SIKKIM

• Location Sikkim is a small landlocked hilly   state situated in the Eastern Himalayas. It is a basin surrounded on three sides by steep mountain walls. • Boundaries The state is bordered by Nepal to the west, China’s Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and east, Bhutan to the east and West Bengal to the south. The state is a Part of the inner ranges of the Himalayas and as such it has no open valley or plains. • Geography The two main rivers are Teesta originating from the Tsolham Lake in North Sikkim, and Rangit originating from the Rathong Glacier in West Sikkim. Other significant rivers include, Rongni Chu, Tatung, Lachung. Sikkim is also home to many hot water springs like, Ralang Sachu, Phur-Cha, Yumthang, Momay. Kanchenjuaga situated on Sikkim’s western border with Nepal dominates the land with its awe-inspiring beauty and majesty and its splendid height of 28,208 feet which makes it the third highest mountain in the world. Besides the Kanchenjunga, other major peaks in the state include Jongsang (7459 m), Tent Peak (7365 m), Pauhunri- (7 125 m), Sinioulchu (6887 m), Pandim (6691 m), Rathong (6679 m), Tatung (6147 m) and Koktang (6147 m). The Singalila range forms the barrier between Sikkim and Nepal in the west, while the Dongkya range is at the border with China on the east. There are many passes across this range that allow access to the Chumbi Valley.

• Climate Sikkim exhibits a variety of climatic types, from almost tropical conditions in the south to severe mountain climates in the north. The state has five seasons : winter, summer, spring, autumn, and a monsoon season between June and September. Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim experience a temperate climate, with temperatures seldom exceeding 28 degree C in summer. The average_annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 degree C. 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 month every year, and the temperature drops below 0 degree C 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 degree C in winter. During the monsoon, heavy rains increase the risk of landslides. The record for the longest period of continuous rain in Sikkim is 11 days. Fog affects many parts of the state during winter and the monsoons, making transportation perilous.

• History The early history of Sikkim starts in the 13th century with the signing of a blood-brotherhood treaty between the Lepcha Chief. Thekong-Tek and Tibetan prince Khye-Bumsa at Kabi Lungtsok in north Sikkhim. This follows the historical visit of three revered saints to Yuksam in 1641 in west Sikkim where they met Phuntsok Namgyal, a sixth generation descendant of Khye-Bumsa, and formally consecrated him as the first Chogyal (religious king) of Sikkim at Yuksam in 1642. Thus heralding the beginning of the Namgyal Dynasty in Sikkim. In 1975, the Prime Minister of Sikkim appealed to the Indian Parliament for Sikkim to become a state of India. In April of that year, a referendum was held in which 97.5 per cent of voters supported abolishing the monarchy, effectively approving union with India. On 16 May 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union, and the monarchy was abolished. To enable the incorporation of the new state, the Indian Parliament amended the Indian Constitution. First, the 35th Amendment laid down a set of conditions that made Sikkim an ‘Associate State,’ a special designation not used by any other state. Later, the 36′ Amendment repealed the 35th Amendment, and made Sikkim a full state, adding its name to the First Schedule of the Constitution. Kazi Lhendup Dorji was the first Chief Minister.

 • The People The Lepcha peoples are considered to be the original inhabitants of Sikkim. Invasions from Tibet brought the Bhutia to this stare from the fourteenth century onwards. Nepali migi’ants were encouraged by the British administrators. In fact there was a five-fold increase in the number of Nepalis between 1891 and 1931. Three-quarters of Sikkim’s population is Nepalese in origin, Speaking Nepali (Gorkhali) dialects and mostly Hindu in religion .1nd culture. The Bhutia, Lepcha, and Limbu are significant minorities; they speak Tibeto-Burman dialects and practise Mahayana Buddhism and the pre-Buddhist Bon religion. Migrants from mainland India since 1985 have added to the Hindu population, and there are also a small number of Christians and Muslims. The population is mostly rural, living in scattered hamlets and villages. Gangtok, with fewer than 40,000 people, is Sikkims largest settlement; other towns, in descending order of population, include Singtam, Rongphu, Jorthang, Nayabazar, Mangan, Gyalshing and Namchi. o Culture Sikkim is famous for its mask dance that is performed by lamas, in gompas. The Kagyat dance is performed every 28th and 29th day of the Tibetan calendar. The dance is one of solemnity inter-spersed with comic relief provided by jesters. Different communities in the state have different festivals. Saga .Dawn is an auspicious day for the Mahayana Buddhists and they go to monasteries to offer butter lamps and worship. Monks take out a procession that goes around Gangtok with holy scriptures. Phang Lhabsol is a unique festival that is celebrated to offer thanks to Mount Kanchenjunga. The biggest and most important festival of the Hindu-Nepali population is Dasain. It is celebrated in September/October and symbolises the victory of good over evil. Tyohar or Dipawali is the festival of lights and is celebrated 10 days after Dasain. Other festivals include Drupka Tseshi that is celebrated around August. Losoong is the Sikkimese New Year which [s celebrated in the last week of December, while Losar is the Tibetan New Year and is celebrated around February.

• Agriculture and Economy Copper, lead, zinc, coal, graphite and limestone are among the minerals found in the State, though not all are.commercially exploited. Forest resources and hydroelectric potential are considerable. Sikkim, however, is predominantly aOricultural. Maize, rice,.buckwheat, wheat, and barley are produced in terraced fields along the flanks of the valley. Beans, ginger, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, and tea also are grown. Sikkim is one of the world’s main producers of cardamom (Elaichi). Livestock includes cattle, pigs, sheep, yak, goats and poultry. Until the early 1970s, Sikkim had only cottage industries producing handwoven textiles, carpets, and blankets – as well as traditional handicrafts such as embroidery, scroll paintings, and wood carving. There are now a number of small-scale industries. Because of its hilly terrain and poor transport infrastructure, Sikkim lacks a large-scale industrial base. Brewing, distilling, tanning and watchmaking are the main industries, and are mainly located in the southern regions of the state, primarily in the towns of Melli and Jorethang. Despite the state’s minimal industrial infrastructure, Sikkim’s economy has been among the fastest-growing in India since 2000. Sikkim plans to become the first state in India to transition its agriculture to entirely organic cultivation by 2015. In recent years, the government of Sikkim has extensively promoted tourism. As a result, state revenue has increased 14 times since the mid-1990s. The opening of the Nathu La pass on 6 July 2006, connecting Lhasa, Tibet, to India, was billed as a boon for Sikkim’s economy. However, trade through the pass remains hampered by government restrictions in both India and China.

Some Basic Data : Sikkim

Date of Formation : 16 May 1975

 Area : 7,096 sq km

Capital : GANGTOK

Population (2011) : 6,10,577

 Male : 3,23,070

Female : 2,87,507

Density (2011) : 86 persons per sq km

Sex Ratio (2011) : 890 female per 1000 male

 Literacy (2011) : 81.42%

 Male : 86.55%:  

Female : 66.39%

No. of Districts 4

Village : 450

Towns : 9

 Principal Cities/Towns Gangtok, Namchi, Gyalshing, Lache Mangan, Jelep La, Rumtek, Yunthan

Languages : Nepali, Lepcha, Bhutia, Hindi, Limbu.

: Per Capita Income : NA

State Symbols

 State Bird : Blood Pheasant

State Flower : Noble Orchid

State Animal : Red Panda

State Tree : Rhododendron

Members of Legislative Assembly : 32

Members of Lok Sabha : 1

Members of Rajya Sabha :1

• Education There are a total of 1,157 schools in the state, including 765 schools run by the state government, seven central goVernment schools and 385 private schools. Twelve colleges and other institutions in Sikkim offer higher education. The largest institution is the Sikkim Manipal University of Technological education programs in diverse fields. There are two state-run polytechnic schools, the Advanced Technical Training Centre (ATTC) and the Centre for Computers and Communication Technology (CCCT), which offer diploma courses in various branches of engineering. Sikkim University began operating in 2008 at Yangang. Sciences, which offers higher education in engineering, medicine and management. It also runs a host of distance

Districts of Sikkim-

District :- East  Area(sq km) 954,  Population (2011 census)- 2,81,293, Headquarters- Gangtok.North-     4,226, 43;354, Mangan. South- 750, 1,46,742, Namchi. West- 1,166, 1,36,299, Gyalshin.

• Tourist Centres Sikkim has become a new destination for domestic and foreign tourists. It is a cool and peaceful place, providing a variety of options. Though foreign tourist flow remains almost constant, the number of domestic tourists is on the increase. Inner line permits are required for foreigners to enter this state. Places of tourist interest are Rumtek monastery (24 km from Gangtok, at an altitude of 1,550 m), Changu lake (36 km from Gangtok, at an altitude of 3,774 m), Gezing (112 km from Gangtok), Pemayangtse monastery (120 km from Gangtok at an altitude of 2,085 m), Pelling monastery, Khechopari lake (26 km from Gangtok), Phodong monastery (35 km from Gangtok), Yumthang hot spring (135 km from Gangtok, at an altitude of 3,700 m) Kanchendzonga National Park etc. North Sikkim district has a special attraction for nature lovers. The 140-km route to Yumthang (3,658 m from Gangtok) has a fascinating blend of breathtaking views, hot springs, and an .alpine environment. River-rafting is popular in Tista and Rangeet rivers. Other sports enjoyed by tourists include yak safaris, mountain biking, and hang-gliding.

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