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Monday, April 30, 2007

Sikkim


Capital : Gangtok
Principal Languages : Nepali (Official), Bhotia, Lepcha, English

Geography :

Deeply entrenched in the Himalayan Mountain Range, the mountainous state Sikkim has virtually no flat land. With Tibet on its north and northeast, Bhutan on its east, West Bengal on its south, and Nepal on its west, Sikkim boasts Mount Kanchanjunga, the third largest mountain in the world. Within the state, the mountains rise sharply northward, and the rivers flow to the south, creating magnificent sites along the countryside

Important Cities - Towns and Religious - Tourist Place :

Bankhim Natural Garden changu Lake, Dubdi monastery), Gangtok (capital nine mid-1800s, previous capitals were at Yuksam and Rabdantse; one can have excellent views of the entire Kanchenjunga range from any point in the vicinity), Gyalshing, Mangan, Namchi, Pemayantse (monastery), Phodang (monastery), Tashiding (monastery), Rumtek (monastery), Tashi View Point (picnic spot where a panoramic view of Kanchenjunga can be had), Yuksam (meeting place of the great Lamas).

Climate :

Thanks to its varying altitudes, the tiny state of Sikkim contains four major climate zones: tropical from sea level to 5,328 feet (1,624 meters) above sea level, temperate between 5,328 feet and 13,852 feet (1,624 - 4,222 meters), alpine from 13,852 feet to 17,218 feet (4,222 - 5,248 meters), and snowbound at higher elevations. Despite such staggering altitudes, temperatures can rise fairly high in the summer, especially in valleys, and the monsoon season (late June - early September) brings seemingly continuous rains. In total the state sees about 200 inches (5,000 mm) of rain annually.

Location :

Location in the Eastern Himalayas, Sikkim is bounded north by Tibet (China), east by Tibet and Bhutan, south by West Bengal and west by Nepal. It is the least populated State of the Indian Union.

Culture :

Four major ethnic groups compose Sikkim's population. There are the Nepalis (who make up roughly 75% of the population), the Lepchas (who make up about 20 % of the country), the Bhutias, and the Limbus. With significant minority populations, one would think that turmoil and unrest plague the state, but the peoples of Sikkim live in harmony and have come to create one culture. They are even unified by a main language, Nepali. Despite Hinduism being the dominant religion, Buddhism plays a major role in Sikkim custom. People generally have great faith in the Buddha, his teachings, and Buddhism's religious texts. Typically, prayer flags fly at village boundaries in order to fight off evil spirits. Many festivals focus on birth, enlightenment, and the Buddha's attainment of nirvana. Sikkim craft provides some of the most intriguing and practical pieces in the world. Choksees, a native craft, are short wooden tables with extravagant designs. Its most interesting facet is that it can easily be collapsed for transport between homes. The main attraction of the state, however, is the woolen carpet. Made with complicated patterns, the carpets use the brilliant colors of local vegetation and are made from pure sheep wool. They are by far, one of the most impressive products of Sikkim culture.

History :

Sikkim became a full-fledged state of the Indian Union with effect from April 26, 1975. Earlier in September 1974, it became an associate State. The Legislative Assembly adopted a resolution on April 10, 1975 abolishing the institution of Chogyal and seeking for the territory full statehood in the Indian Union. Sikkim is inhabited chiefly by the Lepchas, who are a tribe indigenous to Sikkim with their own dress and language, the Bhutias, who originally came from Tibet, and the Gorkhalis (Nepalis), who entered from Nepal in large numbers in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Economy :

The state government of Sikkim is pushing to boost industrial production in various industries, like carpet weaving, hydroelectric power, and food processing. This is an attempt to shed Sikkim's official label as an "industrially backward area." In spite of rich deposits of copper, lead, zinc, and other minerals, Sikkim is an agrarian society. Crop production centers on rice, corn, wheat, potato, cardamom, ginger, and oranges.

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