If there is heaven on earth then it could be none other than Kashmir wrote one of the noted poet of India but he might have mistaken, he never visited Sikkim. Sikkim may never be as Kashmir but you need to set foot in this mystic land to discover the pleasure of a lifetime.
Sikkim is a home of adventure, trekking and sight seeing. For the readers of Illumine here comes an opportunity to understand this very beautiful state.
Dzongrilla Pass, West Sikkim
The small state of Sikkim in the Indian Union is known throughout the globe for its beautiful floras, majestic Mt Kanchenjunga and path breaking panoramic view of green lush valley. Prior to its merger with India on May 16, 1975, this state was small Himalayan kingdom ruled by the Namgyal Dynasty. The end of 300 years of monarchial system led to the move of democratic system in Sikkim with Lendup Dorji Khangserpa becoming the first Chief Minister of Sikkim. Today Sikkim is new booming travel destination for for the admirer of its beautiful landscape and the people with golden heart.
Changu Lake, Eest Sikkim
On the world map the Sikkim state speck an latitude of 27 degree 04’46” to 28 degree 07’48” N and longitude of 88 degree 00’58” to 88 degree 55’25” E. Sandwiched between the kingdoms of Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east, the 22nd state in the Indian Union covers the area of 7,096 sq km. On its northern border towers the plateau of Tibet and China while the state of West Bengal of Indian Territory falls to it southern border. One of the small least populated states in India, Sikkim according to 2001 Provisional Census stands at 5,40,493 (2,88,217 male and 2,52,276 female). There are four districts in Sikkim that include Gangtok, Geyzing, Namchi and Mangan in the east, west, north and south respectively.
Samdruptse, South Sikkim
The east districts have the largest population of 1,38,762 while the district of north scores the least with 41023. Literacy rate in Sikkim as per 2001 Census is at 69.68% i.e. 76.73 for male and 61.46 for females. The sex ratio in the state is 275 females per 1000 males.
AHouse at Pemayangtse, West Sikkim
Two major rivers of the state the Teesta and the Rangit meet at Melli where they uniform to end at Bay of Bengal. Sikkim is rich in floras and fauna. Over 4000 varieties of plant species found in this state. Sikkim is the home of Orchids; Nobile orchid is the state flower. Here more than 600 different species are found and the two latest new orchid hybrids are named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpee and Late Kalpana Chawla. Rhododendron is the state flower of the state where 35 different species can be seen in full bloom on seasons. Blood Pheasant is the state bird and Red Panda the state animal. Sikkim also houses more than 400 different varieties of butterfly and moths. Parks and sanctuaries in places like Yumthang in North Sikkim and Barsey in West Sikkim are specially made for the visitors for their sightseeing green pastures.
Yumthang valley, North Sikkim
Mt. Kanchenjunga is regarded, as the local deity and the identification of the state in international map. The Pang Lhabsol festival celebrated in Sikkim is very unique and worships the snowy peaks of the guardian deity of Sikkim, Mt. Khangchendonga. It is observed every year for the protection and to grace the land with good harvest, timely rainfall and to prevent from all types of natural calamities.
GENERAL INFORMATION Area : 7,096 sq.kms Population : 5.40 lakhs Density : 76 per/sq.km. District : 4 Temperature : Summer – Max. 21 degree Celsius, Min.13 degree Celsius Winter – Max. 13 degree Celsius, Min. 05 degree Celsius Annual Rainfall : 3894 mm Clothing Needed : Summer – Light Woolens Winter – Heavy Woolens Climate of Sikkim ranges from Tropical to Alpine. Since the State is completely land locked, NH 31A is the only life line and link with other parts of the country. Altitude ranges from almost sea lever to 28,208 ft (8598 mt) i.e Mt.Khan-chen-dzonga, the third highest peak in the world and highest in India.
BIO-DIVERSITY Sikkim is one of the 26 biodivesity hot sopts, a veritable treasure house of some of the world’s most beautiful streams, lakes and waterfalls. The state has rich flora & funna despite having only 0.22% land of the country. State Animal : Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) State Bird : Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis Cruentus) Number of Species and Types Mamamals : 150 Bird : 552 Butterflies : 690 Fish : 48 State Flower : Nobile Orchid (Dendrobium nobile) State Tree : Rhododendron
PERMITS (ENTRY FORMALITIES) Foreigners must obtain Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim. There can be obtained from all Indian Missions, Sikkim Tourism Offices at New Delhi, Kolkatta, Siliguri and Rangpo on the strength of an Indian Visa. The 15 days duration Permit is issued on the spot without any delay provided photocopies of the passport and visa details along with two pass port photos of the applicants are made available. The permissible duration of the stay by the foreign tourist is 15 days initially. The State Government is authorized to extend the same twice by the further period of 30 days. The extension of the permits can be obtained from FRO at Gangtok and Superintendent of Police of the North, West and South Districts. For those interested in going for trekking in the interior region of the state, the Department of Tourism issues Protected Area Permit (PAP) at Gangtok which is available for certain specified area for groups consisting of two or more foreigners subjects to the condition that the trekking programme is arranged through a registered travel agency.
TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION Nearest airport for Sikkim is Bagdogra in North Bengal which is 124 kms and approximately 4 hrs drive form Gangtok. There are Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Deccan Airways, etc. services operating from Bagdogra linking Kolkatta, Guwahati and New Delhi. Sikkim Tourism operates daily a five – seater helicopter services between Gangtok and Bagdogra connecting all civil flights.
RAIL The two closest railway stations are Siliguri 141 kms and New Jalpaiguri 125 kms connecting Kolkatta, Delhi, Guwahati, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar, Hyderabad, Banglore, Chennai and other important cities of India..
ROAD Gangtok is connected by all weather roads with Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Siliguri and also all District Headquarters. The Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) plies regular bus service from Gangtok to all major cities and town in North Bengal and with the state.