Sikkim

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Sikkim
དེན་ཇོནྒ
State

Flag

Seal
A map showing us where the location of Sikkim
Map of Sikkim
Coordinates: 20°N 77°E / 20°N 77°E / 20; 77Coordinates: 20°N 77°E / 20°N 77°E / 20; 77
Country  India
Region North-east India
Established 16 May 1975
Government
 • Legislature Unicameral (seats)
Area
 • Total 7,110 km2 (2,750 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 610,577
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Official languages Nepali (lingua franca)
English
Bhutia and Lepcha (since 1977)
Limbu (since 1981)
Newari, Gurung, Magar, Sherpa, and Tamang (since 1995)
Sunwar (since 1996)

^* 

Sikkim (Nepali: सिक्किम, Sikkim:དེན་ཇོནྒ) is a state in India. It is next to Bhutan to the east, Nepal to the west, Tibet to the north and the Indian state of West Bengal to its south. It has the smallest number of people and second smallest land size (7,110 square kilometres or 2,750 square miles) of any state in India. The third highest mountain in the world, Mt. Kanchendzonga (8,597 metres or 28,205 feet above sea level) is in Sikkim. The capital is Gangtok and other big towns are Gayzing, Pelling, Yuksam and Jorethang. The languages spoken are English, Sikkimese, Lepcha, Tibetan, Nepali and Hindi. Tourism makes a lot of the money in this small state of India, because it is not close to the sea.

Sikkim has been cut off from the outside world for a long time. It was settled by Tibetans in the 16th century and became a British protectorate in 1890. Sikkim became part of India in 1949 and became a state in 1975.

Sikkim's people have mainly Nepalese ancestry; there are also Bhutia's (Tibetan and Bhutnese in origin) and aboriginal Lepchas, who are mainly pastoral nomads. The Nepalese practice Hinduism, but the former chogyal (“king under the religious laws”) and the official class are Buddhist, and Sikkim is known for its Buddhist monasteries. Tibeto-Burmese languages and dialects are commonly spoken.

History[change | change source]

At the time of Indian independence, the privileges that were enjoyed by the British Government in Sikkim passed over to the new independent regime of India. The then ruler, Tashi Namgyal, was successful in getting a special protectorate status for Sikkim in the face of stiff resistance from local parties of Sikkim who were pro-democracy and wanted accession of Sikkim to India. Sikkim along with Bhutan was to be a tributary of India, in which India controlled its external defence, diplomacy and communication. A state council was established in 1955 to allow for constitutional government for the Chogyal, which was sustained until 1973. During the Sino-Indian War of 1962, although Sikkim was an independent country, skirmishes occurred at the Nathula Pass between Indian border guards and the Chinese soldiers. In 1963, Tashi Namgyal died of cancer and his son Palden Thondup Namgyal ascended the throne. In 1964, Nehru passed away and his daughter, Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1966. She saw the reigning Chogyal as a threat to India, especially after his American wife, Hope Cooke, published a journal article advocating a return of certain former Sikkimese properties. By 1973, internal tremors in the political setup of Sikkim led to a complete collapse of its administration. By 1974, Sikkim was transformed from a protectorate state to an associate state with Kazi Lendup Dorji as its first Chief Minister. The Sikkimese youth by this time saw Chogyal monarch as a symbol of tyranny. Indian reserve police were moved in and took control of the streets of Gangtok, after the Indian Army placed the palace of the Chogyal under siege and the borders were closed. The incumbent Chogyal tried in vain to abdicate power to the elected representatives on the condition that Sikkim should not be merged with India. When he failed, he fled to the US. On April 14, 1975, a referendum was held, in which Sikkim voted to merge with the Union of India.

Many political scientists call Sikkim’s assimilation into India a curious blend of politics and strategy, that laid the foundation for turning Sikkim into one of the most peaceful states of the country. International reaction from Nepal which has compelled China to label Sikkim as a disputed territory. The Chinese never issued a statement stating that it has accepted that Sikkim is a part of the Republic of India nor has it accepted at any point of time said that the Sikkim issue has been settled.

Physical Features[change | change source]

Sikkim is the second smallest state after Goa, but it has many physical features like forests, rivers and mountains around its edges. Most of the mountains above 6100 meters (20000ft) are near the west of the state, like Mt Kanchendzonga. Other mountains that are over 6100 meters (20000ft)tall are Kabru (the second tallest), Sinilchu, Pandim, Rothong, Kokthang, Talung, Kanglakhang, Simvo & Jonsang. On the east side the tallest peak is Paunhri, which is about 6700 meters(22000ft) tall. The other mountains that are a little bit shorter than 6100 meters (20000ft) are Masthonangye, Yabukjakchen, Narsing and Lamaonden. Most of the mountains in Sikkim have never been climbed, because the Sikkimese consider them sacred. They feel that when the mountains are climbed, they will not be holy anymore.

Lakes[change | change source]

River Teesta.jpg

On the way between Gangtok to Nathula, 35 kilometers from Gangtok is Lake Changu (Tsomgo), about 3693 meters (12310 ftp) above sea level. Two other lakes nearby are the Bidangcho and the Mememcho. Lake Kechopari is another well-known lake. It is between Gyalshing and Yoksum. Many of the lakes in Sikkim are on the western border, north of Chiwabhanjang towards the Base Camp. Laxmipokhari, Lampokhari, Majurpokhari, Dud Phokhari, Samiti Lake, and the twin lakes of Ram-Laxman are a few of the lakes in this area. Gurudogmar, which is the largest lake, is in North Sikkim.

Hot Springs[change | change source]

Sikkim has many hot springs which are known to be good for health. The most important hot-springs are at Phurchachu(Reshi), Yumthang, Borang, Ralang, Taram-chu and Yumey Samdong. All these hotsprings have a lot of sulfur and are near the river banks. The average temperature of the water in these hot springs is 50 °C.

Foods and Drinks[change | change source]

Sikkimese usually eat rice, green vegetables, potatoes, dal, and sinky, Kenama and Gundruk, (Nepali food).

Momo

Momo is a very popular Nepalese treat in Sikkim. It is prepared by stuffing meat and vegetable ingredients in flour dough then making them into dumplings. Momos are eaten with soup and chilli sauce. This Nepalese dish can be found in almost every local restaurant and fast food shop.

Thukpa

Thukpa is a noodle soup with vegetables and beef which is also very popular.

Sael Roti

Seal Roti (Nepali traditional food) is made by grinding rice and water into a paste, then deep fried. It is normally eaten with potato curry. It is prepared during Dasai and Tihar (local festivals).

Gundruk

Gundruk is the leaves of the mustard oil plant that are dried in the sun, then boiled with ingredients.

Geography[change | change source]

  • Area : 7110 km2
  • Capital : Gangtok
  • Height: 1,780 m (5,840 ft) above sea level
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs (= 610,000)
  • Land type: Hilly from 180 m (~600 ft.) to over 8.690 m (28,509 ft) above sea level
  • Climate:
    • Summer

Max- 21 °C ; Min - 13 °C

    • Winter

Max -13 °C ; Min - 0.48 °C Rainfall : 325 cm every year

  • Languages spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi

National symbols of Sikkim[change | change source]