Sikkim is a very small hilly state in the Eastern Himalayas,
infixed between Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and the Indian state of West
State Capital :
Best Time to Travel :
March to June and September to December
Nepali, English, Hindi, Bhutia (Sikkimese), Bhutia (Tibetan),
Sikkim lies in the Eastern Himalayas. Being a region which had its
geophysical uniqueness owing to its location and climate conditions,
human inhabitation was sparse. It was only in 1641 that it was given a
political entity. The population inhabiting this area was of
Indo-Mongoloid, Tibetan or Nepalese origin. The population of the region
is rural and tribal. The influence of the Buddhism has created a unique
culture, different from other parts of the country. The tribals had
little contact with the other parts of the country. Agriculture through
jhum cultivation besides animal rearing formed their important
occupation. The Lepchas and the Bhutias who came from the regions of
Tibet settled in Sikkim.
The original people of Sikkim were the Lepchas, which means "ravine
folk." Lepchas came to the region from the Assam and Myanmar side.
During 1200's AD, the Bhutia, a Tibetan people, started moving into the
region. They included the Namgyal clan, who arrived in the 1400's and
steadily won political control over Sikkim. In 1642, Phuntsog Namgyal
(1604-1670) became the Chogyal (king). He presided over a social system
based on Tibetan Lamaistic Buddhism. His descendants of Phuntsog Namgyal
ruled Sikkim for more than 330 years.
During the 1700's, Sikkim suffered continuos attacks from Nepal and
Bhutan, after which it lost much of its territory. Nepalese also came to
Sikkim and settled there as farmers. By the 1800's, Sikkim's population
was culturally very complicated, and internal conflict resulted. In
1814-1815, Sikkim backed the British in a successful war against Nepal,
and won back some of its territory, once lost.
In 1835, the British East India Company acquired the health resort of
Darjeeling from Sikkim. During the mid-1800's, Sikkim violently
withstand attempts to bring it under British rule, but in 1861 it
finally became a British colony. The British had access through Sikkim
to Tibet, and Sikkim's independent status was recognised.
In 1890, Britain and China signed a convention recognising the border
between Sikkim and Tibet. Later, the British installed a political
office to help the Chogyal of Sikkim run the internal and external
functions of the kingdom.
It was in the year 1950, the Indian government took over the
responsibility for Sikkim's external affairs, defence, and
communication. The struggle that had brought Indian independence in year
1947 promoted a democratic boom in Sikkim. The Chogyals lost their power
as a result of the gradual introduction of a new democratic
constitution. In 1973, India took Sikkim into the union as an associate
member. In 1974, Sikkim became India's 22nd state.
The Physiology of Sikkim
Sikkim has a very rugged topography and flatlands are difficult to come
by. Being a part of the inner mountain ranges of the Himalayas, Sikkim
is hilly, having varied elevations ranging from 300 to 8,540 meters. But
the habitable areas are only up to the altitude of 2,100 metres and thus
constitute only 20% of the total area of the state.
HOW TO REACH
By Air :
The nearest airport is Bagdogra(North Bengal) which is 124 kms away and
about 4 hours drive from Gangtok. There are Indian Airlines and other
private Airline services operating from Bagdogra linking Kolkata,
Guwahati and New Delhi.
: 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
Local Transport : The modest way of commuting, on foot is the best in Gangtok. Though
un-metered taxis are there for local transport. Every taxi carries a
chart for all major points in the city. There are points within the city
where the taxis ply and from there to other places, fares are already
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