Thursday, 2 June 2011

Sikkim Tourism | Sikkim Map | Hotels in Sikkim

Sikkim Tourism |Sikkim Map |Hotels in Sikkim

About Sikkim:

Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayas. The state borders Nepal to the west, the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China to the north and east, and Bhutan to the southeast.The state of West Bengal borders Sikkim to its south.

With just slightly over 500,000 permanent residents, Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa in total area. Despite its small area of 7,096 km2 (2,740 sq mi), Sikkim is geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas. The climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine. Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim's border with Nepal.Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity.

Legend has it that the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche visited Sikkim in the 9th century, introduced Buddhism and foretold the era of the monarchy. Indeed, the Namgyal dynasty was established in 1642. Over the next 150 years, the kingdom witnessed frequent raids and territorial losses to Nepalese invaders. It allied itself with the British rulers of India, but was soon annexed by them. Later, Sikkim became a British protectorate, before merging with India following a referendum in 1975.

Sikkim has 11 official languages: Nepali (which is its lingua franca), Bhutia, Lepcha (since 1977), Limbu (since 1981), Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Tamang (since 1995) and Sunwar (since 1996). English is taught in schools and used in government documents. Sikkim is the only state in India with an ethnic Nepalese majority. The predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Gangtok is the capital and the largest town. Sikkim has a booming economy dependent on agriculture and tourism, and has the only open border between India and China.

History of Sikkim:

The earliest historical mention of Sikkim is a record of the passage of the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche through the land in the 9th century. The Guru is reported to have blessed the land, introduced Buddhism, and foretold the era of monarchy in Sikkim that would arrive centuries later. In the 14th century, according to legend, Khye Bumsa, a prince from the Minyak House in Kham in Eastern Tibet, had a divine revelation one night instructing him to travel south to seek his fortunes. His descendants were later to form the royal family of Sikkim. In 1642, a fifth-generation descendant of Khye Bumsa, Phuntsog Namgyal, was consecrated as the first Chogyal (king) of Sikkim by the three venerated Lamas who came from the north, west and south to Yuksom, marking the beginning of the monarchy.

Phuntsog Namgyal was succeeded in 1670 by his son, Tensung Namgyal, who moved the capital from Yuksom to Rabdentse. 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 Gurkhas. Following Nepal's subsequent defeat, the Chinese Qing Dynasty established control over Sikkim.

Following the arrival of the British in neighboring India, Sikkim allied with them against their common enemy, 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 Sikkim and 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 and Dr. Archibald Campbell, the latter being in charge of relations between the British and Sikkim governments, ventured into the mountains of Sikkim unannounced and unauthorised.The doctors were detained by the Sikkim government, leading to a punitive British expedition against the kingdom, after which the Darjeeling district and Morang were annexed to India in 1853. The invasion led to the Chogyal becoming a titular ruler under the directive of the British governor.In 1890, Sikkim became a British protectorate and was granted more sovereignty over the next three decades.

In 1947, a popular vote rejected Sikkim's joining the Indian Union, and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru agreed to a special protectorate status for Sikkim. Sikkim came under the suzerainty of India, which controlled its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and communications, but Sikkim otherwise retained autonomy. A state council was established in 1955 to allow for constitutional government under the Chogyal. Meanwhile, the Sikkim National Congress demanded fresh elections and greater representation for the Nepalese. In 1973, riots in front of the palace led to a formal request for protection from India. The Chogyal was proving to be extremely unpopular with the people. In 1975, the Kazi (Prime Minister) appealed to the Indian Parliament for a change in Sikkim's status so that it could become a state of India. In April, the Indian Army took over the city of Gangtok and disarmed the Chogyal's Palace Guards. A referendum was held in which 97.5% of the electorate (in a nation where 59% of the population could vote) voted to join the
Indian Union. A few weeks later, on 16 May 1975, Sikkim officially became the 22nd state of the Indian Union, and the monarchy was abolished.To enable incorporation of a new state, the Indian Parliament had to amend the Indian Constitution. First, the 35th Amendment laid down some conditions and made Sikkim an "Associate State," a special designation not used by any other state. Later, the 36th Amendment
repealed the 35th Amendment, and made Sikkim a full state, adding its name to the First Schedule of the Constitution.

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 the Chinese still regarded as an
independent state occupied by India. China eventually recognized Sikkim as an Indian state in 2003, on the condition that India accepted the Tibet Autonomous Region as a part of China. This mutual agreement led to a thaw in Sino-Indian relations. New Delhi had originally accepted Tibet as a part of China in 1953 during the government of then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.On 6 July 2006, the Himalayan pass of Nathula was opened to cross-border trade, constituting further evidence of improving relations in the region.

Geography of Sikkim:

The thumb-shaped state is characterized by wholly mountainous terrain. Almost the entire state is hilly, with an elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to 8,585 metres (28,000 ft). The summit of the Kangchenjunga is the highest point which falls on the border between Sikkim and Nepal. For the most part, the land is unfit for agriculture because of the precipitous and rocky slopes. However, certain hill slopes have been converted into farm lands using terrace farming techniques. Numerous snow-fed streams in Sikkim have carved out river valleys in the west and south of the state. These streams combine into the Teesta and its tributary, the Rangeet. The Teesta, described as the "lifeline of Sikkim", flows through the state from north to south. About a third of the land is heavily forested.

The Himalayan ranges surround the northern, eastern and western borders of Sikkim in a crescent. The Lower Himalayas 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 Lake, Gurudongmar and Khecheopalri Lake, 5 hot springs, and more than 100 rivers and streams. Eight mountain passes connect the state to Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.

Sikkim's hot springs are known for medicinal and therapeutic values. The most important hot springs are at Phurchachu (Reshi), Yumthang, Borang, Ralang, Taram-chu and Yumey Samdong. They have high sulphur content and are located near river banks. Some also emit hydrogen.The average temperature of the water in these hot springs is 50 °C (122°F).

Climate of Sikkim | Sikkim Weather:

The climate ranges from sub-tropical in the south to tundra in the northern parts. The tundra-type region in the north is clad by snow for four months a year though the temperature drops below 0 °C (32 °F) almost every night. The peaks of north-western Sikkim are perpetually frozen. Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim, however, witness a temperate climate, with the temperatures seldom exceeding 28 °C (82 °F) in summer or dropping below 0 °C (32 °F) in winter. The mean monthly temperature in summer is 15 °C. The state has five seasons: winter, summer, spring, and autumn, and a monsoon season between June and September. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 °C (64 °F). Sikkim is one of the few states in India to receive regular snowfall. The snow line ranges from 20,000 feet in the north to 16,000 feet in the south. During the monsoon, heavy rains increase the possibility of landslides. The record for the longest period of continuous rain is 11 days. In the northern region, because of high altitude, temperatures drop below -40 °C (-40 °F) in winter. Fog also affects many parts of the state during winter and the monsoons, making transportation perilous.

Culture of Sikkim:

The Sikkimese celebrate all major Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Dussera. Nepali festivals like Tihar and Bhimsen Puja are common. Losar, Loosong, Saga Dawa, Lhabab Duechen, Drupka Teshi and Bhumchu are Buddhist festivals. During the Losar (Tibetan New Year) most offices and educational institutions are closed for a week. Muslims celebrate Id-ul-fitr and Muharram. Christmas has also been promoted in Gangtok to attract tourists during the off-season.

Western rock music and Hindi songs have gained wide acceptance among the Sikkimese. Indigenous Nepali rock and Lepcha music are also popular.Common sports in Sikkim are Football and cricket. Hang gliding and river rafting have also been introduced in order to promote tourism.

Noodle-based dishes such as the thukpa, chowmein, thanthuk, fakthu, gyathuk and wonton are common in Sikkim. Momos, steamed dumplings filled with vegetable, buff (buffalo meat) or pork and served with a soup, are a popular snack. Beer, whiskey, rum and brandy are widely consumed. Sikkim has the third highest per capita alcoholism rate amongst all Indian states, behind Punjab and Haryana.

Sikkim Tourist Attractions:


The capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok is a hill resort nestled amidst the towering hills. It is the natural beauty of the hill station that lures tourists from far and wide. A visit to its numerous monasteries, Pemayangtse, Rumtek, Labrang and Tasuk - la-khang (Palace Monastery), seem to satisfy your soul. You should also visit Deer Park, Namgyal Institute, Dul Dul Chortena, Keochalpari Lake, Tashi Viewpoint and Phurchachu Hot Springs. While in Gangtok, make sure to explore its rich flora and fauna.

Nathula Pass:

Nathu La is a pass on the Indo-Chinese border that serves as a trade link between the two countries. Sited at a distance of 56 kms from Gangtok, Nathula Pass once had been the main access for Sikkim -Tibet Trade. Nathu La used to be known as the Silk Route. At an elevation of 14,450 feet, Nathula is renowned for its diverse alpine flora and fauna. The terms 'Nathu' and 'La' literally mean 'listening ears' and 'pass' respectively in Tibetan language.

Rumtek Monastery:

Rumtek Monastery is the most cherished site of almost every Buddhist. Situated at a distance of 24 kms from Gangtok in Rumtek, the Monastery appears tranquil amidst the picturesque background of lofty hills and soothing waterfalls. Rumtek Monastery is one amongst the most important seats of Kagyu school of Buddhism outside Tibet. Originally, Rumtek Monastery was built in the 16th century under the supervision of
Wangchuk Dorje, the 9th Karmapa with the financial assistance of the fourth King of Sikkim.

Himalayan Zoological Park :

Himalayan Zoological Park is certainly a place for wildlife lovers in Sikkim. The Park has been established, to preserve the wildlife, without disturbing the creatures and keeping them in their natural habitat. Located in Bulbuley, Himalayan Zoological Park is at a distance of 3 kms from Gangtok. At an altitude of 5,840ft (1,780 mtrs), the Zoological Park also tenders a splendid view of Mt. Khangchendzonga. This Park sprawls in an area of 205 hectares in the mountainous terrain.

Changu Lake:

Changu Lake is literally known as the ' source of the lake' in Bhutia language. Situated around 35 kms away from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, this calm lake is located at an altitude of 12,310 ft on the Gangtok Nathu La highway. The lake is about 1 km. Long, oval in shape, 15 meters deep and is considered sacred by the local people. It's cool, placid water smoothly merges with the scenic beauty around. Changu Lake - SikkimThis placid lake remains frozen during the winter months up to mid-May. The lake has charming Alpine forests, which is home to some rare animals like the Red Panda, Brahminy ducks and variety of birds. Between the month of May and August one can see a variety of flowers blooming like the Rhododendrous, various species of Primulas, Blue and Yellow Poppies, Iries etc.

Yumthang Valley:

Yumthang Valley is a grazing pasture surrounded by the Himalayan mountains in the North Sikkim district of Sikkim, India. It is at an elevation of 3,575 metres (14,000) above msl at a distance of 150 km from the state capital Gangtok. It is also home to the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, and has over twenty-four species of the rhododendron, the state flower. A tributary of the river Teesta flows past the valley and the town of Lachung, the nearest inhabited centre. Yumthang is closed between December and March due to heavy snowfall.A forest rest house is the only permanent residence in the valley. During the spring months, the area blooms with rhododendrons, primulas, poppies, iris and other flora. During the summer months, villagers take their cattle to these heights to graze (a practice known as yaylag pastoralism).

How to Reach Sikkim:


Sikkim currently does not have any airports or railheads because of its rough terrain. However, the state's first airport is expected to be ready by 2011 in Pakyong, 30 km (19 mi) away from Gangtok. The airport will be capable of operating ATR aircraft.Currently, the closest operational airport to Sikkim is Bagdogra Airport, near the town of Siliguri in West Bengal. The airport is about 124 km away from Gangtok. A regular helicopter service run by the Sikkim Helicopter Service connects Gangtok to Bagdogra; the flight is thirty minutes long, operates only once a day, and can carry 4 people.The Gangtok helipad is the only civilian helipad in the state.


The closest railway stations are Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. The New Sikkim Railway Project has been launched to connect the town of Rangpo in Sikkim with Sevoke. The project is expected to be complete by 2015.In addition, the Ministry of Railways has recently proposed plans for railway lines linking Mirik to Ranipool.


National Highway 31A and National Highway 31 link Siliguri to Gangtok. 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 Kalimpong and Darjeeling in northern West Bengal.The state is furthermore connected to China by Nathu La.

Best time to visti Sikkim:

March to June and September to December
Maximum Summer Temperatue

28 ° C
Minimum Winter Temperature

0 ° C
A Rainfall

325 cm. RF / Year.

Hotels in Sikkim:

Budget Hotels in Sikkim:

Central Hotel
Holy Angel Hotel
Orental Hotel
Zamden Hotel
Hotel Anola
Hotel Kasturi
Hotel New Castle
Hotel Sai Kripa
Hotel Tibet
Hotel Hill Touch
Rockvill Hotel
Tenzing Hotel
Khanjee Hotel

3 Star Hotels in Sikkim:

Hotel Tres
Babumoshai Resort
The Fortuna -Lachung
The Fortuna - Lachen
Hotel Rendezvous
Chiminda International
Norbu Ghang Resort

4 Star Hotels in Sikkim:

Elgin Silver Oaks
Elgin Mount Pandim
The Retreat by Zuri, Baiguney
Elgin Nor-Khill
Welcome Heritage Denzong Regency


Sikkim Map:

Sikkim Pictures:

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