Small but beautiful. Sikkim is situated in the
eastern Himalayas . Spread below the Mount Khanchendzonga (8534
mts), the third highest mountain in the world, and revered by the
Sikkimese as their protective deity. With an area of 7,300 sq kms
and measuring approx. 114 kms from the north to south and 64 kms
from east to west, the elevation ranges from 300 mts to over 8540
mts above sea level. Amidst the grandeur of the mountain peaks,
lush valleys, fast flowing rivers, hills, Sikkim offers her visitors
a rare and singular experience. Within a matter of hours one can
move from the sub tropical heat of the lower valleys to the cold
of the rugged mountain slopes that reach up to the area of perpetual
Sikkim is the 22nd state of India came into existence with effect
from 26th April, 1975. Sikkim has been divided into four districts
and each district has further been bifurcated into two sub-divisions
for administrative purpose. Sikkim state being a part of inner mountain
ranges of Himalayas, is hilly having varied elevation ranging from
300 to 8540 meters. But the habitable areas are only up to the altitude
of 2100 mtrs. Constituting only 20% of the total area of the state.
The highest portion of sikkim lies in its north west direction.
Established in 1642,Sikkim was ruled by Phuntsog Namgyal who was
recognized by Dalai Lama as the first chogyal (temporal and spiritual
king). The Namgyal dynasty ruled Sikkim till 1975. In the mid-18th
century,there were a series of territorial wars with Bhutan,as its
king opposed the accession of a minor king in Sikkim. Nepal too,wanted
to occupy parts of western Sikkim and part of the Terai region.
There was also the largest migration of Nepalese to Sikkim during
this period. In the early 19th century British wanted to gain an
access to Tibet. Sikkim supported them and in return regained the
Nepalese-occupied territories. By 1817,Sikkim became a de facto
protectorate of Britain. In the year 1835 the British East India
Company obtained Darjeeling from Sikkim . Incidents between the
British and Sikkimese led to the final annexation in 1849 of the
Terai region. Subsequently the military defeat of Sikkim resulted
in the Anglo-Sikkimese Treaty of 1861,which established Sikkim as
a princely state under British paramountcy. The British were given
rights of free trade and to build roads through Sikkim to Tibet.
After India's independence,in the year 1950 a treaty was signed
between Sikkim and India making Sikkim an Indian protectorate,with
the centre assuming responsibility for Sikkim's external relations,defence,and
strategic communications. However after a few years in a special
referendum,more than 97 % of the electorate voted for the merger
of Sikkim with India and Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian
Union on May 15,1975.
Place to See
Do-drul Chorten (Stupa)
The Do-drul Chorten or Stupa was built by the venerable Trulshi
Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, in 1945.
Inside this Stupa, there are complete mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba
(Bajra Kilaya), a set of kan-gyur relics (Holy Books), complete.
'Zung' (mantras) and other religious objects. Around this Chorten,
which is one of the most important stupas in Sikkim, are 108 Mani
Lhakor (Prayer wheels). These prayer wheels are turned by the devout
Buddhist while chanting "Hail to the jewel in the Lotus",
to invoke the Boddhisattva. The Chorten is surrounded by Chorten
Lakhang and Guru Lhakhang, where there are two huge statues of Guru.
About 14 kms from Gangtok is the Saramsa Garden, the home of Sikkim's
many exotic orchids and other rare tropical and temperate plants.
Established and maintained by the Department of Forest, it is an
excellent recreation and picnic spot and a leisure spot.
Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre
About 45 minutes drive from Gangtok, 24 kms away, is the Rumtek
Dharma Chakra Centre, the seat of the Kagyu order, one of the 4
major Tibetan Buddhist sects. since the late 1960s, after the arrival
of His' Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, the Centre houses some
of the world's most unique religious scriptures and religious art
objects. Traditional in design, it is almost a replica of the original
Kagyu headquarters in Tibet.
PAL ZURMANG KAGYUD MONASTERY
About 40 mins drive from Gangtok is located the above monastry.
This is another Kagyud linage monastry of 12th Zurmang Gharwang
JAWAHARLAL NEHRU BOTANICAL GARDEN
24 kms away from Gangtok is the JN Botanical Garden Rumtek situated
at an altitude ranging between 1800 mtrs. to 2200 mtrs. established
in the year 1987. It comprises of virgin temperate forest of Oaks
and as many as 50 different kinds of trees species.
Water Garden at Martam Khola is on 31-A National Highway some 16
kms South of Gangtok. It is an ideal spot for picnic with a small
swimming pool for children.
It is literally known as the "Source Of The Lake" in Bhutia
language. Just about 40 kms away from Gangtok, the capital of the
State, this serene lake is situated at an altitude of 3780 metre.
The lake is about1 km long, oval in shape, 15 metres deep and is
considered scared by the local people. This placid lake remains
frozen during the winter months upto mid-May. Between May and August
it is possible to see a variety of flowers in blooms, including
the rhododendrons, various species of primulas, blue and yellow
poppies, irises etc. It is also an ideal habitat for the Red Panda
and various species of birds.
Fairs & Festivals
This Bhutia festival marks the end of the harvest season and also
the end of the Tibetan Year. Chaams (religious dances) symbolising
the victory of good over evil are performed at the Tsug Lakhang,
Phodong and Rumtek monasteries.. Archery competitions are held amidst
much feasting and merrymaking.
More or less occurring a few weeks before Losoong, Dasain is the
main festival of the Hindu Nepalese in Sikkim. This too signifies
the victory of good over evil. The elders of the family apply 'tika'on
the young and bless them.
Corresponding to the Indian festival of
Diwali, Tihaar is also celebrated as the Festival of Lights in Sikkim
with the lighting of lamps accompanied with traditional carolling
called Deusi and Bhailo.
How to Reach
: The closest Indian Airport isat a distance
of 124 kms from Gangtok at Bagdogra in Siliguri in West Bengal.
: The closest Railhead is at New Jalpaiguri
in West Bengal, 148 km and Siliguri which are connected to Calcutta
, New Delhi Guwahati and other major Indian cities.
:Gangtok is well connected by road to Siliguri,
114 kms., which functions as the major transit point for the North
and North Eastern sections of the Indian Sub-continent. Gangtok
is further well connected by road with Darjeeling, Kalimpong and
with Bhutan, Phuntsholing.