ABOUT SIKKIM

Situated in the Eastern Himalayas, this beautiful state of Sikkim is sandwiched between the kingdom of Nepal in the West and Bhutan in the East, Tibet in the North and the state of West Bengal in the South. With an area of 7,300 sq. kms, measuring 115 kms from north to south and 65 kms. From East to West, the elevation ranging from 244 mts to over 8550 mts., above sea level, approximately latitude of 27 degree North and longitude of 88 degree East.

This small state belies its richness of culture, customs, heritage, flora and fauna. Sikkim, once a protectorate of India with a monarchy government but metamorphosed as the 22nd state of the Indian Union in the year 1975. The population of the state is only 4,20,000 as per the last census. Amidst the grandeur of the mountain peaks, lush green valleys cascading waterfalls and fast flowing rivers, beautiful monasteries and terraced hills, Sikkim offers her visitor a rare and exotic experience.

The Sikkim Coronation book describes Guru Tashi as the 'first ruler of Sikkim who paved way for a regular monarchy'.

Five generations later, it was PhuntsokNamgyal who was consecrated as the first DenjongGyalpo or the king of Sikkim by the three great Lamas who came from the North, West and South to YuksomNorbugang in West Sikkim in 1642 A.D. The event, predicted as it was by Guru Rinpoche, was the 'NaljorChezhi' or the meeting of the four yogic brothers or the four saints or four sages. It was preordained that three saints of great repute from different parts of Tibet make their way to BayulDemajong (Sikkim) to discharge their responsibility of upholding and propogating the essence of Dharma in the hidden land of Demajong. Thus it was that LhatsunNamkhaJigme, KathogKuntuZangpo and GnadakSempaPhuntsokRigzin made their way to Sikkim separately, and through impenetrable routes.

This historical congregation of the three holy Lamas is called Yuksom, which in Lepcha means the 'Three Superior Ones'.

LhatsunChenpo impressed on the other two that they were all Lamas and needed a layman to rule the kingdom righteously. He further pointed out that, 'In the prophecy of Guru Rinpoche, it is written that four noble brothers shall meet in Demajong and arrange for its government. We were three of those who came from the North, West and South'. As for the East, he quoted the oracular guide book RinchenLingpa which mentioned, 'One of my four avatars will be like a lion, the king among beasts, who will protect the kingdom by his bravery and powers'. The book also mentioned that, 'One named Phuntsok from the direction of Gang will appear'. So LhatsunChenpo deputed a hermit called TogdenKalzangThondup and a layman called Passang to lead a party to Gangtok in invite the person bearing the name of Phuntsog to come to YuksomNorbugang. After several adventures, the party came to Gangtok where they met Phuntsog milking his cows. Phuntsog invited them in and bade them partake of fresh cow's milk and told them his name wasPhuntsog. He saw the invitation of the three Lamas as a most fortuitous event and lost no time in setting out for YuksomNorbugang with his entire retinue of followers, officers and household establishment.

The coronation took place in the Chu-ta or water horse year in 1642A.D. Thus PhuntsogNamgyal was installed on the throne of Sikkim with the title of 'Chogyal' or king who rules with righteousness, with both spiritual and temporal powers. While the three Lamas spread Buddhism in Sikkim, PhuntsogNamgyal started consolidating his kingdom Twelve generations of Chogyals ruled over Sikkim for over 300 years. This tiny Himalayan kingdom however witnessed tumultuous change in 1972-73. In 1975 the institution of the Chogyal was abolished and on May 16th, 1975 Sikkim was formally inducted as the 22nd state of India.

Sikkim Tourist Place



  • GENERAL INFORMATION
  • HISTORY OF SIKKIM
  • CLIMATE
  • TRANSPORT
  • CULTURE OF SIKKIM
  • FESTIVALS

Situated in the Eastern Himalayas, this beautiful state of Sikkim is sandwiched between the kingdom of Nepal in the West and Bhutan in the East, Tibet in the North and the state of West Bengal in the South. With an area of 7,300 sq. kms, measuring 115 kms from north to south and 65 kms. From East to West, the elevation ranging from 244 mts to over 8550 mts., above sea level, approximately latitude of 27 degree North and longitude of 88 degree East.
This small state belies its richness of culture, customs, heritage, flora and fauna. Sikkim, once a protectorate of India with a monarchy government but metamorphosed as the 22nd state of the Indian Union in the year 1975. The population of the state is only 4,20,000 as per the last census. Amidst the grandeur of the mountain peaks, lush green valleys cascading waterfalls and fast flowing rivers, beautiful monasteries and terraced hills, Sikkim offers her visitor a rare and exotic experience

Rabdantse The Ancient Capital of Sikkim. The original inhabitants were the Lepchas or the “raven folks ” who came to the area from Assam and Burma. From the 1200’s the Bhutias or the Tibetan people moved into Sikkim. They included the Namgyal clan who arrived in the 1400’s and gradually won political control over Sikkim.
In 1642,PhuntsokNamgyal (1604-1670) became the first Chogyal (King). He presided over a social system based on Tibetan Lamaistic Buddhism. His descendants ruled Sikkim for more than 330 years. During the 1700’s Sikkim suffered massive invasion from Nepal and Bhutan and lost much territory as a result. The Nepalese also migrated to Sikkim and settled as farmers. By the 1800’s Sikkim’s population was very mixed, and internal conflict resulted.Sikkim assisted the British in a successful war against Nepal in the year1814-1815 and won back some of its land. The British India Company purchased the health resort of Darjeeling from Sikkim. During the mid 1800 ’s, Sikkim violently resisted attempts to bring it under British Rule, but in 1861 it finally became a protectorate. The British had assess to Tibet through Sikkim, and Sikkim’s independent status was recognized. The Indian government took responsibility of Sikkim’s external affairs, defense and communication of Skim in the year 1950. In 1973, India took Sikkim into the union as an associate member. In 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of India

The climate ranges from sub-tropical in the south to tundra in the northern parts. Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim, however, enjoy a temperate climate, with the temperatures seldom exceeding 28 °C (82 °F) in summer or dropping below 0 °C (32 °F) in winter. The state enjoys five seasons: winter, summer, spring, and autumn, and a monsoon season between June and September. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 °C (64 °F). Sikkim is one of the few states in India to receive regular snowfall. The snow line is around 6 000 metres (19,600 feet).

During the monsoon months, the state is lashed by heavy rains that increase the number of landslides. The state record for the longest period of non-stop rain is eleven days. In the northern region, because of high altitude, temperatures drop below -40 °C in winter. Fog also affects many parts of the state during winter and the monsoons, making transportation extremely perilous. Sikkim does not have any airports or railheads because of its rough terrain. The closest airport, Bagdogra Airport, is near the town of Siliguri, West Bengal. The airport is about 124 km away from Gangtok. A regular helicopter service run by the Sikkim Helicopter Service connects Gangtok to Bagdogra; the flight is thirty minutes long, operates only once a day, and can carry 4 people.[17] The Gangtok helipad is the only civilian helipad in the state. The closest railway station is New Jalpaiguri which is situated sixteen kilometres from Siliguri.
National Highway 31A links Siliguri to Gangtok. The highway is an all-weather metalled road which mostly runs parallel to the river Teesta, entering Sikkim at Rangpo. Numerous public and privately run bus and jeep services connect the airport, railway station, and Siliguri to Gangtok. A branch of the highway from Melli connects western Sikkim. Towns in southern and western Sikkim are connected to the northern West Bengal hill stations of Kalimpong and Darjeeling. Within the state, four wheel drives are the most popular means of transport, as they can navigate rocky slopes. Minibuses link the smaller towns to the state and district headquarters

Sikkim residents celebrate all major Indian festivals such as Diwali and Dussera, the popular Hindu festivals. Losar, Loosong, Saga Dawa, LhababDuechen, DrupkaTeshi and Bhumchu are Buddhist festivals that are also celebrated. During the Losar - the Tibetan New Year - most government offices and tourist centres are closed for a week. Christmas has also recently been promoted in Gangtok to attract tourists during the off-season.
It is common to hear Western rock music being played in homes and in restaurants even in the countryside. Hindi songs have gained wide acceptance among the masses. Indigenous Nepali rock, music suffused with a Western rock beat and Nepali lyrics, is also particularly popular. Football and cricket are the two most popular sports.
Noodle-based dishes such as the thukpa, chowmein, thanthuk, fakthu, gyathuk and wonton are common in Sikkim. Momos, steamed dumplings filled with vegetable, buff (buffalo's meat) or pork and served with a soup are a popular snack. The mountain peoples have a diet rich in beef, pork and other meats. Alcohol is cheap owing to the low excise duty in Sikkim and beer, whiskey, rum and brandy are consumed by many Sikkimese.
Almost all dwellings in Sikkim are rustic, consisting of a bamboo frame, woven with pliable bamboo and coated with cow dung, providing a warm interior. In the higher elevations, houses are made of wood.

Religious festivals are perfect occasions to glimpse Bhutanese culture.
Celebrated throughout the country, most popular of these festivals or Tshechus take place annually in or around the great Dzongs, attracting both tourists and large numbers locals from the surrounding villages.
They last several days and the main focuses are the series of prayers and religion inspired dances. These dances are made especially striking by the spectacular costumes, ornate head gears, extraordinary masks, depicting morality tales, invoke protection from demonic spirits or proclaim Buddhist victories and the glory of remarkable saints. There are clowns sporting fiendish masks, making lewd gestures and cracking salacious jokes - who mingle on the periphery of the performance, mocking both spiritual and temporal subjects, and through their distractions infuse a lighter side to otherwise serious matters.
The whole gathering begins to resemble a country fair, as the jolly and convivial assembly - many turning out in their vibrant finery - further entertains itself in lively conversation, the playing of an assortment of games and the imbibing of copious amounts of food and alcohol.
Tshechus end with the bestowing of powerful blessings, delivered orally by a high lama or visually with the unfurling of a huge appliqué thangka representing Guru Rinpoche and his Eight Manifestations.
The commanding backdrop of a monastic fortress, the visual extravagance of the dances, the cacophony of musical accompaniments, the solemnity of chanting mantras, the artistic splendor, the unfamiliar smells and the overall exuberance of the diverse crowd lend the scene an extremely exotic air.


3rd and 4th June 2017 : 9TH AND 10TH DAY OF THE 4TH MONTH OF THE Tibetan Lunar calendar : Maha Kala Chaam at Rumtek

Sikkim Places of Interest

Gangtok

Believe it or not, but resisting the alluring charm and appeal of Gangtok is almost impossible for anyone! The capital city of Sikkim, Gangotk is nestled in the Eastern Himalayas and is one of the kaleidoscopic tourist destinations in the state. Whether you are looking for serene beauty, lush forests, gurgling rivers or mental peace, Gangtok travel packages will cuddle up your Sikkim holidays. For the nature lovers, a holiday in this scenic city is enough to fulfil all their wishes. On the other hand, for the adventure lovers, they can enjoy cable car rides, river rafting, go for mountain biking and several other activities in Gangtok.

Tsomgo Lake

On a visit to Gangtok, do not miss the chance to visit the Tsomgo Lake or the Changu Lake! Located only 38km from Sikkim’s capital, it lies at an altitude of 12,400ft and is one of the highest lakes in India. While the lake remains frozen during the winters, summer brings in a magical charm and appeal to Tsomgo. It is during this time of the year, the turquoise waters of the lake reflects the amazing views of the nearby peaks and the azure sky above!

Yuksom

Located in the Western parts of Sikkim, Yuksom is the origin of several enthralling treks into the Himalayas or the magical Kanchenjunga. The once a capital of Sikkim, this hamlet is more known for its pristine beauty and rustic appeal. Also known as the ‘Meeting place of Three Lamas’, this Sikkimese village has recently started gaining tourism attention. Well, this is also the reason, you can expect pristine beauty and untouched nature in Yuksom. Home to the oldest monastery in Sikkim, this pictorial hamlet is one amongst the most peaceful and serene places to visit in Sikkim.

Pelling

If you are an ardent fan of the captivating Himalayan Range, Pelling is the destination for you! It is from this Sikkimese town, one can have the best views of the Himalayas and the Kanchenjunga Peak, and can experience the best of their Sikkim holidays. Located at a height of 7,200ft above the sea, this scenic town is bestowed with several waterfalls, breath-taking views, natural beauty and adventure options like rafting, kayaking, trekking, mountain biking and several others.

Lachung

Lachung has multiple reasons to make you fall in love with it! While its location at an enthralling height of 8,610ft makes it a popular snow-destination in Sikkim, its untouched and surreal beauty makes it one of the scenic as well as charming tourist places in Sikkim. Located in the northern part of Sikkim, this quaint mountain village is adorned by the immaculate beauty of the Lachung Chu River and is also known for the Lachung Gompa. Though this village is one of the mostly visited regions in Sikkim, it still holds an alluring charm that can hardly be found in any other destinations.

Ravangla

Nestled amidst the Maenam and Tendong Hills, Ravangla is among the best places to visit in Sikkim; especially in the southern part of the state. A scenic town between Gangtok and Pelling, this hill-town also hosts some of the most popular treks in Sikkim. More popular as a paradise for the bird watchers, it is home to some of the most rare and endangered birds in the world. On a usual visit to Ravangla, you can spot dark-throated thrush, verditre flycatchers, blue whistling thrush, babblers, cuckoos and several others.

Rumtek Monastery

Counted amongst the largest monasteries in Sikkim, Rumtek Monastery is also one of the oldest monasteries in the state. An ode to the Buddhist cultures and traditions, this monastery is located near Gangtok and is also known as the ‘Dharma Chakra Centre’. A testimony to the Buddhist architecture and teachings, it is a perfect place to attain mental peace and know more about Buddhism. Its spiritual appeal and grandeur makes it an integral part of any Gangtok travel packages!

Namchi

Translated into the native Tibetan language, Namchi means the ‘top of the sky’. And on a visit to this magnificent Sikkimese city, this will be proved! Located around 92km from Gangtok and at a height of 1,675m above the sea level, it is also one of the most gorgeous cities in the state. More than tourism, Namchi is more considered as a pilgrimage centre for the Buddhists. Amongst the important religious sites, the Namchi Monastery, Tendong Hill and Ralong Monasteries are the pre-dominant. The city also has a 108ft Lord Shiva statue and is visited a large number of Hindu devotees as well.

Zuluk

Touching a towering height of 10,000ft, Zuluk is one of the least discovered destinations in the entire of Sikkim. Located on the ancient ‘Silk Route’, this quaint Sikkimese village takes the pride of being a vintage point to enjoy panoramic views of the Mt Kanchenjunga. In addition to the magical beauty of this hamlet, it is also popular among the adventure lovers as the ride to Zuluk takes them through 32 hair-pin bends.

Yumthang Valley

A visit to Yumthang Valleys it truly a colourful affair! Located at an elevation of 3,500m, this scenic valley is the home to several exotic, rare and wild flowers. It is often said, one who visits this quintessential valley, often gets pleasantly affected by its treacherous colours and alluring beauty! Come the monsoons, the entire valley blooms at its best and displays the most enchanting colours of the nature. Primrose, cobra-lilies, louseworts and cinquefoils are some of the most commonly found species in Yumthang.

Versey

Near Hilley, in West Sikkim is the Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. Sandwiched between the Singalila National Park in the south and Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in the north, this small 104-sq-km sanctuary is at an altitude of 10,000 ft and supports a wide variety of bio-diversity. But the main attractions of the sanctuary are the rhododendrons which bloom in April-May coloring the Sanctuary in wild abandon.
Hilley is the last motorable point before Varsey. A four-km walk through beautiful pine forests takes you to the Sanctuary. You can stay at the Gurash Kunj Lodge here.