SIKKIM
Small but Beautiful
SIKKIM
Small but Beautiful

Sikkim is a landlocked Indian statelocated in the Himalayan mountains. The state is bordered by Nepal to the west, China's Tibet Autonomous Regionto the north and east, and Bhutan to the east. The Indian state of West Bengal lies to the south.

Assembly of Sikkim abolished monarchy and resolved to be a constituent unit of India. A referendum was held on these issues and majority of the voters voted yes. On May 15, 1975 the President of India ratified a constitutional amendment that made Sikkim the 22nd state of India.

According to legend, the Buddhist guru Padmasambhava visited Sikkim in the 8th century AD, introduced Buddhism and foretold the era of the Sikkimese monarchy. Sikkim's Namgyal dynasty was established in 1642. Over the next 150 years, the kingdom witnessed frequent raids and territorial losses to Nepalese invaders. In the 19th century, it allied itself with British India, eventually becoming a British protectorate.

Population (2011): 610,577

Literacy: 82.2%

Official language: Nepali (which is its lingua franca), Sikkimese, Lepcha, Tamang, Limbu, Newari, Rai,Gurung, Magar, Sunwar and English.

Admission to Indian Union: 15 May 1975

Religion: Predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism.

Flora and Fauna: Sikkim is situated in an ecological hotspot of the lower Himalayas, one of only three among the ecoregions of India. The forested regions of the state exhibit a diverse range of fauna and flora. Owing to its altitudinal gradation, the state has a wide variety of plants, from tropical species to temperate, alpine and tundra ones, and is perhaps one of the few regions to exhibit such a diversity within such a small area. Nearly 81 per cent of the area of Sikkim comes under the administration of its forest department.

Orchids, figs, laurel, bananas, sal trees and bamboo grow in the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests of the lower altitudes of Sikkim. In the temperate elevations above 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) there are Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests, where oaks, chestnuts, maples, birches, alders, and magnolias grow in large numbers, as well as Himalayan subtropical pine forests, dominated by Chir pine. Alpine-type vegetation is typically found between an altitude of 3,500 to 5,000 metres (11,500 to 16,400 ft). In lower elevations are found juniper, pine, firs, cypresses and rhododendrons from the Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. Higher up are Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows, home to a broad variety of rhododendrons and wildflowers.

The fauna of Sikkim include the snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan Tahr, red panda, Himalayan marmot, Himalayan serow, Himalayan goral, muntjac, common langur, Asian black bear, clouded leopard, marbled cat, leopard cat, dhole,Tibetan wolf, hog badger, binturong, and Himalayan jungle cat. Among the animals more commonly found in the alpine zone are yaks, mainly reared for their milk, meat, and as a beast of burden.

Weather & Rainfall

The state has five seasons: winter, summer, spring, autumn, and a monsoon season between June and September. Sikkim's climate ranges from sub-tropical in the south to tundra in the north. Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim experience atemperate climate, with temperatures seldom exceeding 28 °C (82 °F) in summer. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 °C (64 °F).

Sikkim is one of the few states in India to receive regular snowfall. The snow line ranges from 6,100 metres (20,000 ft) in the north of the state to 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) in the south. The tundra-type region in the north is snowbound for four months every year, and the temperature drops below 0 °C (32 °F) almost every night. In north-western Sikkim, the peaks are frozen year-round because of the high altitude, temperatures in the mountains can drop to as low as −40 °C (−40 °F) in winter.

How to reach

By Air: The airport located nearest to Sikkim is Bagdogra Airport of West Bengal which is only 124 Kms away from Gangtok.

By Rail:New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri are the two rail stations nearest to Sikkim located in West Bengal. NJP is 125 Kms and Siliguri is 114 Kms from Gangtok and is well connected to all the major cities.

By Road: The lifeline of Sikkim, which is National Highway 31A connects gangtok with Siliguri and this picturesque highway runs through the lush green forests along the bank of river Teesta on one side and sky touching mountain ranges of Eastern Himalaya on other side. This unique ride of almost two hours will gives you the opportunity to enjoy the valley carpeted with numerous wild flowers.

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