Sikkim FAQ

General Information
Flora and Fauna
Permits and transportation
Access
Season
Adventure
Accommodation
Business & Economy
  ◊Handicrafts
  ◊Carpet and Rugs
  ◊Jewelry
  ◊Tea
  ◊Big Cardamom or Bari Klachi
Religion
  ◊Buddhism
  ◊Hinduism

General Information

Map of SikkimPlace : Sikkim
Capital : Gangtok
Area : 7300 Sq. Kms.
Population: 4,06457
Climate Summer: Max. 20.7 C/Min. 13.1 C
Winter Max: 14.9 C/Min. 7.7 C
Best Season Mid February: - late May / October - December
Minerals Copper, Zinc, Lead, Pyrites, Limestone, and coal.
Agriculture Maize and Rice. Millet, Buckwheat, Barley, Pulses, are subsidiary crops.
Cash Crop: Cardamom, ginger, Apples, Oranges, Pine-apples
People three ethnic group, Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese.
Religion Mahayana Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and other religion are also practised.

 

 

Flora and Fauna

Sikkim is densely covered by forest due to heavy rainfall. It can be divided into three zones Tropical zone about 100 metres with its vegetation such as bamboo, fern, pandanus, sal and orchid are found. Dense undergrowth and bush vegetation are found in sub-tropical zone. In the temperate Zone in the northern valley is covered by cherry, laurel, oak, chesnut, Maple, pine and magnolia. Rhododendrons which is abundant is found above (2000 metres ) there are about thirty species . In the north different varieties of Primula is found. There are roughly 4000 variety of flowering plants and shrubs in Sikkim of which orchids are about 700 species with varieties of several in hundreds kinds of butterflies. Regarding the records of Sikkim in wild animals Yeti is believed to be still existing in the Himalayas of Sikkim an expedition was also conducted , there are local people and porters who still talk about witnessing Yeti in the high trekking areas. Snow leopard is found in 4000metres, Himalayan black bear is found in 2000 metres, above this altitude Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Sambar, Marbled Cat, Leopard Cat, Squirrel, Tiger, Panda, Otter, Ovis, Nahura, ovismon Goral and wild boar is also found.

About 500 species of birds are found in Sikkim. Among them the important birds are Pheasants, Partridges Ducks, and Lammergeyer. Trout and Salmon are the principal fish of Sikkim.

GANGTOK is a perfect symbol of the confluence of the past and present - the capital of Sikkim. Built on the flank of the ridge, Gangtok is 1600 meters above sea level. The town's unique ambience derives from the happy blend of tradition and modernity. Alongside the deeply felt presence of Stupas and monasteries, Gangtok also bustles like any other town. But with many of these oasis of quite, those unexpected pockets of peace exist.

Permits and transportation

In addition to an Indian visa, foreign travelers must possess an inner line permit, issued by the Indian Ministry of Home and Affair or New Sikkim House both in New Delhi, to visit Sikkim. The permitis valid for 15 days. If you are visiting the interior regions, you also require a protected area permit which is obtainable in Gangtok from the Department of Tourism. Tour arrangements should be made through a registered travel agent who will handle the official formalities. Transport services are provided by four-wheel drive vehicles. Taxis are available for getting around Gangtok. Sikkim Helicopter Service operators sight seeing flight to different points in Sikkim.

General information

Sikkim is a mountainous land crisscrossed by deep ravines.

Access

from Kathmandu, fly to Bhadrapur in east Nepal (1 hour), then drive to Kakarbhitta (Nepal-India border 34 km), to Siliguri (36 km) and to Gangtok (110 km 3 hours and 30 minutes), Gangtok is also connected by road with Darjeeling (5 hours) and Bhutan (7 hours)

The closest Indian airport is at Bagdogra, 124 km from Gangtok, where scheduled flights operate from Culcutta, New Delhi and Guwahati. Taxis for Gangtok (4 hours) are available at the airport. Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation also operates daily helicopter flight from Bagdora airport to Gangtok (20 minutes). The closest railway stations are Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri (121 km) which are connected to Calcutta, New Delhi, Guwahati and other major Indian cities. Taxis and buses for Gangtok are available at Siliguri.

Season

March to May and October to December are the best times to visit. Bring light woolen clothing during summer (maximum temperature 20.7 degrees Celsius) and heavy woolens during winter (minimum 7.7 degrees)

Adventure

Trekking, mountaineering, rafting and Yak safari.

Accommodation

there are modern hotel and restaurants in Gangtok. Comfortable resort lodges are available in the outlying areas.

Business & Economy

Sikkim Flora and FaunaThe main markets for shopping are Old market, New Market and Lal market. Here one finds shops of all kind which offer good range of items to be purchased. For a tourist there are many attractive items to be bought as carved furniture, the dresses, Lepcha weave bags, Carpets & Durries with intricate designs and colourful decorations. One can also buy wooden and bamboo artifacts. For a collector of handmade decorative pieces Gangtok is a paradise.

The items from Gangtok leave a long lasting impression on the mind of the visitor. The Hindi speaking Marwaris dominates many of the shops in the Gangtok market.

The handicraft and handloom directorate office and the showroom are on crossing of MG Marg and New market. The Gramin Vikas Agency showroom is also located here. In these showrooms you can buy carpets, masks, bright Choktse tables, Thangka hangings.Besides the places of interest, Sikkim also offers the added attraction of shopping.

Handicrafts

A wide variety of handicrafts is available for the tourist to take back as souvenirs, showpieces and even items of daily use in the Government Institute of Cottage Industry and the many curio shops in Gangtok. It is 'worth taking a few handicrafts back home to decorate your Drawing rooms as a remembrance of your visit to Sikkim.

Canvas wall-hangings depicting painting on different aspects of Sikkim can cost from Rs. 20/- to Rs. 200/-. Most of these paintings portray face profiles of tribals, eight lucky signs, dragons, religious processions etc. Thangkas or religious scrolls can also be purchased but these are very expensive and cost above Rs 500/-. Choktsees are small wooden tables about one and half to two feet in height with intricate local Tibetan designs on the sides. They are collapsible and can easily be carried.

Carpet and Rugs

Tibetan woollen carpets are very expensive and are adorned with intricate designs and patterns reflecting the art and culture of this state. Made of pure sheep wool, these carpets use brilliant vegetable dyes.

Jewelry

The exquisitely carved Dragon sets of silver and gold inlaid with precious stones are unique to Sikkim. These consist of finely designed dragons on earrings, pendants, finger-rings etc. and can be ordered either in silver or gold.

Tea

Sikkim tea, which is mainly grown in Temi Tea Estate, is famous the world over and carries a big premium in the world market. The tea is characterized by its exotic taste and flavor and costs about Rs 100/- a kilogram. It sells by the brand name of "Solja" and "Khangchendzonga" and it is a good idea to carry a few packets back home.

Big Cardamom or Bari Klachi

Cardamom or Elachi grows in abundance in Sikkim and costs about Rs 150/- a kilogram. A few hundred grams should be purchased

Religion

Although Buddhism appears to be the predominant religion in Sikkim, the real side of religion in the state is Hinduism. Buddhism is followed by mostly the Tibetans and Bhutias. Hinduism is followed by the Nepalese. Other religions too flourish because of the tolerant mindset of the Sikkimese like Christianity, Sikhism and Muslim.

Buddhism

After Buddha attained Nirvana, differences of opinion arouse in the religion causing the formation of new sects. Finally in about 100 AD a split took place and caused the formation of two schools, which later became known as the Hinayana (Southern) and the Mahayana (Northern). The Hinayana adhered to more primitive Buddhism, which was primarily a primarily a philosophy with rules and ethics and also emphasized upon realisation of Nirvana (freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth) only for oneself by directly worshipping the Buddha. The Mahayana schools believes in attaining Nirvana by worshipping the deities called Bodhisattvas who do not want to attain Nirvana until they have freed all the humanity from suffering. The Mahayana has a wider base as it believes in attaining Nirvana for oneself as well as all suffering humanity.

The native religion of Tibet was called Bon which is said to be founded by Shenrab Mibo. This religion was fused and refined by Buddhism by Guru Padmasambva and this gave birth to the Red Hat Sect of Buddhism. The Red Hat Sect was further reformed by Atisha and the Kadampa sect was established. Tsong-kha-pa modified the Kadampa and led to the formation of the Yellow Sect. The native religion of Tibet was called Bon which is said to be founded by Shenrab Mibo. This religion was fused and refined by Buddhism by Guru Padmasambva and this gave birth to the Red Hat Sect of Buddhism. The Red Hat Sect was further reformed by Atisha and the Kadampa sect was established. Tsong-kha-pa modified the Kadampa and led to the formation of the Yellow Sect.

Tibetan Buddhism is therefore divided into the Red and Yellow Sects. The Red Sect comprises of the Nyingma, Kargya and Sakya lineages and the Yellow Sect consists of the Gelugpa lineaga. Whereas the Nyingma Sect is associated with Guru Padmasambva, the founders of Kargyu and Sakya are said to be Marpa and Sakya Muni respectively. The sects and the lineages are differentiated from each other by the rituals performed, monastic discipline and the founder. However the differences tend to blur with rituals of one lineage overlapping the other.

The Tibetan sacred books are called the Kanjur and the Tanjur. The Kanjur correspond to the teachings of the Buddha whereas the Tanjur are related to the teachings to the Bodhisattvas. Each year of the Buddhist calendar is named after an animal.

Hinduism

Nepali Hindus constitute the majority community in the state. Being orthodox Hindus, they celebrate each Hindu festival with great passion. Dasian is their most important festival followed by Tihar. The Hindu preaching and doctrine is followed strongly by the Nepalis in every aspect of life - be it birth, death, marriage, or any important event of life.

The Brahmins are thus an important part of the Nepali society. They are responsible for performing sacred rituals and rites to commemorate an individuals communication with God. And they do have countless number of deities. Most of them are associated with nature.