INTRO TO SIKKIM
Nestled amidst the great Himalayas, Sikkim is a spellbinding region in the north east part of India. Counted among the smallest of Indian states, Sikkim packs a punch for every traveller. Seek nirvana among the bountiful nature or indulge in activities exclusive for adrenaline junkies.
Where is Sikkim? A picturesque Indian province located in the northeast, look west – you find Nepal and look north and east – PRC’s Tibet Autonomous Region surrounds Sikkim (capital city: Gangtok).
For a nature buff, prepare yourself for an unending quest. World’s third highest peak – Kangchenjunga at 28, 169 ft – graces the border between Sikkim and Nepal. There are 28 other peaks in this state alone. You can choose to either just gaze at their magnificence or enjoy sports like mountain biking, trekking and more. Rivers, lakes, hot springs, glaciers are other features that make up the landscape of Sikkim.
Strictly, do not complete your Sikkim travel without visiting a lake here. Menmecho lake, Tsomgo lake, Khecheopalri lake, Samiti lake –just some of the several high altitude lakes. A magical experience awaits you!
Sikkim is one of those rare places where the climatic condition ranges from tropical and temperate to tundra around the higher reaches of the peaks. The flora and fauna finds extreme diversity thanks to such climatic vibrance. The famed snow leopards and Asian black bears make their home in the mountains here. There are hundreds of species of birds and over a thousand varieties of butterflies. A trekking trip undertaken would be a trek right in the paradise.
Getting lost among the paradisiacal nature is a probability but not among people. Unlike many other Indian states and cities, this place stands out for being the least populated. A warm and gentle smile graces the faces of the locals here. This is a sure sign of their willingness to let you integrate with the folks and culture of this land.
Nepali is the language spoken by majority! Other than Nepali, there are 11 languages native to Sikkim. English is also spoken widely around here. This is certainly good news for a lot of travellers.
Apart from the visual treat that Sikkim is, it’s a spiritual destination too. Buddhism deeply flourishes in the state. There are several beautiful monasteries that showcase the less-known Tibetan architecture and art. The Enchey Monastery is an ancient monastery located amidst dense forest on the Kangchenjunga mountain range. ‘Chaam Festival’ is celebratedhere once in three years and is a major attraction. The Lamas perform their traditional dance wearing spectacular outfits. Otherimpressive monasteries include Rumtek Monastery, Pemayangste MonasteryandGonjang Monastery. There are elegant temples, mosques, churches and gurudwaras all managed by the unique Ecclesiastical Department of the Government . The influence from neighbouring Nepal and Tibet and presence of diverse ethnicity have both left strong imprints and make the culture of Sikkim what it is today.
Festivals in Sikkim breathe extra life in an already lively and vibrant setting. Beautiful dance presentations, costumes, rituals mark most of these festivals.Someof the unique ones you should try and be a part of include:
Bhum Chu–A never-heard-before kind of festival, Bhum Chu is celebrated at the Tashiding Monastery with the purpose of forecasting Sikkim’s future!
International Flower festival – A massive tourist attraction, held every summer around March-May.
Tihar – What Diwali is to a lot of other Indians, Tihar is to the people of Sikkim. It’s an important festival of the Hindus and celebrated with much fanfare.
Losar–Losar is the Tibetan New Year celebrated in the month of February.
Drupka Teshi – An important religious festival for the Buddhists, the celebrations end with organizing yak races. Who’d want to miss?
KangchenjungaFestival – Held in the month of December, be a part of this festival and enjoy activities like mountain biking, bird-watching, kayaking, trekking and more.
Words can’t describe what the beauty of Sikkim eyes and heart can capture. Take a break from the hectic city life and discover a world unlike yours. Plan a long tour if you wish to explore the abundance Sikkim has to offer.