Where is Sikkim?
Sikkim is a northeastern state in India in the eastern Himalayas, which is also the second smallest among the Indian states. It spreads over an area of 7,096 square km (2,740 square miles) with a population of 607,688 as per the 2011 census. The capital of Sikkim is Gangtok, which is also the largest city in the state.
The Khangchendzonga National Park covers almost 35% of the state. The state also has great political significance and strategic importance for India because of its location and international boundaries. Over the time, the state has turned to be multiethnic and multilingual with official languages such as English, Nepali, Sikkimese and Lepcha, Gurung, Limbu, Magar, Mukhia, Newari, Rai, Sherpa, Tamang to name a few. Predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. The state also enjoys the highest literacy rate and per capita income among Himalayan states.
What is the Geography of Sikkim?
The Tibet Autonomous Region of China adjoins Sikkim to the north and northeast, Bhutan to the southeast, West Bengal to the south, and Nepal to the west. Sikkim is a basin (in the earth’s surface) which is surrounded on three sides by precipitous mountain walls. The land of Sikkim rises from an elevation of about 750 feet (225 meters) in the Tista River valley to nearly 28,200 feet (8,600 meters) at Kanchenjunga, which is also India’s highest peak and the world’s third-highest mountain.
Two-third of Sikkim consists of snow-capped mountains that are dominated by the Kanchenjunga massif. The residents of Sikkim worship mountains as God and the Abode of Gods. Some other significant peaks here are Tent, Kabru, and Pauhunri. The Tista River and its tributaries drain in the Sikkim basin, such as Rangit, Lhonak, Talung, and Lachung. Further, the Tista river descends steeply, dropping about 15,700 feet (4,800 meters) to Rangpo (Rongphu) on the border with West Bengal, where it penetrates through the Darjiling Ridge 7,000 – 8,000 feet (2,100 – 2,400 meters) before coming into view onto the Indo – Gangetic Plain.
What is the Climate of Sikkim?
Sikkim experiences a range of climatic types, from tropical in the south to severe mountainous climate in the north. Apart from that, Sikkim typically has five seasons, namely winter, summer, spring, autumn, and monsoon. The temperature in January, one of the coldest months which drops to 0 °C, in August, which is the warmest month temperature reaches about 28 ° C. Annual precipitation ranges from 50 to 200 inches (1,270 to 5,080 mm) which mostly occurs in May through October. The heavy rains often precipitate destructive landslides and avalanches, which also affects livelihood and transportation.
What is the Economy of Sikkim?
The subtropical forest, which is below about 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) are pandanus, palms, bamboos, ferns, and orchids. In the temperate forests, which are found in 5,000 to 13,000 feet (1,500 to 4,000 meters) such as oak, laurel, maple, magnolia, alder, chestnut, birch, rhododendron, fir, hemlock, and spruce predominate. Fauna, such as black/bears, brown bears, red pandas, deer, blue sheep, gorals, tigers, leopards, can be found here. Birds like pheasants, partridges, quail, eagles, barbets, Himalayan cuckoos, Tibetan black crows, and minivets are found here.
Agriculture is the main occupation and source of economy in Sikkim, where more than half of the working population is engaged in this sector. The main agriculture products here are rice, buckwheat, wheat, barley, beans, ginger, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, tea, etc. One of the world’s principal producers of Cardamom in Sikkim. Minerals like copper, lead, zinc, coal, graphite, and limestone are mined here. Some notable manufacturing industries are handwoven textiles, carpets, blankets, scroll paintings, wood carving, embroidery, traditional handicrafts.
What is the Transportation System of Sikkim?
The road is the principal mode of transport in Sikkim. At many points, ski lifts are also available. Baghdogra is the nearest airport, which is 120 km (75 miles) from the railhead at Siliguri, both in West Bengal. A daily helicopter service is run by the Sikkim Helicopter Service that connects Gangtok to Bagdogra. Besides, there are privately run buses, tourist taxis, and jeep services available as well.
What are the Popular Tourist Attractions in Sikkim?
Some of the popular tourist attractions are Tsomgo Lake, Yuksom, Nathula Pass, Lachung, Ravangla, Namchi, Zuluk, Teesta River, Gangtok, Pelling, Singalila National Park, Phodong Monastery, Gurudongmar Lake, Goechala, Khangchendzonga National Park, Aritar, Do Drul Chorten, Rumtek Monastery, Mangan, Cholamu Lake, Tendong Hill, Geyzing, Goecha La, Biksthang, Beguiling Yangtey, Kanchenjunga Base Camp, Singalila, Green Lake, Zero Point, Tso Lhamo Lake, Thangu, Enchey Monastery, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Monastery, Zemu Glacier, Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park, Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, Bakthang Waterfall, Ridge Park, Casino Mahjong, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, Banjhakri Falls and Energy Park, Pemayangtse Lake, Singshore Bridge, Rabdentse Ruins, Kanchenjunga Falls to name a few.