The kingdom of Chogyal has
the priviledge of the Kanchendzonga,28,169 ft,........ the guardian deity of
Sikkim, a mountainous region in the eastern Himalayas is perched between
Nepal in the west, Bhutan in the east, and Tibet( China) in the north.
Sikkim is 7300 square miles in area and contains Mount Khangchendzonga, the
third-highest peak in the world. Formerly a kingdom, since 1975 it has been
a tiny land-locked province to India.
Sikkim, with its rich bio diversity, has 150 lakes ranging in altitude from
200 meters to almost 8000 meters. Sikkim's terrains encompases every
elevational strata. Fast flowing rivers that originate in the mountains
criss cross the country, that is rich in flora and fauna with stunning
mountains and beautiful valleys.
Beautiful landscape with high altitudes, the yaks graze along with the snow
leopards, while the red panda, the abundant species of orchids and birds
create a visual delight. Abundant species of birds and butterflies is to be
found here, and it is said that sikkim contains more birds and variety of
orchids plants and flowers than anywhere else.
People and Lifestyle
Sikkim is made up of three major ethnic groups the Lepshas, Bhutias and
Nepalese. The first known settlers and the original inhabitant of the land,
the Bhutias who trace their ancestry to Tibet and the Nepalese are the
largest ethic group. Colourful Buddhist Monasteries are to be found all over
the state. Major feast includes the Chaams. Monks barber in all their
brocaded costumes and masks. Saga Dawa, is a very suspicious day for the
Mahayana Buddhists. Phang Labsol is a festival celebrated to offer thanks to
Mount Khanchendzonga, the guardian deity of Sikkim and to Yabdu, the supreme
Prominent Cities in Sikkim
Gangtok, is a picturesque mountain clinging town with monasteries, parks,
pagoda style houses and colorful bazaars. Its Buddhist past is the root of
its appeal for visitors, and remains evident at the impressive Institute of
Tibetology, the Enchey Monastery, Pemayengtse and the marvellous Rumtek
Monastery not far away, the last a thriving centre of Mahayana Buddhism.
Gyalshing is the district headquarter of West Sikkim. West Sikkim witnessed
the consecration in the wilderness of Chogyal of Dharma Raja, the birth of
the Chogyal Dynasty and the spread of Buddhism. A quiet village in West
Sikkim it houses the famous Pemayangtse Monastery and has now turned into a
bustling tourist destination.
The Queen of India's hill stations is of incomparable beauty. A Victorian
town of old world charm discovered by the British, is almost completely
surrounded by fragrant tea gardens, which seem to flow over the layered
slopes like emerald swells on a rough sea. These are in turn interspersed by
untamed jungle of Fern and Bamboo, groves of sweet smelling coniferous trees
and hamlets lost and which may be the finest sites this earth has to offer.
Places of Interest
A popular scenic place near Tiger Hill, this lake also provides drinking
water to the town of Darjeeling. Owing to its attractive location and
surrounding, it has now turned up as a popular tourist spot.
Bhutia Busty Gompa
Situated at the back drop of Kanchenjunga range, it is a branch of the
Nyingmapa sect’s Phodrang monastery in Sikkim. Decorated tastefully,
the monastery also has a library which have a copy of the Tibetan Book of
Adventure in Sikkim
Over Singali Ridge
The trip, over singali ridge offers a breathtaking mountain trek, through
the magical garden kingdom of Sikkim and Darjeeling travelling through
picturesque terraced fields of barley, fragrant tea gardens, fruit orchards,
forests of rhododendrons, magnolias and splendid displays of orchids.
Sikkim which is more like a voyage of adventure and discovery laced with
wisps of clouds, about the thrills of untamed waters, offers Rafting or
Kayaking experience in Teesta River.
Wildlife in Sikkim
Among the more exotic mammals is the Red Panda, which lives mostly on
treetops. It is found at altitudes ranging from 6,000 to 12,000 feet. The
snow leopard is an almost mythical animal. It has rarely been sighted. About
600 species of butterflies and 600 species of birds adorn the forest with
color and song. Among the more commonly found animals in the alpine zone are
yaks. The Kanchenjunga National Park, also has large cardamom, orange and
tea plantations. The rivers have trout, salmon and carp.
Monasteries in Sikkim
Sikkim's 194 monasteries or gompas belonging to the Nyingma and Kagyu order
have not only been influencing the cultural heritage and lifestyle of the
people but also demonstrate the ancient rituals in practise. Devoted Lamas
robed in red, chant ancient mantras to the rhythm of drums and trumpets
while soft lights flicker from decorative lamps placed before statues of the
great Guru Padmasambhava.
Pemayangtse 'TheLotus Sublime’
It is the second oldest and perhaps the most important monastery in Sikkim.
Pemayangtse belongs to the Nyingma order, and all other Nyingma monasteries
in Sikkim are subordinate to it. The 108 monks living here are from the
Bhutia families of Sikkim.
How to reach
By Air :Bagdogra. near Siliguri, 117 kms from Gangtok is
the nearest airport and is connected with regular flights from Kolkata
.Daily flights are available to Kolkata from New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and
all other major cities of India.
By Rail : Railway station is at New Jalpaiguri near
Siliguri Town, 117 kms from Gangtok.
Overnight trains are available from Kolkata which reaches New Jalpaiguri
Station in the morning.
By Road : Gangtok,connects Siliguri through National
Highway 31A. Siliguri, a major town on the northern fringe of West Bengal is
the main gateway of Sikkim