Sikkim (North-East India)

Sikkim became the 22nd state of India in the year 1975. Till then, it was an independent kingdom. Its capital is Gangtok. The main language spoken here is Nepali. It is bordered on the north by Tibet, east by Tibet and Bhutan, south by West Bengal and west by Nepal. The original inhabitants of Sikkim were Lepchas, a tribal people. They used to forage into the forests and also cultivate small patches of land. Owing to fierce strife among various sects of Buddhist Lamas in Tibet, during the 15th and 16th centuries, large number of Tibetans migrated into Sikkim. The Tibetans having gained control over the Lepchas, appointed Penchoo Namgyal as the first king of Sikkim in 1641. During 1717 and 1734, when the fouth king was ruling, many battles were fought with Bhutan and some territory was also lost. In 1780, in the battle with Gurkhas, further territory was lost.

With the British entry, the situation was brought under control. At that time, Sikkim comprised of the present state, a part of eastern Nepal, the Chumbi valley (Tibet), the Ha valley (Bhutan) and the terrain foothills , Darjeeling and Kalimpong. Mt. Kanchendzonga, the third highest peak in the world dominates the landscape of Sikkim, protects this land from the onslaughts from outside and hence is revered as guardian deity. Sikkim has only one National Park- the Kanchendzonga National Park which is the highest National Park in India. Seventy five percent of Sikkim's population comprises of Nepalese and rest are Bhutanese and Indians from northern states. About thirty percent of the total population is Buddhist here. Hence there are many ancient Buddhist monasteries which are one of the principal attractions to any visitor to Sikkim .

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