Small but beautiful. Sikkim is situated in the eastern Himalayas . Spread below the Mount Khanchendzonga (8534 mts), the third highest mountain in the world, and revered by the Sikkimese as their protective deity. With an area of 7,300 sq kms and measuring approx. 114 kms from the north to south and 64 kms from east to west, the elevation ranges from 300 mts to over 8540 mts above sea level.
Amidst the grandeur of the mountain peaks, lush valleys, fast flowing rivers, hills, Sikkim offers her visitors a rare and singular experience. Within a matter of hours one can move from the sub tropical heat of the lower valleys to the cold of the rugged mountain slopes that reach up to the area of perpetual snow .
Sikkim is the 22nd state of India came into existence with effect from 26th April, 1975. Sikkim has been divided into four districts and each district has further been bifurcated into two sub-divisions for administrative purpose. Sikkim state being a part of inner mountain ranges of Himalayas, is hilly having varied elevation ranging from 300 to 8540 meters. But the habitable areas are only up to the altitude of 2100 mtrs. Constituting only 20% of the total area of the state. The highest portion of sikkim lies in its north west direction.
A large number of mountains having altitudes of about seven thousand meters stands here with - Kanchenjunga (8598 m.), The third highest peak in the world. The high serrated, snow capped spurs and peaks of Kanchenjunga look attractive consisting of Kumbha Karna (7711 m.), Pendem (6706 m.), Narsingh (5825 m.), Kabru Dome (6545 m.), etc.
A number of glaciers descends from eastern slopes of Kanchenjunga into Sikkim where snow clad line is found above 5300 mtrs. The biggest of them is Zemu, from whose snout above Lachen monastery rises the river Teesta. Teesta is the main river and its main tributaries are Zemu, Lachung, Rangyong, Dikchu, Rongli, Rangpo and Rangit which form the main channel of drainage from the north to the south. It boasts of the great mount Kanchendzonga as its crown.
Ethically Sikkim has mainly three groups of people viz. Nepalis, Bhutias, Lepchas. The local language is Nepali. English is the official language. This jewel- like mountain state of ethereal beauty with an area of 7299 sq. kms , nestles in the heart of Himalayas. Cradled in the manifold splendors of nature deep within the snow clad Himalayas is Sikkim's capital Gangtok.
Wrapped in mists and clouds. A garden state with an incredible variety of orchids, rhododendrons, gladioli and a host of other flowers. Rustling, tumbling streams and torrents. Mountain monasteries and quaint shopping plazas. This is Sikkim.
Gangtok City: The capital city of the state is now a sprawling urban settlement. Quaint pagoda-roofed houses and colorful monasteries teeming with red-robed lamas sum up Gangtok for you.
Rumtek Monastery: Only 24kms from Gangtok, the magnificent monastery is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Gangtok. It is the residence of 16th Gyalwa Karmapa. houses some of the world's most unique religious scriptures and religious art objects.
Tsomgo Lake: Some 40kms from Gangtok, Tosmgo is a tranquil lake surrounded by frozen hillsides. A drive further uphill would take you to the Nathula Pass, which gives you a bird's eye view of Indo-China frontier. Mind it, entry is restricted for foreign nationals.
Pelling (Pemyangtse): In the western district of Sikkim, Pemyangtse is a picture perfect destination. It offers a breathtaking view of the world's 3rd highest peak of Mount Kanchendzonga. The little place is home to a number of tourist attractions in Gangtok, namely
Pemyangtse Monastery It is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim, located on a hilltop at a height of 6840 ft. Apart from it, there are many other monasteries Pelling like: Sangachoeling Monastery, Dabdi Monastery, Tashiding Monastery and so on.
Khechepalri Lake The sacred lake has crystal clear water. They say that the birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake surface.
Alongside the above, tourist attractions in Sikkim include, plethora of Alpine flora and fauna. Sikkim is also a trekkers' paradise. You can do mountaineering in numerous peaks in and around the state or do white water rafting along the turbulent rivers of the Teesta and the Rangit.
How to Reach Sikkim by Air: The state does not have any airport in it. But the nearest Airport is Bagdogra (near Siliguri) in Sikkim, which lies only 125kms away from Gangtok the capital of Sikkim. Bagdogra is connected to cities like Delhi and Kolkata by regular flights.
How to Reach Sikkim by Road: Although the state of Sikkim lies at the foothills of the Himalayas, it has a good network of roads. The state can be entered through northern areas of Sikkim. Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Siliguri are directly connected to Gangtok and other cities of the state. But during the monsoon seasons sometimes, landslides create temporary problems in road transport.
How to Reach Sikkim by Rail: The state does not have any rail network in its boundary. The nearest Railways Station is New Jalpaiguri (near Siliguri), which is connected to Gangtok by road. New Jalpaiguri boasts of an extensive rail network with major Railway Stations in India, such as Kolkata, Delhi. It is also conveniently linked to the cities of Northeastern India like, Guwahati.