SIKKIM : A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
Sikkim, a tiny Himalayan State has a total area of 7,096 square Kms. Surrounded by three international boundaries, the kaleidoscopic panoramic view of majestic Mt. Kanchendzonga, Sikkim is rich in abundant natural beauties bestowed with the beautiful Himalayan glaciers, the snow clad mountains, the lakes, the waterfall and the rich flora and fauna and rich cultural heritage and tradition.
The previous SDF Government under the leadership of former Chief Minister Pawan Chamlingtook various steps to build up the tourism infrastructure in the state to cope with the recent inflow of domestic and foreign tourists. Indeed Chamling’s Government gave top priority and came up with a master plan to build tourism infrastructure in the State and at the same time looking for avenues of employment to many educated unemployed youths. With this objective, the State Government has chalked out the plan to construct model village in all 30 constituencies by constructing the traditional houses of Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepali so that village tourism as a sustainable development can grow side by side thereby making the people economically self-dependent in this State. One of the most advantageous position for the growth of tourism in Sikkim is that it is one of the most peaceful hill State in India. Now, South Sikkim is already on tourist map with the installation of a large statue of 135 ft. tall in height of Guru Padmasambhav at Samdruptse. Plan is afoot to develop the spot as one of the important Buddhist pilgrimage in South Asia.
The recently operated ropeway from Deorali Bazar to Tashiling secretariat also attracted large number of domestic tourists while the large statue of Guru Padmasambhav at Samdruptse has become another attraction of tourist spot in the South District of the state. Apart from time, many spots of tourists importance have been identified and being development throughout the State.
Similarly, Jorethang in south district is also considered a place of tourist attraction, and many people call it as ‘the gateway of South and West Sikkim’. Jorethang is in the border area of Darjeeling and every year, the great festival, Maghey Mela is observed here at the beautiful valley of river Rongit. Similarly, the great flower festival of orchids and other seasonal flowers are observed at Namchi and Gangtok which has become an annual feature.
Lake, 40 kms. away from Gangtok at an altitude of 3,780 mtrs., Nathula, border between India and China which is 56 Kms away from Gangtok at an altitude of 14,200 feet.Tashi View Point, Himalayan Zoological Park, Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, Aritar etc. More new spots of tourist interest are being explored and developed in East Sikkim.
The Three Major Ethnic Community of Sikkim
Bhutia, Lepcha, Nepali
Who lives in complete harmony
A Bhutia lady in front of her traditional house
In West Sikkim, tourists prefer to visit Pemayangtse Monastery, one of the oldest and historical monasteries in the State. The ruins of Rabdenste, the second capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim is situated near the monastery. The State Government has taken the measure to renovate this historic palace. Khecheopalri or Khechuperi lake is one of the holy lakes both for the Buddhist and the Hindu as a place for pilgrimage and the people come here from very far and distant places every year.Varsey is also one of the spots of tourist interest at an elevation of 10,000 ft.. One can see the rhododendron flowering all over the forest on this spot. In North Sikkim, Yungthang, Thangu and Gur-dongmar lake are very popular tourist spot. Yumthang, at an elevation of 11,800 ft. and 140 Kms from Gangtok is a paradise for nature lovers with a fascinating blend of flora and fauna and breathtaking scenic grandeur.
Apart from that, there are many hot springs, himalayan graciers, waterfalls, monasteries, temples and many other beautiful places to visit in Sikkim. Adventurous tourism like white water rafting on the river Teesta, Trekking, Kayating, Yak riding or Safari, hand gliding etc. also are organized for the tourists.
Para gliding has become the recent craze of the tourists in the state with the successful operation and trial by two energetic youths over the sky of Gangtok and Jorethang.
With the success of the para gliding, adventurous tourism also expected to get fillip in the days to come in Sikkim with the initiative taken by the State government.
Sikkim is not only peaceful, beautiful and with rich flora and fauna but because of culture and tradition as well. The three major ethnic people, Sikkimese Nepali, Bhutia and Lepcha have their own tradition and culture which is very interesting and characteristic.
The main festivals of Sikkim are Maghe Sankranti Mela, Guthor Chaam at Rumtek Monastery, Bhumchu at Tashiding, Lho Rum Faat at Tendong, Pang-Lhabsol, Durga Puja or Dassin, Tyohar, Detor Cham at Enchey Monastery, Kagyed Dance at old Rumtek monstery, Lingdum Monastery, Phodong Monstery, Losoong etc.
The main language or lingua franca of the State is Nepali or Gorkha Bhasa, However, Lepcha speaks in Lepcha language and Bhutia also speak in Bhoti language . English and Hindi are also spoken. The people of Sikkim are very simple, God fearing and nature loving.