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Sikkim: The India State of Khanchendzonga


Key Facts

  • Location: Sikkim is a state in Northeastern India.
  • Capital and Largest City: The capital and largest city of Sikkim is Gangtok.
  • Borders: Sikkim shares its borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and West Bengal in the south. It is also close to India’s Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh.
  • Population and Size: It is the least populous and the second smallest among the Indian states.
  • Climate: Sikkim experiences both alpine and subtropical climates. It is home to Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and the third-highest on Earth.
  • Khanchendzonga National Park: Nearly 35% of the state is covered by the Khangchendzonga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Buddhist Saint: The Buddhist saint Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, is said to have passed through the land in the 8th century.
  • Nathu La Pass: Nathu La pass is a key geographical feature of the state. It was part of the ancient Silk Route and played a role in the India-China war of 1962.
  • Rivers: The River Teesta and its tributaries flow through the state from north to south, serving as the main waterway of Sikkim.
  • Hot Springs: Sikkim boasts about its five major hot water springs, known for their medicinal and therapeutic properties. Some of them are located at Borang, Ralang, and Yumey Samdong.
  • Ban Jhakri Waterfalls: The Ban Jhakri waterfalls near Gangtok are a major tourist attraction.
  • Biodiversity: Sikkim is known for its rich biodiversity, with over 500 different species of orchids, 11 species of oaks, 23 varieties of bamboo trees, and over 400 different medicinal plants.
  • Forests: More than 81% of Sikkim’s area is covered by forests, with trees like sal, figs, bananas at lower elevations, and chair, pine, oaks, and maple trees at higher altitudes.
  • Khangchendzonga National Park: This national park includes the world’s third-highest mountain, Kangchenjunga.
  • Wildlife: The main animals found in Sikkim are yak and musk deer.
  • Organic Farming: Sikkim is the first Indian state known to have implemented organic farming and is often called the first organic state.
  • Agriculture: The main agricultural products of Sikkim include maize, paddy, millet, wheat, barley, oranges, potatoes, apples, and cardamom. Sikkim has the largest area for cardamom production and is the highest producer of large cardamom in India.
  • Orchids: Sikkim is rich in many species of orchids.
  • Monasteries: Rumtek and Phodong monasteries are famous religious spots depicting Buddhist culture in Sikkim. Other famous monasteries include Enchey monastery, Pemayangtse monastery, Phensang monastery, and Tashiding monastery.
  • Gumpa Dance: Sikkim is known for the Gumpa dance, which is performed by Buddhists during the Losar (New Year) festival.
  • Historical Names: In Lebanese language, Sikkim is called “Drenjong,” meaning the valley of rice. In Bhutan, it is called “Beyul Demazong,” which means the hidden valley of rice. In ancient times, Sikkim was also called “Indrakil,” meaning the garden of Lord Indra.
  • Blue Sheep: Blue Sheep, also known as Baharal, inhabit one of the highest ecological niches in the world, especially in the Green Lake basin and around the Doukia Pass.
State AnimalRed Panda
State BirdBlood Pheasant
State TreeRhododendron
State FlowerNobile orchid
RiversLachung, Rangeet, Tista
TribesLimboo, Bhutia, Tamang, Lepcha
Protected AreasKanchendzonga National Park (KNP), Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary
LakesTsomgo, Menmecho, Lampokari, Khecheopalri, Gurudongmar
Hot SpringsYumthang Hot Spring, Yume Samdong Hot Spring, Reshi Hot Spring, Borong Cha-chu Hot Spring, Ralong Cha-chu Hot Spring
PassesNathu La, Jelep La, Dingkia
FestivalsLosar, Saga Dawa, Lhabab Duechen, Drupka Teshi and Bhumchu are among the Buddhist festivals. Traditional local festivals, such as Maghe Sankranti, Sakela, Chasok Tangnam, and Bhimsen Puja
LanguagesGurung, Limbu, Magar, Mukhia, Newar, Rai, Sherpa, and Tamang
GI TagsSikkim Large Cardamom, Dalle Khursani
CavesSikkim has Four Great Holy Caves – ‘Phug Chen Zhi,’ which are included in ‘gNas-chen-InGa’ (Paanch Dhaam) of Sikkim. These Caves are located at four cardinal directions of Tashiding (West Sikkim), namely –Sharchog Beyphug in the East, Lho Kando Sangphug in the South, Nub Dechenphug in the West, and Jhang Lhari Nyingphug in the North. Tashiding, according to Holy text, is the Navel point of “Bayul Demajong,” and is considered as the 5th Dhaam of this Holy Land.
MonasteriesPemayangste, Tashiding, Rumtek, Enchey, Phensang, Ralong, Phodang, Tolung, Labrang Palden Phuntsok Monastery

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