Sikkim Tourism Overview

4.3
Ideal duration: 3 - 7 days
Best time: March to June, September to December
Major Airports: Bagdogra in West Bengal

"Home to the Kanchenjunga"

Sikkim Tourism At A Glance

Sikkim, the smallest state of India, is the land of large variety of plants, animals, rivers, mountains, lakes and waterfalls. The mountain peaks, holy lakes, ancient monasteries, orchid nurseries and stunning trekking routes make Sikkim a perfect Holiday destination for you.

More Information About Sikkim

The north eastern charm coupled with the majestic Himalayan snow make Sikkim one of the most beautiful state of the country. Sikkim is endowed with excellent natural resources, gorgeous mountains, beautiful waterfalls and some wonderful landscapes. The ethnic people and the natural beauty, along with modern city life give the city its own character. The Nepalis called this state as 'Sukhim' or the New Place, the Bhutias called it as the 'Demazong' or the Valley of rice and the Lepchas called it as the 'Nye-mae-el lang' or the abode of the Gods. If you are the one whose aesthetic sense is superb, and the one who longs to spend a moment in the lap of Mother Nature then Sikkim invites you with clear sky and fresh air.

What's Great?

Enchanting sceneries. Pleasant weather throughout the year. Not overcrowded. Friendly people.

What's not so Great?

Some areas are prone to landslides in monsoons.

For Whom

Sikkim is perfect for nature fanatics and adventure fiends. Ideal for those who believe in Buddhism.

Local Food and Cuisine of Sikkim

Sikkimese cuisine follows pretty much the same pattern as it derives its flavors ingredients, styles and elements from Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and India, together. It draws inspiration from all that's around and the numerous cultures and religions that it, itself fosters to give you a cuisine that is authentic and defines the area.

Sikkim is a subtle and natural blend of everything in and around. It gives birth to a unique culture which is colourful and twinkling and with which a huge part of the North-East is identified. While staple items of the cuisine are Momos, Thukpa and a local beer 'Chang', fermented foods are popular given the natural conditions. Rice is almost essential in each meal. Add to it a dash of authentic and splendid soups, pickles and handful of meat and vegetable delicacies and you get the colourful and tasteful cuisine of Sikkim.

People and Culture of Sikkim

Sikkim has an interfusion of diverse communities, cultures, religions and customs. The leading communities in Sikkim are the Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese. The people of Sikkim are warm, simple, friendly and slightly shy but they love to celebrate. The Sikkimese culture finds expression in it's beautiful arts and crafts. Languages spoken in Sikkim are Nepali, Bhutia and Limbu. The working language of the government is English and Hindi is the official language.

Geography of Sikkim

Sikkim is located in Eastern Himalayas. It shares its borders with Tibet on the north, Nepal on the west, Bhutan on the east and West Bengal to its south. The world's third highest peak, Kanchenjunga is located on the Nepal-Sikkim border. Tista is the largest river of Sikkim and Rangeet is another major river of the state. About one-third of the state is heavily forested.

The Himalayan mountains surround the northern, eastern and western borders of Sikkim. You can enjoy the scenic views of mountains covered with snow in winters and with lush greenery in summers. Hot springs are also there in Sikkim which is renowned for their medicinal values. Gangtok, the largest city, is also the capital of the state.

History of Sikkim

The history of Sikkim takes us back to the time when Lepchas were the original inhabitants of the state. It is known that Buddhist Saint Guru Rinpoche passed through the land in the 9th century and introduced Buddhism in the state. Buddhism took its distinctive Sikkimese form four centuries later, when three Tibetan monks, dissatisfied with the rise of the reformist Gelukpas, migrated to Yoksum in western Sikkim. Over the centuries, the territory was lost to the Bhutanese, the Nepalese and the British. After the Independence from British rule in 1947, Sikkim remained an independent country. Then, on 26 April 1975, it became a part of India and the 22nd state of the country.

Festivals of Sikkim

The people of Sikkim celebrate scores of festivals with great fervour and enthusiasm. Some of them are-
Losoong Festival- This is held to celebrate the end of harvest season and also the end the tenth month as per Tibetan calendar. People pray for good harvest and better prospects for the coming year.
Losar Festival- It takes place in February to celebrate the Tibetan new year. Yak dance is performed, and processions are carried out.
Lhabab Dheuchen Festival- This one represents the descent of Lord Buddha from the heaven after teaching his deceased mother. The Buddhists celebrate this event with all zest and zeal in Sikkim.
Kagyed Dance Festival- It takes place in around December. The dance performed by monks portrays the destruction of evil forces, and they wish for peace & prosperity in Sikkim.
Pang Lhabsol- This festival actually celebrates the Independence Day of India. The people of Sikkim on behalf of our country seek God's blessings on this day.

Traditional Costumes of Sikkim

Traditional attire of the state is novel and very different from the rest of India. There are three communities in Sikkim- Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalis. They all have different styles of dressing. The traditional dress for females of Lepcha community is Dumdyam or Dumvum, Tago, a loose blouse, Nyamrek or belt and Taro. Lepcha women decorate themselves with traditional ornaments like Namchok, Lyak, Gyar. The females of Bhutia community wear Kho or Bakhu, Hanju, a full-sleeve blouse of silk fabric, Kushen, Shambo and Shabchu.

Gold is an obsession for this community and most of the jewellery items are made up of pure gold. When it comes to Nepali women, they prefer to wear Pharia, a saree with Chaubandi Cholo, a loose blouse. Tharo Cholo is one more variety of blouses worn by the women of this community. Lepcha males? traditional costume is called Thokro-Dum, which consists of white pajamas, Yenthatse and Shambo. The traditional attire of Bhutia males is a Kho or Bakhu which is a loose piece of cloth tied at one side of the neck and waist with a belt. Bhutia males also wear Jya Jya, Yenthatse, Kera and Shambo. Nepali males of Sikkim follow their own culture and tradition with respect to their costumes. They wear Shurval, Daura, Aaskot and Patuki.

Adventures is Sikkim

Sikkim offers you wide variety of thrilling adventures. For trek-lovers, Goechla Trek is the best. You will get to walk through the dense forests and picturesque meadows. River rafting in Teesta river is another adventure which will surely give an adrenaline rush. Yak ride near Tsomgo Lake is also exciting. The yaks are covered with vibrant woollen clothes, bells and strings are hung around their neck.

Biking route in Sikkim from Gangtok to Rangpo is perhaps the longest mountain biking route. The beautiful landscapes with lush greenery can best be viewed from the high mountains. Cable car ride in Gangtok should be added to your to-do-list. It gives you an opportunity to witness the stunning views from the highest point of the city.

Art Forms of Sikkim

There are many art forms which are practised in Sikkim and therefore shopping in the state is never a dull experience.
Carpet Weaving- The Bhutia Community primarily practices the art of weaving. Jute and other rugged materials are used to make best quality rugs.
Wood Carving- Wood carving is a symbolic art of Sikkimese people. Furniture of different designs is made from wood carvings.
Thangka paintings- They are exclusive to the state. The Thangkas are made on cotton canvas, and then drawings are of priests and monks of the Buddhist tradition.
Other Handicrafts- This include Sikkim shawls, jackets, bags and woolen blankets of striking designs and patterns.