workshop, and artists from all around the world participated here to leave behind some of their brilliant masterpieces. There are around 55 such contemporary sculpture art scattered all over the place. One particularly haunting sculpture called the 'Stone of Heart' by an Israeli artist will win your heart, or rather break it.
No trip is complete without a little bit of shopping. And there is no reason to assume that Itahari will deny you that opportunity. Gorkha Gali is a must-visit destination of Itahari, whether or not you love to shop. From big shopping stores to shacks selling trinkets and souvenirs, from family restaurants to snack bars to roadside panipuri, Gorkha Gali has it all. All you need to do is gear up and go exploring and window shopping.
Gorkha Kitchen is a flagship restaurant of this marketplace, from where you can get a glimpse of the city. Itahari has no tall watchtower from where you can get this experience. So, this restaurant does that for you, as you can witness the sun setting against the moderately high buildings and trails of traffic coming into or leaving the city, all the while enjoying your meal.
Nepal is many, many kilometres away from the sea. But why shouldn't the people of Itahari get to enjoy some of it? Ocean Park is a lovely and cheerful attraction site for those who love the water, real or artificial. The place has an international-sized swimming pool for experts and veterans. There are also several other smaller pools, aided with fun and exciting features like a waterfall, fountains, water slides and so on. Ocean Park plays Hindi and English and occasionally Nepalese music to keep the ambience spirited. It is a great place to let off some steam with your band of friends, and enjoy a day out without driving around in the sun.
The city of Itahari in itself is good enough to take a walk around and explore. It never hurts to find out sites, shops and restaurants unheard of before in a new city.