Sikkim is an Indian state, landlocked in the Himalayas. It has the lowest population in the country and is the second smallest state in India after Goa in terms of area. Gangtok is the capital city in the state and also the largest in terms of area. The state is a major tourist hub in India and attracts a large number of tourists from across the world.
Kanchenjunga, which is the third highest peak in the world, is located in Sikkim. The state is rich in biodiversity, scenery and culture. The state was merged into India in 1975. It has been invaded in the past and lost major portions of lands to Nepalese invaders. The language widely spoken in Sikkim is Nepalese; other languages such as Tibetan and Dzongkha are also spoken by some people. Hindi is used as a second language and English is used as the official language.
Why Visit Sikkim?
The major tourist attraction in the state is the Rumtek Monastery, which is an important Buddhist structure built in 1959. The Tsongmo Lake in the Gangtok district is considered to be sacred by the Buddhist and Hindu population. The Nathula Pass is located on the Indo-Chinese border. The pass closes in the winters because of the extreme cold weather. A religious destination called Baba Mandir is located eight kilometers from the Nathula Pass. Kabi Lungstok is a historic place where a treaty was signed between the Lepcha and Bhutia Chiefs.
The Gurudongmar Lake is located at an altitude of 5150 meters. The lake is considered to be sacred and pristine. The lake has a close proximity to China and hence is heavily guarded by the Indian Army. The Dzongri trek provides trek enthusiasts with a breath taking scenic landscape.
The major towns in the state are Dzongu in north Sikkim where the Lepcha people reside, Gangtok, Namchi, Mangan, Geyzing, Ravangla, Yuksam and Pelling.
Explore the Culture of Sikkim
The culture in Sikkim is heavily influenced by Nepalese culture. The popular festivals of the state are Bhimsen Puja and Maghe Sankranti. The famous Buddhist festivals celebrated in the state are Loosong, Losar, Lhabab Duechen, Sagar Dawa, Bhumchu and Drupka Teshi. Eid-ul-Fitr and Muharram are celebrated by the Muslims in the state. Christmas is also promoted by the tourism department to attract more tourists during the off season.
The cuisine in Sikkim is basically noodle based and includes dishes like thanthuk, thupka, chowmein, fakthu, wonton and gyathuk. The most popular snack amongst the tourists is Momos, buff or pork served with soup, steamed dumplings filled with vegetables and thupka. Alcohol is widely consumed in the state, with the favorites being whiskey, beer, brandy and rum. Sikkim is the third largest state in India as per capita alcoholism after Haryana and Punjab.
Facts for Tourists
The best time to visit the state is during March to May. The state enjoys a temperate climate and the flowers bloom during that period of time. Sikkim experiences a high tourist influx during the months of June to September. October to mid December is also a good time to visit the state.