The Home of Glaciers – Sikkim
The state of Sikkim offers some of the best Tourist Places to visit in India. The beautiful state of Sikkim, famous for its flora which is in full bloom during March-May offers around 600 species of orchids, 240 species of trees, 150 varieties of gladioli, 46 types of rhododendrons along with a variety of magnolias and many other foliage plants. Sikkim has various Buddhist Monasteries that are worth visiting while traveling to Sikkim. Today, travelers embarking on a journey of Sikkim discover a mystical wonderland of spectacular natural beauty. The panoramic perfection of the snow-capped Himalayas, the heady scent of flower-bedecked meadows, the vibrant culture and joyous festivals, the infinite variety of its flora and fauna makes it a holiday that is at once fascinating and challenging. The crowning glory of Sikkim is Mt. Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world. With magnificent snow and ice scenery it is often regarded as the undisputed monarch among the peaks of the world. But for the Sikkimese Khangchendzonga is much more than a mountain and is revered as the abode of their guardian deity Dzo-nga. Even today the mountain god is invoked and prayed to during Pang Lhabsol, a major Sikkimese festival, which also commemorates the blood brotherhood sworn between the Lepchas and the Bhutias at Kabi in the fifteenth century. The sacred mountain can be viewed from every corner of Sikkim and remains an intrinsic part of the consciousness of the people. Sikkim shares its border with Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east, with the Tibetan plateau rising from its northern border. It was once a Himalayan monarchy and part of the fabled Silk Route to China. Its merger with India in 1975 has offered a window to the world to discover the treasures of this hidden land.
Sikkim Tourist Attraction
The tourists thronging the culturally and biologically rich state of Sikkim can include the following famous destinations in their tour itinerary.
Location & Topography : Located in the eastern Himalayas, Sikkim is bounded by Tibet (China) in the north, West Bengal in the south, Tibet and Bhutan in the east and Nepal in the west. The state is spread below Mount Kanchendzonga (8534 m), the third highest peak in the world. The locals worship the mountain as a protective deity. The elevation of the state ranges from 300 m to over 8540 m above sea level.34% of Sikkim Geographical are is under protected areas. Climate Due to the extreme altitude, there is an immense variation in climate and vegetation. With a rainfall of about 140 inches in Gangtok, the climate is tropical up to 5,000 ft, temperate between 5,000 ft-13,000 ft, alpine at 13,000 ft, and snowbound at 16,000 ft. The best time to visit Sikkim is between mid-March and June but especially, April and May, when the rhododendrons and orchids bloom. However, temperatures can be high, especially in the valleys. During the monsoons, from the end of June until early September, rivers and roads become impenetrable, though plants nurtured by the incessant rain erupt again into bloom towards the end of August. October, when incessant rain erupt again into bloom towards the end of August. October, when orchids bloom once again, and November tend to have the clearest weather of all. As December approaches, it gets bitterly cold at high altitudes, and remains that way until early March, despite long periods of clear weather.
Ethnicity Sikkim is the least populated state in the country. There are three principal communities of Nepalis (75%), Lepchas (20%), and smaller proportions of Bhutias and Limbus. Lepchas or the Rong appear to be the original inhabitants of Sikkim as no legends of their migration are available. In the 13th century, the Bhutias from Kham area of Tibet came to the state. They believed in Buddhism of the Mahayana sect. The Nepalis were the last to enter in the mid-19th century. All communities live in perfect harmony sharing each other’s culture, ethos, and traditions with the result that there is now a Sikkimese culture, which is composite of all the three prominent communities. Most of the people speak Nepali, which is also the state language. It is the harmony of the place that provides justification to the name of the state derived form Sukhim, meaning “happy home, a place of peace.” Though Hinduism is equally followed, Buddhism is entrenched in the tradition of the state. The people have faith in the Buddha, the dharma (his teachings), and the sangha (assembly of monks) where religious texts are studied, taught and preserved. Soaked in the religious tradition, the land has a spiritual ambience where prayer flags with inscriptions of Buddhist texts flutter around the boundary of the village to ward off evil spirits, prayer wheels rotate to the currents of water, and chortens and lucky signs are common sights. The protector deity is the goddess of Kanchenjunga that stands erect as a sentinel protecting the peace of the state. The deference is so deep and abiding that adventurers are not permitted to scale the top of the peak. Their achievement is acknowledged by reaching somewhere close to the top. Since the hills cannot be animated, anthropomorphism enables these to be depicted in masks.