In spite of being the second smallest as well as the least populated state of India, Sikkim is a heaven for nature lovers. Located in the north eastern part of the country, Sikkim is surrounded by West Bengal in the south and shares international borders with Bhutan in the south east, Nepal in the west and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north east. The beautiful mountains, the deep valleys and the biodiversity make Sikkim a favorite spot for tourists. Gangtok is the capital as well as the largest city of Sikkim and is located at the height of 5500 feet on the hills of Shivalik. The beautiful Kanchenjunga, which is the third tallest mountain of the world, can be viewed from Gangtok. The total area of Sikkim is roughly 7000 square kilometers with a total population of more than 6 lakhs. Most of the areas being hilly, summers in Sikkim are soothing as the temperature hardly crosses 28 degrees whereas the inhabitants witness that spine chilling shiver during the winters with a temperature below freezing point. Sikkim became a part of India in 1975 and since then, the political structure of the state adheres to the rest of the country. The legislative assembly comprises of 32 members properly selected through elections.
Where is Sikkim?
It is the second-smallest Indian state is geographically located at 27.33° N and 88.62° E. Landlocked in the Himalayan range, the state is bordered by Tibet towards north-east, Nepal in its west, Bhutan in the south-east and West Bengal in the south. More Detail...
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Capital City of Sikkim
Sikkim is a north eastern state of India and its capital is Gangtok. It is also the largest city in the state. Situated on the Shivalik hills, it is found at the height of 5,600 feet in the south east of the state. Gangtok, which in the local language means "hill top" is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the country. Gangtok is also the largest city in the State nestled within the peaks of the Himalaya. The place is situated between the latitudes of 27 degree 5 'north to 20 degree 9 'north and longitudes of 87 degree 59' east to 88 degree 56' east. Gangtok is also the headquarters of East Sikkim districts. Kanchenjunga, the third tallest peak in the world can be seen from the east side of the city. More Detail...
- Places of Interest
- Travel Guide
- Sikkim Education
- Important Places
- Reach Sikkim
Population of Sikkim
Stretched over an area of 7, 096 sq. km., the state has got a total population of 6, 07, 688 (according to the 2011 census). The density of Sikkim's population stands at 85.6 per sq. km; 76.6 % of the total population is literate.
Time Zone in Sikkim
It falls within the time zone of Indian Standard Time (IST), which is calculated as UTC + 05:30.
Different Climatic Conditions in Sikkim
Being located in the Himalayas, the residents of Sikkim experiences two kinds of climate. The northern part of the state experiences tundra type of climate, whereas, the southern part observes sub-tropical climatic conditions. Because of the tundra type of climate, the northern part of the state remains covered by snow for almost 4 months in a year, when the night temperature goes below 0° C.
The weather condition of the state is mainly divided into 5 seasons, which are:
Being the least populated city in India, the population of Sikkim is not more than 6 lakhs, which comprises of 50 % males and 50% females. Lepchas were the original inhabitants and the natives of this place. Most of the industrialists in Sikkim are lepchas by origin. The Bhutias, or the people who have come from the Kham district of Tibet are the second ethnic group of Sikkim. They were known to bring Buddhism to the place and are great agriculturists and traders. The third ethnic group is formed by the Nepalese that constitutes a major part of the population in Sikkim. In the northern and eastern parts of the state, few clans of Tibetans are found. Other than these, there are several inhabitants belonging to Bengali, Marwari and the Bihari castes who had migrated to this place a few decades ago. Buddhism and Hinduism are the two religions that prevail in this state. However, there is a little Christian community in the state of people who were of lepcha origin earlier but got converted to Christianity by the colonial British. Even smaller in number are the Muslims here. However, in spite of having so many religions in different proportions here, there has never been any communal riots or rifts among them.
Sikkim has a significant political past that depicts several important events related to the tribal rulers, the British authority as well as inclusion of the state as a part of India. Three tribes, Mon, Naong and Chang, used to rule the state before the Lepchas invaded and overpowered them in the 17th Century. During this time, monarchy existed in Sikkim and the most prominent kingdom was of the Chogyals who were the undisputed rulers of the state. When British arrived in the country, the monarchs of Sikkim entered into an alliance with them to fight with Nepalese and Bhutanese who were slowly becoming threats for them. With the Indian independence in 1947, this state became a protectorate under India who took the responsibilities of the defense, external relations, as well as strategic communications. However, with the passing time, the inhabitants of Sikkim wanted more political liberties through democracy and hence around five elections were held before 1975. More Detail...
Economy and Infrastructure
The economy of Sikkim depends mainly upon tourism, agriculture, few industries, and horticulture. Due to its immense natural beauty, exotic climate and rich cultural heritage, tourism has flourished in this part of the country and has become the backbone for the economy of the state. Agriculture is substantially possible here in Sikkim in spite of a majority of the state being covered by mountains and hills. Tea and cardamom are the two important ingredients that are grown in this place apart from other crops like rice, maize, potato, wheat, orange and ginger.
Government of Sikkim
Ever since Sikkim has shrugged off its monarchical roots in 1975, the government of the state follows the pattern of other Indian states. There is a legislative body comprising of several ministers topped by the Chief Minister. The 32 members of the state legislative who are selected through assembly elections from 32 assembly constituency spread across four districts of Sikkim. Out of these, one seat remains reserved for a Buddhist representative, following the traditions of the kings. The most important person in the legislative is the Speaker and the chief minister is responsible for controlling and leading the 30 government departments of the council. There are two representatives, each for the Lower House and the Upper House of the Parliament. The national parties do have a hold in the politics of Sikkim but the local and regional parties like Sikkim Democratic Party have more influence on the inhabitants. There are separate state commissions, run by government to keep a vigilance over the legislative functions.More Detail...
Society and Culture
Sikkim has a rich cultural heritage which is formed due to the combined tradition of Hinduism and Buddhism perfectly blended with that of the Lepchas. Since the Sikkimese follow Buddhism, their festivals are simple, less lavish yet colorful. Buddhist festivals like Drukpa Tseshi, Pang Lhabsol, Saga Dawa, Losoong, and Dasain are widely celebrated in most of the places. Drinking the famous millet beer from the Himalayas is a sign of celebration for festivals and special occasions like marriage. Folksongs and dances are common during such celebrations. Sikkim's mask dance by the Lamas in the courtyards of the monastery is one of the most colorful dances in north eastern India that depicts the true essence of the culture of the place.
As per the current demographical scenario of Sikkim, there are in total six languages that the inhabitants use to communicate with each other. Nepali happens to be the lingua franca of the state, since Nepalese form the majority of the population. The language however belongs to the Indo-Aryan family. The next widely spoken language is Bhutia, which has strong connection to the Tibeto-Burman family of Languages. Other languages that hail from the same family and are widely popular among the people are Lepcha, Sherpa and the Limbu. All these languages are taught in different schools of the state and are declared as the official language of the state.
Education in Sikkim
Sikkim, due to the lack of adequate plain lands and facilities, cannot compete with the other states of the Indian subcontinent as far as education is concerned. There are around 1150 schools which provide the basic primary and secondary education to the children. More than half of them are run with the help of the state government whereas the rest are run by the private organizations. Few schools are affiliated to the central board of education. There are roughly 15 colleges in the state who are dedicated to provide higher education to the aspiring candidates. The central university of Sikkim is located in Ganktok. There are other private universities like the Sikkim Manipal University of technological sciences, located in Gangtok that offers degrees in medicine, engineering and management.More Detail...
Districts of Sikkim
Sikkim, being one of the smallest states of the country, is divided into just 4 districts:
- North District
- South District
- West District
- East District
Tourism of Sikkim
Small but picturesque with lush greenery, beautiful mountains, and breathtaking range of biodiversity, Sikkim is undoubtedly a heaven for tourists. The tranquility and serenity of mother Nature has been poured over to this place and the world. The man-made temples and shrines, museums, national parks have done the rest to attract tourists from all over the world. Being covered by the Himalayan ranges throughout, travelers may visit several places of the state including Singhik for viewing the Kanchenjangha from its closest, Chungthang for exciting river rafting and historical significance, Kabi Langchuk for viewing rural beauty, Yumthung to experience snow-clad valleys in the northern part of the state. More Detail...
Main Tourist Attractions in Sikkim
- Being a place located in the Himalayas, is famous for its high snow-capped mountains covered by lush green forests. Trekking in those mountains amidst the roar of the sprinkling waterfalls will give you a lifetime experience. Some of the places, which you need not miss are:
- Ghati-Tso or Aritar Lake: Aritar Lake, located near Rhenock is said to be the trekker's hub. It will take just 3 hrs from Gangtok to be in the peaceful environment to enjoy boating or visiting the Lingsay Monastery. A short trek or a night's stay in the nearby resorts or the British Bunglow will give you an enthralling experience.
- Bakthang Waterfalls: Originating from the Ratey Chu, Bakthang Waterfalls is the main source of water in Gangtok. This cascading waterfall is just 20 mins drive from the capital of Sikkim.
- Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary: Sprawling over an area of 51. 76 sq. km., Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the varied species of plants, birds and animals. The place along with its famous wild rhododendrons and orchids as well as vegetation like oak, kimbu, katus, champa, ferns and thick bamboos will make you fall in love with nature.
- Dubdi Monastery: Dubdi Monastery is the first monastery built after the sanctification ritual of the first Chogyal. Located on the top of a hill above Yuksom, this monastery can be reached solely by trekking. The surrounding green forest will mesmerize you. More Detail...
Best Time to Visit Sikkim
Keeping in mind the above mentioned climatic conditions, the best time to visit the mountaineering state are the months of April and May. This is the time of the year, which observes the full bloom of orchids and rhododendrons.
Other Places to Visit in Sikkim
It has got numerous places to visit in like monasteries, lakes, waterfalls, natural parks etc. Ropeway, which takes one on a joy ride over the snowy mountain peaks, forests and waterfalls, is the most famous attraction among tourists. Other tourist spots in Sikkim include:
- Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple
- Ban Jhakri Falls
- Borong Ralong Hot Spring
- Buddha Park
- Botanical Garden
- Chogyal Park
- Do Drul Choten
- Enchey Monastery
- Ganesh Tok
- Gonjang Monastery
- Gangtok Ropeway
- Gurudongmar Lake
- Bulbuley (Himalayan) Zoological Park
- Hanuman Tok
- Hurhuray Dara
- Khecheopalri Lake
- Khangchendzonga Waterfalls
- Labrang Monastery
- Menmecho Lake
- Maenam Hill
- Namchi Rock Garden
- Nathula Pass
- Pal Zurmang Kagyud (Lingdum) Monastery
- Phensang Monastery
- Phamrong Waterfalls
- Phodong Monastery
- Rangit Water World
- Rimbi Waterfall & Karchen Power House
- Rumtek Monastery
- Sang-Choling Monastery
- Sa-Ngor Monastery
- Saramsa Garden
- Seven Sisters Waterfalls
- Sawaro Rock Garden
- Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
- Sikkim Science Center
- Shiva Mandir
- Tashi View Point
- Temi Tea Garden
- Tashiding Monastery
- Tendong Hill
- Tsomgo (Changu) Lake
- Versey Rhododendron Sanctuary
- Water Garden
- Yumthang Flower Valley
How to Reach Sikkim?
Sikkim, being bordered by national as well as international destinations, is well-connected to the neighboring Indian states and foreign countries. In spite of the fact that rail tracks and airports could not be made easily available in the state due of its uneven terrain, it manages to maintain an overall smooth transport system. More Detail...
Where to shop in Sikkim?
The shopping areas here are famous for goods like handicrafts, dragon designed earrings and pendants, woolen carpets from Tibet, tea and cardamom. The capital city of Gangtok is the best place to shop. However, the District headquarters, nowadays, are gradually housing handicraft shops. The main market in Gangtok is the Gangtok Market. Apart from that, Directorate of Handloom & Handicrafts offers products like handlooms, carpets, paintings, wooden masks, bamboo and cane products, embroidered items and many more.
Cuisine of Sikkim
It is famous to food lovers for its traditional cuisine of Himalayas. Rice is the basis of Sikkim cuisine. Besides that, the famous restaurants here even serve non-vegetarian Indian, Tibetan, Nepalese, Chinese and Italian cuisines along with brewed beer and other beverages. The Sikkim restaurants serve mouth-watering Momo, Pakku (Mutton curry), Thukpa, Chhurpi (conventional cottage cheese) etc. Following are the names of a few famous restaurants found there:
- China Palate in New Market
- Dragon's Den on M. G. Marg
- Little Italy in Deorali
- Oberoi's Barbeque in New Market
- Parivar Restaurant in M. G. Marg
- Metro's Fast Food at NH 31A
- Krishna Restaurant
Where to stay in Sikkim?
Sikkim, being one of the world famous tourist place, houses a number of hotels ranging from premium to budget ones. Besides providing comfort and classy facilities, the location of these hotels provides an opportunity to view the beauty of mountains. Some of the famous hotels are:
Premium hotels: The Norkhill Elgin Mount Pandim
Luxury hotels: Denzong Regency De Regency
Deluxe hotels: Hotel Sidlon Residency Chiminda International
Standard hotels: Asian Heights Aryan Regency
Budget hotels: Hotel Yatung Hotel Touristo
Hotels of Sikkim
The State has hotels of star and non star category catering to the needs of the tourists visiting the place. Besides it has resorts, restaurants and cafes which cater to the needs of all segment of travelers. Catch info on Hotels in Gangtok
Sikkim, nestled in the snow-capped Himalayan range, is a mystical place of picturesque natural beauty. Its spectacular view of the high mountains, flower-festooned meadows, varied flora and fauna along with its vibrant culture will ensure you have one of your best holiday trips. More Details...
Sikkim, in spite of being having a mountainous terrain, is well connected with the rest of the country. The nearest airport to the state is Bagdogra, which is a few hours' drive from the capital. One can find several airways like the Indian Airlines, Deccan Air Service, Jet airways and others that connect the state with Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati for easy communication. Since Sikkim is a tourist's delight, the Sikkim Tourism Department operates five-seater helicopters from Bagdogra to Gangtok so that one can reach there faster. There are two railway stations that connect the state with the rest of the country, one at Siliguri, around 114 kms away and the other at New Jalpaiguri, around 125 kms away from the capital. One can reach Gangtok through roads.
Last Updated on : September 24, 2014