Sikkim (/ˈsɪkɪm/) is a state in Northeast India. It borders The
Autonomous Region Of
Tibet in its north and east,
Bhutan in its east,
Nepal in its west and the Indian state of
West Bengal in its south.
Sikkim is also located close to the
Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh.
Sikkim is the least populous and second smallest among the Indian
states. A part of the Eastern Himalaya,
Sikkim is notable for its
biodiversity, including alpine and subtropical climates, as well as
being a host to Kanchenjunga, the highest peak in
India and third
highest on Earth. Sikkim's capital and largest city is Gangtok. Almost
35% of the state is covered by the Khangchendzonga National Park.
Kingdom of Sikkim
Kingdom of Sikkim was founded on the
Silk Road by the Namgyal
dynasty in the 17th century. It was ruled by a
known as the Chogyal. It became a princely state of British
1890. After 1947,
Sikkim continued its protectorate status with the
republic of India. It enjoyed the highest literacy rate and per capita
income among Himalayan states. In 1975, the
Indian military deposed
the Sikkimese monarchy. A referendum in 1975 led to
India as its 22nd state.
Sikkim is a multiethnic and multilingual Indian state. Sikkim
has 11 official languages: Nepali, Sikkimese, Lepcha, Tamang, Limbu,
Newari, Rai, Gurung, Magar, Sunwar and English. English is
taught in schools and used in government documents. The predominant
Vajrayana Buddhism. Sikkim's economy is
largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, and as of 2014[update]
the state had the third-smallest GDP among Indian states, although
it is also among the fastest-growing.
Sikkim accounts for the largest share of cardamom production in India,
and is the world's second largest producer of the spice after
Sikkim achieved its ambition to convert its agriculture to
fully organic over the interval 2003 to 2016, the first state in India
to achieve this distinction.  It is also among India's
most environmentally conscious states, having banned plastic water
bottles and styrofoam products.
2.1 Foundation of the monarchy
2.2 During the British Raj
2.3 Indian protectorate and statehood
2.4 Recent history
4 Government and politics
5 Flora and fauna
11.1 Festivals and holidays
14 Notable personalities
15 See also
17 Further reading and bibliography
18 External links
The origin theory of the name
Sikkim is that it is a combination of
Limbu words: su, which means "new", and khyim, which means
"palace" or "house". The Tibetan name for
Sikkim is Drenjong
(Wylie-transliteration: ´bras ljongs), which means "valley of
rice", while the Bhutias call it Beyul Demazong, which means '"the
hidden valley of rice". According to the folklore, after
Rabdentse as his new capital bhutia king Tensung Namgyal
built a palace and asked his
Limbu Queen to name it. The Lepcha
people, the original inhabitants of Sikkim, called it Nye-mae-el,
meaning "paradise". In historical Indian literature,
known as Indrakil, the garden of the war god Indra.
Main article: History of Sikkim
The Lepchas are considered to be the earliest inhabitants of
Sikkim. However the Limbus and the
Magars also lived in the
inaccessible parts of West and South districts as early as the Lepchas
perhaps lived in the East and North districts.  The
Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, is said to have passed
through the land in the 8th century. The Guru is reported to have
blessed the land, introduced Buddhism, and foretold the era of
monarchy that would arrive in
Sikkim centuries later.
Foundation of the monarchy
Main article: Kingdom of Sikkim
Guru Rinpoche, patron saint of Sikkim
According to legend, Khye Bumsa, a 14th-century prince from the Minyak
Kham in eastern Tibet, received a divine revelation
instructing him to travel south to seek his fortunes. A
fifth-generation descendant of Khye Bumsa, Phuntsog Namgyal, became
the founder of Sikkim's monarchy in 1642, when he was consecrated as
the first Chogyal, or priest-king, of
Sikkim by the three venerated
lamas at Yuksom.
Phuntsog Namgyal was succeeded in 1670 by his
son, Tensung Namgyal, who moved the capital from
Yuksom to Rabdentse
(near modern Pelling). In 1700,
Sikkim was invaded by the Bhutanese
with the help of the half-sister of the Chogyal, who had been denied
the throne. The Bhutanese were driven away by the Tibetans, who
restored the throne to the
Chogyal ten years later. Between 1717 and
1733, the kingdom faced many raids by the Nepalese in the west and
Bhutanese in the east, culminating with the destruction of the capital
Rabdentse by the Nepalese. In 1791,
China sent troops to support
Sikkim and defend
Tibet against the Gorkha Kingdom. Following the
subsequent defeat of Gorkha, the Chinese
Qing dynasty established
control over Sikkim.
During the British Raj
Tashi Namgyal was credited as a reformer
An 1876 map of Sikkim, depicting Chomto Dong Lake in northern
Sikkim. However, the whole of Chumbi and
Darjeeling are not
depicted as part of
Sikkim in the map.
Following the beginning of British rule in neighbouring India, Sikkim
allied with Britain against their common adversary, Nepal. The
Nepalese attacked Sikkim, overrunning most of the region including the
Terai. This prompted the British East
India Company to attack Nepal,
resulting in the
Gurkha War of 1814. Treaties signed between
Nepal resulted in the return of the territory annexed by
the Nepalese in 1817. However, ties between
Sikkim and the British
weakened when the latter began taxation of the
Morang region. In 1849,
two British physicians, Sir
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Joseph Dalton Hooker and Dr. Archibald
Campbell, the latter being in charge of relations between the British
and Sikkimese governments, ventured into the mountains of Sikkim
unannounced and unauthorised. The doctors were detained by the
Sikkimese government, leading to a punitive British expedition against
the kingdom, after which the
Darjeeling district and
annexed to British
India in 1853. The invasion led to the
Sikkim becoming a titular ruler under the directive of the British
Sikkim became a British protectorate in the later decades of the 19th
century, formalised by a convention signed with
China in 1890.
Sikkim was gradually granted more sovereignty over the next three
decades, and became a member of the Chamber of Princes, the
assembly representing the rulers of the Indian princely states, in
Indian protectorate and statehood
Flag of Sikkim
Flag of Sikkim during its independent monarchy
The last Chogyal, Palden Thondup Namgyal, and his American born queen
consort, Hope Cooke, with their daughter in 1971
Prior to the Indian independence, Jawaharlal Nehru, as the Vice
President of the Executive Council, pushed through a resolution in the
Indian Constituent Assembly to the effect that
Sikkim and Bhutan, as
Himilayan states, were not 'Indian states' and their future should be
negotiated separately. A standstill agreement was signed in
Meanwhile, the Indian independence and its move to democracy spurred a
fledgling political movement in Sikkim, giving rise to the formation
Sikkim State Congress (SSC). The party sent a plate of demands to
the palace, including a demand for accession to India. The palace
attempted to defuse the movement by appointing three secretaries from
the SSC to the government and sponsoring a counter-movement in the
Sikkim National Party, which opposed accession to India.
The demand for responsible government continued and the SSC launched a
civil disobedience movement. The
Palden Thondup Namgyal
Palden Thondup Namgyal asked
India for help in quelling the movement, which was offered in the form
of a small military police force and an Indian Dewan. In 1950, a
treaty was agreed between
Sikkim which gave
status of an Indian protectorate.
Sikkim came under the suzerainty of
India, which controlled its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and
communications. In other respects,
Sikkim retained administrative
A state council was established in 1953 to allow for constitutional
government under the Chogyal. Despite pressures from an
India "bent on
Palden Thondup Namgyal
Palden Thondup Namgyal was able to preserve
autonomy and shape a "model Asian state" where the literacy rate and
per capita income were twice as high as neighbouring Nepal,
India.[unreliable source?] Meanwhile, the India-backed Sikkim
National Congress demanded fresh elections and greater representation
for Nepalis in Sikkim. People marched on the palace against the
monarchy. In 1973, antiroyalist riots took place in front of the
In 1975, the Prime Minister of
Sikkim appealed to the Indian
Sikkim to become a state of India. In April of that
Indian Army took over the city of
Gangtok and disarmed the
Chogyal's palace guards. Thereafter, a referendum was held in which
97.5 per cent of voters supported abolishing the monarchy, effectively
approving union with India.
India is said to have stationed
20,000–40,000 troops in a country of only 200,000 during the
referendum. On 16 May 1975,
Sikkim became the 22nd state of the
Indian Union, and the monarchy was abolished. To enable the
incorporation of the new state, the
Indian Parliament amended the
Indian Constitution. First, the 35th Amendment laid down a set of
conditions that made
Sikkim an "Associate State", a special
designation not used by any other state. A month later, the 36th
Amendment repealed the 35th Amendment, and made
Sikkim a full state,
adding its name to the First Schedule of the Constitution.
Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim
In 2000, the seventeenth Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley Dorje, who had been
confirmed by the Dalai
Lama and accepted as a tulku by the Chinese
government, escaped from Tibet, seeking to return to the Rumtek
Monastery in Sikkim. Chinese officials were in a quandary on this
issue, as any protests to
India would mean an explicit endorsement of
India's governance of Sikkim, which
China still recognised as an
independent state occupied by India. The Chinese government eventually
Sikkim as an Indian state in 2003, on the condition that
India officially recognise
Tibet as a part of China;
New Delhi had
Tibet as a part of
China in 1953 during the
government of Jawaharlal Nehru. The 2003 agreement led to a thaw
in Sino-Indian relations, and on 6 July 2006, the Sikkimese
Himalayan pass of
Nathu La was opened to cross-border trade, becoming
the first open border between
India and China. The pass, which had
previously been closed since the 1962 Sino-Indian War, was an offshoot
of the ancient Silk Road.
On 18 September 2011, a magnitude 6.9Mw earthquake struck Sikkim,
killing at least 116 people in the state and in Nepal, Bhutan,
Bangladesh and Tibet. More than 60 people died in
and the city of
Gangtok suffered significant damage.
Sikkim is in lower center of image of the Tibetan Plateau- (NASA
Nestling in the Himalayan mountains, the state of
characterised by mountainous terrain. Almost the entire state is
hilly, with an elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to
8,586 metres (28,169 ft). The summit of Kangchenjunga—the
world's third-highest peak—is the state's highest point, situated on
the border between
Sikkim and Nepal. For the most part, the land
is unfit for agriculture because of the rocky, precipitous slopes.
However, some hill slopes have been converted into terrace farms.
Numerous snow-fed streams have carved out river valleys in the west
and south of the state. These streams combine into the major Teesta
River and its tributary, the Rangeet, which flow through the state
from north to south. About a third of the state is heavily
forested. The Himalayan mountains surround the northern, eastern and
western borders of Sikkim. The Lower Himalayas, lying in the southern
reaches of the state, are the most densely populated.
The state has 28 mountain peaks, more than 80 glaciers, 227
high-altitude lakes (including the Tsongmo,
Khecheopalri Lakes), five major hot springs, and more than 100 rivers
and streams. Eight mountain passes connect the state to Tibet, Bhutan
Sikkim's hot springs are renowned for their medicinal and therapeutic
values. Among the state's most notable hot springs are those at
Phurchachu, Yumthang, Borang, Ralang, Taram-chu and Yumey Samdong. The
springs, which have a high sulphur content, are located near river
banks; some are known to emit hydrogen. The average temperature of
the water in these hot springs is 50 °C (122 °F).
A waterfall in Sikkim
The hills of
Sikkim mainly consist of gneiss and schist which
weather to produce generally poor and shallow brown clay soils. The
soil is coarse, with large concentrations of iron oxide; it ranges
from neutral to acidic and is lacking in organic and mineral
nutrients. This type of soil tends to support evergreen and deciduous
The rock consists of phyllites and schists, and is highly susceptible
to weathering and erosion. This, combined with the state's heavy
rainfall, causes extensive soil erosion and the loss of soil nutrients
through leaching. As a result, landslides are frequent, often
isolating rural towns and villages from the major urban centres.
The state has five seasons: winter, summer, spring, autumn, and a
monsoon season between June and September. Sikkim's climate ranges
from sub-tropical in the south to tundra in the north. Most of the
inhabited regions of
Sikkim experience a temperate climate, with
temperatures seldom exceeding 28 °C (82 °F) in summer. The
average annual temperature for most of
Sikkim is around 18 °C
Sikkim is one of the few states in
India to receive regular snowfall.
The snow line ranges from 6,100 metres (20,000 ft) in the south
of the state to 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) in the north. The
tundra-type region in the north is snowbound for four months every
year, and the temperature drops below 0 °C (32 °F) almost
every night. In north-western Sikkim, the peaks are frozen
year-round; because of the high altitude, temperatures in the
mountains can drop to as low as −40 °C (−40 °F) in
During the monsoon, heavy rains increase the risk of landslides. The
record for the longest period of continuous rain in
Fog affects many parts of the state during winter and
the monsoons, making transportation perilous.
Government and politics
Sikkim Legislative Assembly
See also: Elections in
Sikkim and History of Sikkim
16 May (day of accession to India)
Noble dendrobium (Dendrobium nobile)
According to the Constitution of India,
Sikkim has a parliamentary
system of representative democracy for its governance; universal
suffrage is granted to state residents. The government structure is
organised into three branches:
Executive: As with all states of India, a governor stands at the head
of the executive power of state, just as the president is the head of
the executive power in the Union, and is appointed by the President of
India. The governor's appointment is largely ceremonial, and his or
her main role is to oversee the swearing-in of the Chief Minister. The
Chief Minister, who holds the real executive powers, is the head of
the party or coalition garnering the largest majority in the state
elections. The governor also appoints cabinet ministers on the advice
of the Chief Minister.
Sikkim has a unicameral legislature, the Sikkim
Legislative Assembly, like most other Indian states. Its state
assembly has 32 seats, including one reserved for the Sangha. Sikkim
is allocated one seat in each of the two chambers of India's national
bicameral legislature, the
Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
Judiciary: The judiciary consists of the
Sikkim High Court and a
system of lower courts. The High Court, located at Gangtok, has a
Chief Justice along with two permanent justices. The
Sikkim High Court
is the smallest state high court in the country.
In 1975, after the abrogation of Sikkim's monarchy, the Indian
National Congress gained a majority in the 1977 elections. In 1979,
after a period of instability, a popular ministry headed by Nar
Bahadur Bhandari, leader of the
Sikkim Sangram Parishad Party, was
sworn in. Bhandari held on to power in the 1984 and 1989 elections. In
the 1994 elections,
Pawan Kumar Chamling
Pawan Kumar Chamling of the
Front became the
Chief Minister of the state. Chamling and his party
have since held on to power by winning the 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014
elections. Currently, the
Sikkim is Shriniwas
A clickable map of
Sikkim exhibiting its four districts
1. East Sikkim
2. North Sikkim
3. South Sikkim
4. West Sikkim
Sikkim has four districts – East Sikkim, North Sikkim, South Sikkim
and West Sikkim. The district capitals are Gangtok, Mangan,
Gyalshing respectively. These four districts are further divided
into subdivisions; Pakyong and Rongli are the subdivisions of the East
district, Soreng is the subdivision of the West district, Chungthang
is the subdivision of the North district and Ravongla is the
subdivision of the South district.
Each of Sikkim's districts is overseen by a Central Government
appointee, the district collector, who is in charge of the
administration of the civilian areas of the district. The Indian Army
has control over a large part of the state, as
Sikkim forms part of a
sensitive border area with China. Many areas are restricted to
foreigners, and official permits are needed to visit them.
Flora and fauna
Sikkim is situated in an ecological hotspot of the lower Himalayas,
one of only three among the ecoregions of India. The forested
regions of the state exhibit a diverse range of fauna and flora. Owing
to its altitudinal gradation, the state has a wide variety of plants,
from tropical species to temperate, alpine and tundra ones, and is
perhaps one of the few regions to exhibit such a diversity within such
a small area. Nearly 81 per cent of the area of
Sikkim comes under the
administration of its forest department.
Noble orchid (top) is Sikkim's state flower.
Rhododendron is its state
tree; about 40 species of
Rhododendron bloom late April – mid May
across the state.
Sikkim is home to around 5,000 species of flowering plants, 515 rare
orchids, 60 primula species, 36 rhododendron species, 11 oak
varieties, 23 bamboo varieties, 16 conifer species, 362 types of ferns
and ferns allies, 8 tree ferns, and over 900 medicinal plants. A
variant of the Poinsettia, locally known as "
Christmas Flower", can be
found in abundance in the mountainous state. The Noble Dendrobium is
the official flower of Sikkim, while the rhododendron is the state
Orchids, figs, laurel, bananas, sal trees and bamboo grow in the
Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests
Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests of the lower altitudes of
Sikkim. In the temperate elevations above 1,500 metres (4,900 ft)
there are Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests, where oaks, chestnuts,
maples, birches, alders, and magnolias grow in large numbers, as well
as Himalayan subtropical pine forests, dominated by Chir pine.
Alpine-type vegetation is typically found between an altitude of 3,500
to 5,000 metres (11,500 to 16,400 ft). In lower elevations are
found juniper, pine, firs, cypresses and rhododendrons from the
Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. Higher up are Eastern
Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows, home to a broad variety of
rhododendrons and wildflowers.
The red panda is the state animal of Sikkim.
The fauna of
Sikkim include the snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan
tahr, red panda, Himalayan marmot, Himalayan serow, Himalayan goral,
muntjac, common langur, Asian black bear, clouded leopard, marbled
cat, leopard cat, dhole, Tibetan wolf, hog badger, binturong, and
Himalayan jungle cat. Among the animals more commonly found in the
alpine zone are yaks, mainly reared for their milk, meat, and as a
beast of burden.
The avifauna of
Sikkim include the impeyan pheasant, crimson horned
pheasant, snow partridge, Tibetan snowcock, bearded vulture and
griffon vulture, as well as golden eagles, quails, plovers, woodcocks,
sandpipers, pigeons, Old World flycatchers, babblers and robins.
Sikkim has more than 550 species of birds, some of which have been
Sikkim also has a rich diversity of arthropods, many of which remain
unstudied; the most studied Sikkimese arthropods are butterflies. Of
the approximately 1,438 butterfly species found in the Indian
subcontinent, 695 have been recorded in Sikkim. These include the
endangered Kaiser-i-hind, the Yellow Gorgon and the
Elaichi, or cardamom, is the chief cash crop of Sikkim.
Tea garden at Temi, Sikkim
Sikkim's nominal state gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at
US$1.57 billion in 2014, constituting the third-smallest GDP among
India's 28 states. The state's economy is largely agrarian, based
on the terraced farming of rice and the cultivation of crops such as
maize, millet, wheat, barley, oranges, tea and cardamom.
Sikkim produces more cardamom than any other Indian state, and is home
to the largest cultivated area of cardamom.
Because of its hilly terrain and poor transport infrastructure, Sikkim
lacks a large-scale industrial base. Brewing, distilling, tanning and
watchmaking are the main industries, and are mainly located in the
southern regions of the state, primarily in the towns of
Jorethang. In addition, a small mining industry exists in Sikkim,
extracting minerals such as copper, dolomite, talc, graphite,
quartzite, coal, zinc and lead. Despite the state's minimal
industrial infrastructure, Sikkim's economy has been among the
India since 2000; the state's GDP expanded by 89.93
per cent in 2010 alone. In 2003,
Sikkim decided to convert fully
to organic farming statewide, and achieved this goal in 2015, becoming
India's first "organic state".
Terraced rice paddy fields of Sikkim
In recent years, the government of
Sikkim has extensively promoted
tourism. As a result, state revenue has increased 14 times since the
Sikkim has furthermore invested in a fledgling gambling
industry, promoting both casinos and online gambling. The state's
first casino, the
Casino Sikkim, opened in March 2009, and the
government subsequently issued a number of additional casino licences
and online sports betting licenses. The
Playwin lottery has
been a notable success in the state.
The opening of the
Nathu La pass on 6 July 2006, connecting Lhasa,
Tibet, to India, was billed as a boon for Sikkim's economy. Trade
through the pass remains hampered by Sikkim's limited infrastructure
and government restrictions in both
India and China, though the volume
of traded goods has been steadily increasing.
Teesta River is considered the state's key waterway.
Sikkim currently does not have any operational airports or railheads
because of its rough terrain. However, Pakyong Airport, the state's
first airport, located at a distance of 30 km (19 mi) from
Gangtok, is expected to become operational in March 2017, after its
completion was delayed from the original target of 2014. It is
being constructed by the Airports Authority of
India on 200 acres of
land. At an altitude of 4,700 feet (1,400 m) above sea level, it
will be one of the five highest airports in India. The airport
will be capable of operating ATR aircraft.
As of 2015, the closest operational airport to
Sikkim is Bagdogra
Airport, near the town of
Siliguri in West Bengal. The airport is
located about 124 km (77 mi) from Gangtok, and frequent
buses connect the two. A daily helicopter service run by the
Helicopter Service connects
Gangtok to Bagdogra; the flight is
thirty minutes long, operates only once a day, and can carry four
Gangtok helipad is the only civilian helipad in the
A mountain road through Temi
National Highway 31A and National Highway 31 link
Sikkim National Transport runs bus and truck services.
Privately run bus, tourist taxi and jeep services operate throughout
Sikkim, and also connect it to Siliguri. A branch of the highway from
Melli connects western Sikkim. Towns in southern and western Sikkim
are connected to the hill stations of
northern West Bengal. The state is furthermore connected to Tibet
by the mountain pass of Nathu La.
Sikkim lacks significant railway infrastructure. The closest major
railway stations are
New Jalpaiguri in neighbouring West
Bengal. However, the New
Sikkim Railway Project has been launched
to connect the town of
Sevoke on the West Bengal
border. The five-station line is intended to support both
economic development and
Indian Army operations, and was initially
planned to be completed by 2015, though as of 2013 its
construction has met with delays. In addition, the Ministry of
Railways proposed plans in 2010 for railway lines linking
Nathu La Pass – Indo-
Sikkim's roads are maintained by the
Border Roads Organisation
Border Roads Organisation (BRO),
an offshoot of the Indian Army. The roads in southern
Sikkim are in
relatively good condition, landslides being less frequent in this
region. The state government maintains 1,857 kilometres
(1,154 mi) of roadways that do not fall under the BRO's
Sikkim receives most of its electricity from 19 hydroelectric power
stations. Power is also obtained from the National Thermal Power
Corporation and Power Grid Corporation of India. By 2006, the
state had achieved 100 per cent rural electrification. However,
the voltage remains unstable and voltage stabilisers are needed. Per
capita consumption of electricity in
Sikkim was approximately
182 kWh in 2006. The state government has promoted biogas and
solar power for cooking, but these have received a poor response and
are used mostly for lighting purposes. In 2005, 73.2 per cent of
Sikkim's households were reported to have access to safe drinking
water, and the state's large number of mountain streams assures a
sufficient water supply.
On 8 December 2008, it was announced that
Sikkim had become the first
India to achieve 100 per cent sanitation coverage, becoming
completely free of public defecation, thus attaining the status of
Further information: Sikkimese people
A little girl from Kaluk Bazaar
Population growth history
Sources: Census of India
Sikkim is India's least populous state, with 610,577 inhabitants
according to the 2011 census.
Sikkim is also one of the least
densely populated Indian states, with only 86 persons per square
kilometre. However, it has a high population growth rate, averaging
12.36% per cent between 2001 and 2011. The sex ratio is 889 females
per 1,000 males, with a total of 321,661 males and 286,027 females
recorded in 2011. With around 98,000 inhabitants as of 2011, the
Gangtok is the most significant urban area in the mostly rural
state; in 2005, the urban population in
Sikkim constituted around
11.06 per cent of the total. In 2011, the average per capita
Sikkim stood at ₹81,159 (US$1,305).
Sikkim in 2001
Sikkimese (Bhutia) (7.6%)
Nepali is the lingua franca of Sikkim, while Sikkimese (Bhutia) and
Lepcha are spoken in certain areas. English is also spoken and
understood in most of Sikkim. Other languages include Dzongkha, Groma,
Gurung, Limbu, Magar, Majhi, Majhwar,
Nepal Bhasa, Rai, Sherpa,
Sunuwar, Tamang, Thulung, Tibetan, and Yakha.
The major languages spoken as per census 2001 are Nepali (338,606),
Sikkimese (41,825), Hindi (36,072), Lepcha (35,728),
Sherpa (13,922), Tamang (10,089), etc.
The majority of Sikkim's residents are of Nepali ethnic origin.
The native Sikkimese consist of the Bhutias, who migrated from the
Kham district of
Tibet in the 14th century, and the Lepchas, who are
believed to have migrated from the Far East. Tibetans reside mostly in
the northern and eastern reaches of the state. Migrant resident
communities include Biharis, Bengalis and Marwaris, who are prominent
in commerce in
South Sikkim and Gangtok.
Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple
Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple in Legship is dedicated to
Hindu God Shiva.
Rumtek monastery is among Sikkim's most famous religious
Hinduism is the state's major religion and is practised mainly by
ethnic Nepalis; an estimated 57.8 per cent of the total population are
adherents of the religion. There exist many
Hindu temples. Kirateshwar
Mahadev Temple is very popular, since it consists of the chardham
Vajrayana Buddhism, which accounts for 27.3 per cent of the
population, is Sikkim's second-largest, yet most prominent religion.
Prior to Sikkim's becoming a part of the Indian Union, Vajrayana
Buddhism was the state religion under the Chogyal.
Sikkim has 75
Buddhist monasteries, the oldest dating back to the 1700s. The
public and visual aesthetics of
Sikkim are executed in shades of
Vajrayana Buddhism and
Buddhism plays a significant role in public
life, even among Sikkim's majority Nepali
Sikkim are mostly descendants of
Lepcha people who were
converted by British missionaries in the late 19th century, and
constitute around 10 per cent of the population. As of 2014, the
Evangelical Presbyterian Church of
Sikkim is the largest Christian
denomination in Sikkim. Other religious minorities include
Muslims of Bihari ethnicity and Jains, who each account for roughly
one per cent of the population. The traditional religions of the
native Sikkimese account for much of the remainder of the population.
Although tensions between the Lepchas and the Nepalese escalated
during the merger of
India in the 1970s, there has never
been any major degree of communal religious violence, unlike in other
Indian states. The traditional religion of the Lepcha people
is Mun, an animist practice which coexists with
See also: Music of Sikkim
Festivals and holidays
The traditional Gumpa dance being performed in
Lachung during the
Buddhist festival of Losar.
Sikkim's Nepalese majority celebrate all major
including Diwali and Dussera. Traditional local festivals, such as
Maghe Sankranti and Bhimsen Puja, are popular. Losar, Loosong,
Saga Dawa, Lhabab Duechen,
Drupka Teshi and
Bhumchu are among the
Buddhist festivals celebrated in Sikkim. During the
Losar (Tibetan New
Year), most offices and educational institutions are closed for a
Sikkimese Muslims celebrate
Eid ul-Fitr and Muharram. Christmas
has been promoted in
Gangtok to attract tourists during the
Western rock music and
Indian pop have gained a wide following in
Nepali rock and Lepcha music are also popular.
Sikkim's most popular sports are football and cricket, although hang
gliding and river rafting have grown popular as part of the tourism
Main article: Sikkimese cuisine
Noodle-based dishes such as thukpa, chow mein, thenthuk, fakthu,
gyathuk and wonton are common in Sikkim. Momos – steamed dumplings
filled with vegetables, buffalo meat or pork and served with soup –
are a popular snack.
Beer, whiskey, rum and brandy are widely consumed in Sikkim, as
is tongba, a millet-based alcoholic beverage that is popular in Nepal
Sikkim has the third-highest per capita alcoholism
rate amongst all Indian states, behind Punjab and Haryana.
Dro-dul Chorten Stupa
Dro-dul Chorten Stupa in Gangtok.
The southern urban areas of
Sikkim have English, Nepali and Hindi
daily newspapers. Nepali-language newspapers, as well as some English
newspapers, are locally printed, whereas Hindi and English newspapers
are printed in Siliguri. Important local dailies and weeklies include
Hamro Xa Xa Prajashakti (Nepali daily), Himalayan Mirror (English
daily), the Samay Dainik,
Sikkim Express (English),
(English), Kanchanjunga Times (Nepali weekly), Pragya Khabar (Nepali
weekly) and Himalibela. Furthermore, the state receives regional
editions of national English newspapers such as The Statesman, The
Hindu and The Times of India.
Himalaya Darpan, a Nepali
daily published in Siliguri, is one of the leading Nepali daily
newspapers in the region. The
Sikkim Herald is an official weekly
publication of the government. Online media covering
the Nepali newspaper Himgiri, the English news portal Haalkhabar and
the literary magazine Tistarangit. Avyakta, Bilokan, the Journal of
Hill Research, Khaber Khagaj, Panda, and the
Sikkim Science Society
Newsletter are among other registered publications.
Internet cafés are well established in the district capitals, but
broadband connectivity is not widely available. Satellite television
channels through dish antennae are available in most homes in the
state. Channels served are largely the same as those available in the
rest of India, although Nepali-language channels are also available.
The main service providers include Dish TV,
Doordarshan and Nayuma.
Sikkim Manipal University
Sikkim Manipal University Campus, Gangtok
In 2011, Sikkim's adult literacy rate was 82.2 per cent: 87.29 per
cent for males and 76.43 per cent for females. There are a total
of 1,157 schools in the state, including 765 schools run by the state
government, seven central government schools and 385 private
schools. Twelve colleges and other institutions in
Sikkim University is the only central university in
Sikkim. The largest institution is the
Sikkim Manipal University
Sikkim Manipal University of
Technological Sciences, which offers higher education in engineering,
medicine and management. It also runs a host of distance education
programs in diverse fields.
There are two state-run polytechnical schools, the Advanced Technical
Training Centre (ATTC) and the Centre for Computers and Communication
Technology (CCCT), which offer diploma courses in various branches of
engineering. ATTC is situated at Bardang, Singtam, and CCCT at
Sikkim University began operating in 2008 at
Yangang, which is situated about 28 kilometres (17 mi) from
Singtam. Many students, however, migrate to Siliguri, Kolkata,
Bangalore and other Indian cities for their higher education.
B. B. Gurung
Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche
Lal Bahadur Basnet
Nar Bahadur Bhandari
Pawan Kumar Chamling
Te-ongsi Sirijunga Xin Thebe
South Asia portal
Bibliography of India
Index of India-related articles
List of Indian princely states
List of Indian states by GDP
Outline of India
Outline of Sikkim
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Further reading and bibliography
Bareh, Hamlet (2001). "Introduction". Encyclopaedia of North-East
India: Sikkim. Mittal Publications. ISBN 81-7099-794-1. Retrieved
19 June 2011.
Choudhury, Maitreyee (2006). Sikkim: Geographical Perspectives. New
Delhi: Mittal Publications. ISBN 81-8324-158-1.
Duff, Andrew (2015), Sikkim: Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom, Birlinn,
Evans, W. H. (1932). The Identification of Indian Butterflies (2nd
ed.). Mumbai, India: Bombay Natural History Society.
Forbes, Andrew; Henley, David (2011). 'The
Tea Horse Road from Lhasa
to Sikkim'. China's Ancient
Tea Horse Road. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti
Books. ASIN: B005DQV7Q2.
Haribal, Meena (2003) . Butterflies of
Himalaya and their
Sikkim Nature Conservation Foundation. Natraj
Publishers. ISBN 81-85019-11-8.
Rose, Leo E. (1978), "Modernizing a Traditional Administrative System:
Sikkim 1890–1973", in James F. Fisher, Himalayan Anthropology: The
Indo-Tibetan Interface, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 205–,
Strachey, Henry (1854). "Physical Geography of Western Tibet". Journal
of the Royal Geographical Society. XXIII: 1–69, plus map.
ISBN 978-81-206-1044-6. ISSN 0266-6235.
Ray, Arundhati; Das, Sujoy (2001). Sikkim: A Traveller's Guide. Orient
Blackswan, New Delhi. ISBN 81-7824-008-4.
Hooker, Joseph Dalton (1854). Himalayan Journals: notes of a
naturalist in Bengal, the
Nepal Himalayas, the Khasia
mountains etc. Ward, Lock, Bowden & Co.
Sikkim and Bhutan. Nest and Wings.
Sikkim – Land of Mystic and Splendour.
Manorama Yearbook 2003. ISBN 81-900461-8-7.
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