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<< Indian Himalayas << Himalayan Destinations >> << Sikkim >>

Sikkim

Fast Facts:-

Location Eastern Himalayan Region
Area 7,096 sq. Km.
Population 406,457
Latitude 26 degree 12’ and 30 degree 27‘ North.
Major Peak Kangchenjunga
Capital Gangtok
Altitudes 5800 ft. (1547 m)
Languages Are Nepali
Best Visiting Season March to May & October to December

Sikkim Travel

Sikkim is a small region wedged in between the eastern border of Nepal and Bhutan. Until India annexed it in 1975 it was an independent kingdom. This move was undoubtedly motivated by India's fear of the growing Chinese influence in the Himalayas. Sikkim is culturally linked to its neighbors Nepal and Bhutan, and Tibet to the north. Because of its remoteness it does have a specific flavor of its own.  Although the larger part of the approximately 480.000 inhabitants are Hindus of Nepali origin the land has many Buddhist influences as well. The ancient monasteries of Sikkim and beautiful Mount Kangchenjunga are the most important attractions when visiting the region. A former kingdom , Sikkim is now the 22nd State of India .  It is rooted to the Himalayan Massif like a scale on the neck of a Dragon. The various ethnic groups have their own nomenclature - the Nepalese call it “Sukhim” or “New Home”, to the Tibetans it is known as “Denzong” or “the Valley of Rice”, and to the Lepchas, Sikkim’s original inhabitants , it means “Nye-Mal-Ale” or “Heaven”.

It's never been easy to visit Sikkim and even now you need a special permit to enter. The region close to the Tibetan border remains tightly restricted. The enchanting hill station of Darjeeling, which lies in the Indian State of West Bengal, is the starting point for a trip into Sikkim. You can reach Darjeeling by a nights train ride from Calcutta.

Geographical Features

Surrounded by Tibet in the N, Nepal in the W, Bhutan in the E, and by plains of India in the S, Sikkim has many high peaks, though mostly situated on its western border range, called Singalila Range.  Near the  top of this stands Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest in the world.  Many other notable summits rise on this range, N and S of Kangchenjunga, among them Kirat Chuli or Tent Peak (7365m.) Talung (7349m) and Kabu (7317m).  Among spurs branching E into Sikkim from this range in the one carrying the much admired Siniolchu (6887m) practical passes across the Singalila range from Nepal to Sikkim include the Singalila (3142 m), Khang La (5054 m), Ratong La (5197 m) and in the far N, Kongra La (5133m).

Tistsa River in Sikkim rising from the slopes of Kangra La in the far N, is the main river that divides Sikkim almost in half; it is called Lachen Chhu until it is joined by Lachchung Chu at Chuntang. Zemu Chhu, which originates from the Zemu Glacier on the eastern slopes of Kangchenjunga, is a tributary of Lachung and meets it at Zemu Naram, a few Km. North of Lachen monastery. Talung Chhu, with numerous sources in the Talung, South Simvo and Umaram Khaong glaciers further S, meet the Teesta much further S, near Melli Bazaar.  The Tista then flows into the plains of India. Most of the important glaciers are along the Singalila Range and include Lhonak, Upper Zemu, Changsang, South Simvo, Talung and East Ratong.  Glaciers are longer on the W (Nepal) side of the Range.

How to Reach Sikkim

By Air

The busiest route in and out of Sikkim is the road between Gangtok and Siliguri. The town of Bagdogra at a distance of 124 km from Gangtok (Capital of Sikkim) has the nearest airport. Flights from Bagdogra can be booked at the Indian Airlines office on Tibet Road in Gangtok (Phone 03592-23099). There are regular flights to Guwahati, Calcutta, and Delhi from Bagdogra.

By Rail

The nearest railway stations from Gangtok are New Jalpaiguri (125 km) and Siliguri (144 km) connected to Delhi, Calcutta, Guwahati, and other important cities in India.

By Road

Gangtok is connected by road to Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Siliguri. Cars, luxury coaches and jeeps are available for hire in the town. There are also regular bus services run by the Sikkim Nationalized Transport.

Sightseeing Places Sikkim

Kangchenjunga National Park

Kangchenjunga itself ( 28,179 ft/ 8589 meters ). Access to the heart of Kangchenjunga National Park, including the vast Zemu Glacier, is generally only permitted to mountaineering expeditions or experienced trekking parties using the service of a recognized travel agency. The park has an impressive range of animals and birds, leopards, clouded leopards, tahr, musk deer, bharal, scrow, snow leopard, red panda and binturong.

Gangtok

The capital of Sikkim, Gangtok (which means 'hilltop'), sprawl down the west side of a long ridge flanking the Ranipul River. The scenery is spectacular and there are excellent views of the entire Kangchenjunga range. Gangtok its captivating architectural beauty radiates with pagoda-like wooden houses, painted turquoise roofs and gay bazaars. Undoubtedly modern times have wound their way into this picturesque town, but the gently swaying and elegant costumes of the Sikkimese people, their smiling faces, the unhurried pace of their life-style.  M o r e  I n f o.

Mountaineering in Sikkim

The first priority to mountaineering in Sikkim there arranged the plastic boots and Crampons with front Points, Mountaineering harness, mountaineering ice-axe, climbing sling and two locking carabineers, telescopic ski-sticks, Prussik loops, Climbing helmet are some of the essential equipment needed for mountaineering.

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