Location: Eastern Himalayan Region
Major Peak: Kangchenjunga
Best Time To Visit: March To May & October To December
Kangchenjunga Peak - Sikkim's Guardian Deity
Shrouded In Heavy Mist, the guardian deity Kangchenjunga both protects and terrifies the inhabitants of the magical kingdom of Sikkim . An awe-inspiring mass of rock clothed in dazzling white snow, this Himalayan giant in the world’s third highest peak at 8,590m (28,199ft). The name itself means 'House of Five Treasures’ represented by its five soaring summits. These treasures are the gold lacquered on it by the rising and setting sun, the silver from its mantle of virgin snow, and the jewels of the scriptures containing the teachings of the Gods and enlightened reincarnates.
Omnipresent and mystical , Kanchenjunga finally yields to nature’s power and sheds ite monsoon veil in Autumn. Sikkim’s inhabitants celebrate this re-awakening with great pomp and ceremony during the Pang Lhabsol Festival. It then becomes easy to believe the myth that a great God created, from beneath the slopes of this sacred mountain, the original man and women from whom all Sikkimese are descended.
SikkimGlimpses Of Sikkim
A former kingdom , Sikkim is now the 22nd State of India . It is rooted to the Himalayan Massif like a scale on the neck of a Dragon. The various ethnic groups have their own nomenclature - the Nepalese call it “Sukhim” or “New Home”, to the Tibetans it is known as “Denzong” or “the Valley of Rice”, and to the Lepchas, Sikkim’s original inhabitants , it means “Nye-Mal-Ale” or “Heaven”.
The state’s 64-km width is squeezed between the mountainous kingdoms of Bhutan and Nepal to the east and west respectively. The high plateau of China’s province of tibet lies 40-km to the north and India’s Bengal state to the south. Within Sikkim’s 113-km north - south delineation the altitude rises steeply from 253m to 8,595 (800 ft to 28,199 ft) and encompass allmost all the climatic zones found on earth.
Sikkim is divided into four districts - East, West, North and South. The most populated area is the eastern district which contains the capital town Gangtok, followed by the southern and western districts , and finally the sparsely populated northern area with its inhospital climate and steep ridges.
Climate Of Sikkim
The climate varies with elevation and ranges from tropical in the low valley bottoms to Arctic-like conditions of perpetual snow and ice in the higher reaches. The annual rainfall varies from 50-200 inches, mostly during May-October months, and snow in the upper levels often accumulates to a thickness of 30m. The best time to visit this state is during the months of March to late May and from October to December.
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Gangtok - Sikkim's Capital Gangtok - Sikkim's Capital
Sikkimese life is centred around Gangtok. Its Buddhist past is the root of its appeal for visitors, and remains evident at the impressive Institute of Tibetology, the Enchey Monastery, Pemayengtse and the marvellous Rumtek Monastery not far away, the last a thriving centre of Mahayana Buddhism. Sikkim's pride, the orchid, is nurtured at the Orchid Sanctuary and other sites in and around Gangtok.
People & Culture Of Sikkim
The population of Sikkim is divided into three distinct ethnic groups - Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese - each adding their unique cultural colour. Out of these, the Nepalese form three-quarters of the population. There are also small groups of Indians from various parts of the country including a community of Muslims and a handful of Tibetan refugees. Despite the diversity, the Sikkimese people live in peace and harmony.
The state's cultural life is related to Tibetan religious and aesthetic traditions. The cultural climax of the year comes with the 2-day Phanglhapsol festival, when masked dances are performed in honour of Kanchenjunga, presiding deity and the mountain. There are also many secular folk dances. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology has one of the largest collection of Tibetan books in the world. Many Buddhist monasteries are repositories of artistic treasures, including wall paintings, Tankas or Thangkas, and bronze images.
River Rafting Adventure Sports In Sikkim
Sikkim, offers a holiday that is more like a voyage of adventure and discovery. When the misty rain wraps the slopes in lacy wisps of clouds, you will find yourself trekking at 14,000 ft or more. If you are more enthusiastic about the thrills of untamed waters, then go for some Rafting or Kayaking experience in Teesta River. And as the mountain scopes of Eastern Himalayas are so luring, how about having a mountaineering expedition and conquering those virgin peaks, which are craving to be explored! The ones looking for safari trips check out the Yak Safari's that is an unforgettable experience in itself.