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Introduction:

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.

Sikkim is one of the most enthralling regions in Himalayas. This hidden valley of rice or "Bayul Demojong" as called by the local people and is a tiny State of the Union territory of India. It is inhabited by Nepalese, Lepchas, Bhutias, Tibetans and surrounded by the Tibetan Plateau in the North, Nepal in the West, Bhutan in the East and West Bengal along its Southern border.

The awe inspiring Kanchanjunga peaks guards its valley, turquoise lakes, steams and gorges. Its Capital is Gangtok with its mysterious mist, fluttering prayer flags painted pagoda roofed houses, rich culture heritage and its friendly smiling people. SIKKIM offers to her visitors a rare and singular experience of a life time. Since the major portion of SIKKIM has opened to both the domestic and foreign visitors in recent time, one can experience the most fascinating scenic beauty, breathtaking experience and chilling white river water for River Rafting bonanza.

Pepole :

Sikkim has population of about three laksh, made up of Lepchas, Nepalese and Bhutias. The Lepchas are the oldest inhabitants of Sikkim. There is an old Lepcha legend that long ago, the laughter of the Lepchas wafted into the sky and it scattered and froze into shimmering stars. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Tibetans arrived bringing with them the Red Hat Lamist tradition - Nying -ma-pa, which became the dominant culture and official state religion.

The festivals in Punjab have always been celebrated with much exuberance and fanfare. For the masses these festivals are popular occasions for social interaction and enjoyment. Punjab being a predominantly agricultural state that prides itself on its food grain production, it is little wonder that its most significant festival is Baisakhi, which marks the arrival of the harvesting season. For the Sikhs, Baisakhi has a special significance because on this day in 1699, their tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh organized the Order of the Khalsa. The various cities in the Indian state of Punjab are easily accessible through air, road and rail. touristplacesinindia can arrange for all local transport during your visit of any of the cities in Punjab.

In order to make the travel tour to Punjab even more joyful you need to choose just the right kind of accommodation for you and your family or friends in the various cities of Punjab. The various hotels packages in Punjab offer the best of facilities. You may take your pick from a range of luxury and budget hotels in Punjab besides the star categorized accommodation hotels around the landmarks of Punjab offer excellent view of the landmarks through their suites. Most of the places to stay in Punjab are strategically located in the business district or near the airport and the railway station of the cities.

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 snow .

History of Sikkim

in pre-historic times, Sikkim was inhabited by 3 tribes viz., Naong, Chang and the Mon. The Lepchas entered Sikkim later and absorbed them completely. They resorted to the practice of electing a leader whose advice & counsil was sought on crucial matters & followed.

The Tibetan migration in early 17th century led the Lepchas to shift their habitats so as to avoid conflict. Meanwhile they struggle among the followers of the "Yellow Hats" & the "Red Hats" in Tibet forced the latter to seek refuge in Sikkim, where they attained the status of aristocracy & gradually dominated the State. in order to avoid any possible opposition from the Lepchas these immigrants chose one venerable person Phuntsog Namgyal as the temporal & spiritual head of Sikkim. He relocated his capital to Yuksam & estlablished a centralised government.

Tensung Namgyal who succeeded his father in 1670 moved his capital to Rabdentse. During the reign of Tashi Namgyal who was throned in 1914, Sikkim underwent a number of reforms. Forced labour was abolished. Gambling was made illegal. Landlords' courts were abolished. Developmental plans were drawn up for which aid from India was secured. Executive & Judicial powers were decentralised. Tashi Namgyal died on 2nd December 1962, & was succeeded by his son Palden Thondup. He was married to a Tibetan lady Sangey Deki. She died in june 1957 & Palden Thondup got married to Hope Cooke, who gave birth to a daughter Hope Leezum & a son, but neither their marriage nor Kingdom survived a decade.

Growing agitation in 1973 against the monarchy led to the administration's collapsed & Indian troops stepped in which was followed by political arm wrestling for power. in 1975 Sikkim was merged to become India's 22nd State.

Sikkim People & Lifestyle

Communities, Cultures, Religions and Customs of different hues intermingle freely here in Sikkim to constitute a homogeneous blend. The predominant communities are the LEPCHAS, BHUTIAS and NEPALESE. in urban areas many plainsmen have also settled and they are almost engaged in business and Government service. Because of the development activities in the state, like the construction of roads, bridges and buildings a small part of the population consists of migrant labourers from the plains and Nepal.

THE LEPCHAS

The original inhabitants of Sikkim are said to be Lepchas. They existed much before the Bhutias and Nepalese migrated to the state. Before adopting Buddhism or Christianity as their religion, the earliest Lepcha settlers were believers in the bone faith or mune faith. This faith was basically based on spirits, good and bad. They worshipped spirits of mountains , rivers and forests which was but natural for a tribe that co-existed so harmoniously with the rich natural surroundings. The Lepcha (Zongu) folklore is rich with stories. The Lepcha population is concentrated in the central part of the Sikkim. This i s the area that encompasses the confluence of Lachen and Lachung rivers and Dickchu.

Life in a Lepcha dwelling is very simple. The male Lepcha wears a dress called a "pagi" made of cotton, which is stripped. The female Lepcha wear a two piece dress. The Lepchas speak the language lepcha, although this language is not very well developed but is rich in vocabulary related to the flora & fauna of Sikkim. Lepchas are very good at archery. The polyandry marriages are permitted amongst the Lepchas.

THE BHUTIAS

These are the people of Tibetan origin. They migrated to Sikkim perhaps somewhere after the fifteenth century through the state of Sikkim. in Northen Sikkim, where they are the major inhabitants, they are known as the Lachenpas and Lachungpas. The language spoken by the bhutias is sikkimese . Bhutia villages are as large as those compared to those of Lepchas . A Bhutia house called "Khin" is usually of rectangular shape .

The traditional dress of the male member is known as the "Bakhu" which is a loose cloak type garment with full sleeves. The ladies dress consists of a silken "Honju" which is a full sleeve blouse and a loose gown type garment. The ladies are very fond of heavy jewelry made of pure gold.

THE NEPALESE

The Nepalese appeared on the Sikkim scene much after the Lepchas & Bhutias. They migrated in large numbers and soon became the dominant community. The Nepalese now constitute more than 80 % of the total population. The Nepali settlers introduced the terraced system of cultivation. Cardamom was an important cash crop introduced by the Nepalis'. Except for the Sherpas & Tamangs who are Buddhists, the Nepalis' are orthodox Hindus with the usual cast system.

The Nepali language is spoken and understood all over the state. This language is similar to Hindi and uses the Devangri script . The traditional male nepali dress consists of long double breast garment flowing below the waist and a trouser known as "Daura Suruwal". The female dress consist of a double breasted garment with strings to tie on both the sides at four places, which is shorter than the Daura and is known as "Chow Bandi Choli". They also wear a shawl known as "Majetro". The "Khukri" which has become a synonym to the Nepali (Gurkha) culture, is a very sharp edged, angled, heavy weapon carried in a wooden or leather scabbard known as "Daab".

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