|Area||7096 Sq. Kms.|
|Total Forest Cover||47.34%|
|State Animal||Red Panda|
|State Bird||Blood Pheasant|
|State Flower||Dendrobium Nobile (Nobile Orchid)|
|State Tree||Rhododendron Niveum|
|Density of Population||86 Persons per Sq. Km.|
Sikkim, state in India,is located in the northeastern part of the country, in the eastern Himalayas. It is one of the smallest states in India. Sikkim is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north and northeast, by Bhutan to the southeast, by the Indian state of West Bengal to the south, and by Nepal to the west. The capital is Gangtok, in the southeastern part of the state
A part of the Eastern Himalaya, Sikkim is notable for its biodiversity, including alpine and subtropical climates, as well as being a host to Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest on Earth. Sikkim's capital and largest city is Gangtok. Almost 35% of the state is covered by the Khangchendzonga National Park.
Long a sovereign political entity, Sikkim became a protectorate of India in 1950 and an Indian state in 1975. Its small size notwithstanding, Sikkim is of great political and strategic importance for India because of its location along several international boundaries. Area 2,740 square miles (7,096 square km). Pop. (2011) 607,688.
People and Culture
The People of Sikkim consist of three ethnic groups, that is, Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepali. Communities of different hues intermingle freely in Sikkim to constitute a homogenous blend. Hindu Temples coexist with Buddhist Monasteries, Churches, Mosque and Gurudwara. The predominant Communities are Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese. These myriad Cultures has produced a quintessential Sikkimese Culture that encompasses all ways and walk of life, but has also managed to preserve their own identity. These can also be seen in the various places of Worship, Festivals and Cultural dances that are celebrated through the year
The native Sikkimese consist of the Bhutias, who migrated from the Kham district of Tibet in the 14th century, and the Lepchas, who are believed to have migrated from the Far East. Tibetans reside mostly in the northern and eastern reaches of the state. Migrant resident communities include Bengalis, Biharis and Marwaris,who are prominent in commerce in South Sikkim and Gangtok.
The official languages of the state are English, Nepali, Sikkimese (Bhutia) and Lepcha. Additional official languages include Gurung, Limbu, Magar, Mukhia, Newari, Rai, Sherpa and Tamang for the purpose of preservation of culture and tradition in the state.
Nepali is the lingua franca of Sikkim, while Sikkimese (Bhutia) and Lepcha are spoken in certain areas. English is also spoken and understood in most of Sikkim. Other languages include Dzongkha, Groma, Hindi, Majhi, Majhwar, Thulung, Tibetan, and Yakha.
The major languages spoken as per census 2001 are Nepali (62.61%), Sikkimese (Bhutia) (7.73%), Hindi (6.67%), Lepcha (6.61%), Limbu (6.34%), Sherpa (2.57%), Tamang (1.87%) and Rai (1.64%)
Districts of Sikkim
Sikkim has four districts – East Sikkim, North Sikkim, South Sikkim and West Sikkim.The district capitals are Gangtok,Mangan, Namchi and Gyalshing respectively. These four districts are further divided into 16 subdivisions; Pakyong, Rongli, Rangpo and Gangtok are the subdivisions of the East district. Soreng, Yuksom, Gyalshing and Dentam are the subdivisions of the West district. Chungthang, Dzongu, Kabi and Mangan are the subdivisions of the North district. Ravongla, Jorethang, Namchi and Yangyang are the subdivisions of the South district.
The east district is the most populated with Gangtok being the main administrative and business centre. Apart from the modern attractions of the capital town, in the east you will also find the beautiful Tsomgo Lake, the historically important Nathula pass, as well as many monasteries and temples. Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim and heart of all the business hubs.
Perhaps the most beautiful of the districts, the North offers an exquisite experience for the lover of Nature and alpine scenery. Yumthang alone is enough to satiate the most demanding, with its panoramic Valley of Flowers. During springtime the lush meadows abound with delicate wildflowers that carpet the Valley floor in a rich riot of colors. A must-see here are the Hot Springs and the vibrant Sikkimese tribal culture and customs. 67 kms from Gangtok is the Mangan District Headquarter of North District. A three day music festival is held at Mangan in December every year.
West Sikkim is replete with history and religion. This is where the first Chogyal of Sikkim was consecrated at Yuksum in 1642 and this is where some of the holiest and most important monasteries of Sikkim were established, including Dubdi and Sanga Choling, the first monasteries to be built in Sikkim. West Sikkim is beautiful terrain abounding in lakes and waterfalls and also has great trekking routes. Gyalshing is the head quarter and town of the West District.
South Sikkim, the smallest district belies its size with its variety of tourist attractions. With stupendous view of the Khangchendzonga range, the south of Sikkim is a fairy tale land of picturesque villages and high hills. Near Namchi, the district headquarters is Samdruptse Hill, the site of the 135 feet tall statue of Guru Padmasambhava. In the south too are Tendong Hill and Maenam Hill, of mythical importance to the Lepchas and Bhutias, as well as the tourist destination of Ravangla which hosts the annual Pang Lhabsol festival with great pageantry. Namchi is the district headquarter of South Sikkim which is 78 kms from Gangtok.