Sikkim
Overview
Sikkim is a landlocked
Landlocked
A landlocked country is a country entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are 48 landlocked countries in the world, including partially recognized states...

 Indian state
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 nestled in the Himalayan mountains. The state borders Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 to the west, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

's Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

 to the north and east, and Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

 to the southeast, while the state of West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

 lies to the south.

With around 600,000 inhabitants, Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 in total area, covering approximately 7096 km² (2,739.8 sq mi).
Encyclopedia
Sikkim is a landlocked
Landlocked
A landlocked country is a country entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas. There are 48 landlocked countries in the world, including partially recognized states...

 Indian state
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

 nestled in the Himalayan mountains. The state borders Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

 to the west, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

's Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

 to the north and east, and Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

 to the southeast, while the state of West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

 lies to the south.

With around 600,000 inhabitants, Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 in total area, covering approximately 7096 km² (2,739.8 sq mi). Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas. The climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine
Alpine climate
Alpine climate is the average weather for a region above the tree line. This climate is also referred to as mountain climate or highland climate....

. Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain of the world with an elevation of and located along the India-Nepal border in the Himalayas.Kangchenjunga is also the name of the section of the Himalayas and means "The Five Treasures of Snows", as it contains five peaks, four of them over...

, the world's third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim's border with Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

. Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

. It also has the only open border
Nathu La
Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass, at 4,310 m above mean sea level, forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. Nathu means "listening ears" and La means "pass" in Tibetan...

 between India and China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. Sikkim's capital and largest city is Gangtok
Gangtok
Gangtok is the capital and largest town of the Indian state of Sikkim. Gangtok is located in the Shivalik Hills of the eastern Himalayan range, at an altitude of . The town, with a population of thirty thousand belonging to different ethnicities such as Nepalis, Lepchas and Bhutia, is administered...

.

According to legend, the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche visited Sikkim in the 9th century, introduced Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and foretold the era of the monarchy. Indeed, the Namgyal dynasty
Chogyal
The Chogyal were the monarchs of the former kingdoms of Sikkim and Ladakh, which were ruled by separate branches of the Namgyal family. The Chogyal, or divine ruler, was the absolute potentate of Sikkim from 1642 to 1975, when its monarchy was abrogated and its people voted to make Sikkim India's...

 was established in 1642. Over the next 150 years, the kingdom witnessed frequent raids and territorial losses to Nepalese invaders. It allied itself with the British rulers of India
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

, but was soon annexed by them. Later, Sikkim became a British protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

, before merging with India following a referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 in 1975.

Sikkim is the only state in India with an ethnic Nepalese
Nepali people
Nepali people can refer to:*People of Nepal*Ethnic Nepalis of Indian citizenry residing in Gorkhaland area of West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and other parts of India.* Indian Gorkhas*Lhotshampas of Bhutan.*Nepali diaspora the world over....

 majority. Sikkim has 11 official languages: Nepali
Nepali language
Nepali or Nepalese is a language in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family.It is the official language and de facto lingua franca of Nepal and is also spoken in Bhutan, parts of India and parts of Myanmar...

 (which is its lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

), Bhutia, Lepcha
Lepcha language
Lepcha language, or Róng language , is a Himalayish language spoken by the Lepcha people in Sikkim and parts of West Bengal, Nepal and Bhutan.-Population:...

 (since 1977), Limbu
Limbu language
Limbu is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Kashmir and Darjeeling district, West Bengal, India, by the Limbu community. Virtually all Limbus are bilingual in Nepali....

 (since 1981), Newari, Rai
Kiranti languages
The Mahakiranti or Maha-Kiranti languages are a proposed intermediate level of classification of the Tibeto-Burman languages. They are the languages most closely related to the Kiranti languages proper, which are spoken by the ethnic Kirat...

, Gurung
Gurung language
Gurung is spoken by the Gurung people in two dialects with limited mutual intelligibility. Total number of all Gurung speakers in Nepal is 227,918...

, Mangar, Sherpa
Sherpa language
Sherpa is a language spoken in parts of Nepal and Sikkim mainly by the Sherpa community. About 130,000 speakers live in Nepal , some 20,000 in India , and some 800 in Tibet ....

, Tamang
Tamang language
Tamang is a term used to collectively refer to a dialect cluster spoken in parts of Nepal and Sikkim. It comprises Eastern Tamang, Northwestern Tamang, Southwestern Tamang, Eastern Gorkha Tamang, and Western Tamang...

 (since 1995) and Sunwar
Sunwar language
Sunuwari is a Kiranti language spoken in Nepal by the Sunuwar people. It was first comprehensively attested by the Himalayan Languages Project.-External links:**...

 (since 1996). English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 is taught in schools and used in government documents. The predominant religions are Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Vajrayana Buddhism. Sikkim's economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, and the state has the fourth-smallest GDP among Indian states, although it is also among the fastest-growing.

Toponymy

The most widely-accepted origin theory of the name Sikkim is that it is a combination of two Limbu
Limbu language
Limbu is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Kashmir and Darjeeling district, West Bengal, India, by the Limbu community. Virtually all Limbus are bilingual in Nepali....

 words: su, which means "new", and khyim, which means "palace" or "house". The name is believed to be a reference to the palace built by the state's first ruler, Phuntsog Namgyal
Phuntsog Namgyal
Phuntsog Namgyal was the first chogyal of Sikkim, now an Indian state. He consecrated in 1642 at the age of 38. Phuntsog was a fifth generation descendant of Guru Tashi, a 13th century prince from the Mi-nyak House in Kham in Eastern Tibet.According to legend, Guru Rinpoche, a 9th century...

. The Tibetan
Tibetan language
The Tibetan languages are a cluster of mutually-unintelligible Tibeto-Burman languages spoken primarily by Tibetan peoples who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the northern Indian subcontinent in Baltistan, Ladakh,...

 name for Sikkim is Denjong, which means "valley of rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

". The Lepcha people
Lepcha people
The Lepcha or Róng people , also called Róngkup , Mútuncí Róngkup Rumkup , and Rongpa , are the aboriginal people of Sikkim, who number between 30,000 and 50,000...

, the original inhabitants of Sikkim, called it Nye-mae-el, meaning "paradise", while the Bhutia
Bhutia
The Bhutia are ethnic Tibetans who speak Sikkimese, a Tibetan dialect fairly mutually intelligible to standard Tibetan. In 2001, the Bhutia numbered around 70,300...

s call it Beyul Demazong, which means the hidden valley of rice. In Hindu religious texts, Sikkim is known as Indrakil, the garden of the war god Indra
Indra
' or is the King of the demi-gods or Devas and Lord of Heaven or Svargaloka in Hindu mythology. He is also the God of War, Storms, and Rainfall.Indra is one of the chief deities in the Rigveda...

.

History

The earliest historical mention of Sikkim is a record of the passage of the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche through the land in the 9th century. The Guru is reported to have blessed the land, introduced Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, and foretold the era of monarchy that would arrive in Sikkim centuries later. In the 14th century, according to legend, Khye Bumsa
Khye Bumsa
Khye Bumsa was a 13th century prince from the Minyak House in Kham in Eastern Tibet. He had a divine revelation one night instructing him to travel south to seek his fortunes and reached Sikkim where he established his lineage. His descendants were later to become the chogyals of Sikkim....

, a prince from the Minyak House in Kham
Kham
Kham , is a historical region covering a land area largely divided between present-day Tibetan Autonomous Region and Sichuan province, with smaller portions located within Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan provinces of China. During the Republic of China's rule over mainland China , most of the region was...

 in eastern Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

, received a divine revelation instructing him to travel south to seek his fortunes. A fifth-generation descendant of Khye Bumsa, Phuntsog Namgyal
Phuntsog Namgyal
Phuntsog Namgyal was the first chogyal of Sikkim, now an Indian state. He consecrated in 1642 at the age of 38. Phuntsog was a fifth generation descendant of Guru Tashi, a 13th century prince from the Mi-nyak House in Kham in Eastern Tibet.According to legend, Guru Rinpoche, a 9th century...

, became the founder of Sikkim's monarchy in 1642, when he was consecrated as the first Chogyal
Chogyal
The Chogyal were the monarchs of the former kingdoms of Sikkim and Ladakh, which were ruled by separate branches of the Namgyal family. The Chogyal, or divine ruler, was the absolute potentate of Sikkim from 1642 to 1975, when its monarchy was abrogated and its people voted to make Sikkim India's...

, or priest-king, of Sikkim by the three venerated lama
Lama
Lama is a title for a Tibetan teacher of the Dharma. The name is similar to the Sanskrit term guru .Historically, the term was used for venerated spiritual masters or heads of monasteries...

s at Yuksom
Yuksom
Yuksom is a historical town in Geyzing subdivision of West Sikkim district in the Northeast Indian state of Sikkim. It was the first capital of Sikkim established in 1642 AD by Phuntsog Namgyal who was the first Chogyal of Sikkim. The coronation site of the first monarch of Sikkim is known as the...

.

Phuntsog Namgyal was succeeded in 1670 by his son, Tensung Namgyal
Tensung Namgyal
Tensung Namgyal was the second chogyal of Sikkim. He succeeded his father Phuntsog Namgyal in 1670. He moved the capital from Yuksom to Rabdentse near Geyzing in 1670. He had three wives and was succeeded by his son Chakdor Namgyal, borne by his second wife in 1700.-References:...

, who moved the capital from Yuksom to Rabdentse
Rabdentse
Rabdentse was the second capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. The capital city was destroyed by the invading Nepalese army and only the ruins of the palace and the chortens are seen here now...

. In 1700, Sikkim was invaded by the Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

ese with the help of the half-sister of the Chogyal, who had been denied the throne. The Bhutanese were driven away by the Tibetans, who restored the throne to the Chogyal ten years later. Between 1717 and 1733, the kingdom faced many raids by the Nepalese in the west and Bhutanese in the east, culminating with the destruction of the capital Rabdentse
Rabdentse
Rabdentse was the second capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. The capital city was destroyed by the invading Nepalese army and only the ruins of the palace and the chortens are seen here now...

 by the Nepalese. In 1791, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 sent troops to support Sikkim and defend Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 against the Gurkha
Gurkha
Gurkha are people from Nepal who take their name from the Gorkha District. Gurkhas are best known for their history in the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments, the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Nepalese Army. Gurkha units are closely associated with the kukri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife...

s. Following Nepal's subsequent defeat, the Chinese Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 established control over Sikkim.

Following the beginning of British
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 rule in neighboring India, Sikkim allied with them against their common enemy, Nepal. The Nepalese attacked Sikkim, overrunning most of the region including the Terai
Terai
The Terai is a belt of marshy grasslands, savannas, and forests located south of the outer foothills of the Himalaya, the Siwalik Hills, and north of the Indo-Gangetic Plain of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and their tributaries. The Terai belongs to the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands ecoregion...

. This prompted the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 to attack Nepal, resulting in the Gurkha War
Gurkha War
The Gurkha War , sometimes called the Gorkha War or the Anglo–Nepalese War, was fought between the Kingdom of Nepal and the British East India Company as a result of border tensions and ambitious expansionism...

 of 1814. Treaties signed between Sikkim and Nepal resulted in the return of the territory annexed by the Nepalese in 1817. However, ties between Sikkim and the British weakened when the latter began taxation of the Morang region. In 1849, two British physician
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

s, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker OM, GCSI, CB, MD, FRS was one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century. Hooker was a founder of geographical botany, and Charles Darwin's closest friend...

 and Dr. Archibald Campbell
Arthur Campbell (British East India Company)
Archibald Campbell of the Bengal Medical Service was the first superintendent of the sanitarium of Darjeeling town in India. Sources differ regarding his first name. While some say that the "A" in "Dr A...

, the latter being in charge of relations between the British and Sikkim governments, ventured into the mountains of Sikkim unannounced and unauthorised. The doctors were detained by the Sikkim government, leading to a punitive British expedition against the kingdom, after which the Darjeeling district and Morang were annexed to British India in 1853. The invasion led to the Chogyal of Sikkim becoming a titular ruler
Vassal state
A vassal state is any state that is subordinate to another. The vassal in these cases is the ruler, rather than the state itself. Being a vassal most commonly implies providing military assistance to the dominant state when requested to do so; it sometimes implies paying tribute, but a state which...

 under the directive of the British governor. In 1890, Sikkim became a British protectorate, and was gradually granted more sovereignty over the next three decades.

In 1947, when India became independent, a popular vote rejected Sikkim's joining the Indian Union, and Prime Minister
Prime Minister of India
The Prime Minister of India , as addressed to in the Constitution of India — Prime Minister for the Union, is the chief of government, head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of the majority party in parliament...

 Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

 agreed to a special protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 status for Sikkim. Sikkim came under the suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

 of India, which controlled its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and communications, but Sikkim otherwise retained administrative autonomy. A state council was established in 1955 to allow for constitutional government under the Chogyal. Meanwhile, the Sikkim National Congress demanded fresh elections and greater representation for Nepalese in Sikkim. Palden Thondup Namgyal
Palden Thondup Namgyal
Palden Thondup Namgyal was the 12th and last Chogyal of Sikkim.At six, Namgyal became a student at St. Joseph's Convent in Kalimpong, but had to terminate his studies due to attacks of malaria...

, the Chogyal at the time, proved to be extremely unpopular with the people, and in 1973, riots in front of the Chogyal's palace led to a formal request for protection from India. In 1975, the Prime Minister of Sikkim appealed to the Indian Parliament for Sikkim to become a formal state of India. In April, the Indian Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

 took over the city of Gangtok
Gangtok
Gangtok is the capital and largest town of the Indian state of Sikkim. Gangtok is located in the Shivalik Hills of the eastern Himalayan range, at an altitude of . The town, with a population of thirty thousand belonging to different ethnicities such as Nepalis, Lepchas and Bhutia, is administered...

 and disarmed the Chogyal's palace guards. A referendum was held in which 97.5% of the electorate voted to join the Indian Union. On 16 May 1975, Sikkim officially became the 22nd state of the Indian Union, and the monarchy was abolished. To enable the incorporation of the new state, the Indian Parliament
Parliament of India
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. The Parliament of India comprises the President and the two Houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha...

 amended the Indian Constitution
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens...

. First, the 35th Amendment laid down a set of conditions that made Sikkim an "Associate State," a special designation not used by any other state. Later, the 36th Amendment repealed the 35th Amendment, and made Sikkim a full state, adding its name to the First Schedule of the Constitution.

In 2000, the seventeenth Karmapa
Karmapa
The Karmapa is the head of the Karma Kagyu, the largest sub-school of the Kagyupa , itself one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism....

, Urgyen Trinley Dorje, who had been confirmed by the Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word далай meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word bla-ma meaning "teacher"...

 and accepted as a tulku
Tulku
In Tibetan Buddhism, a tulku is a particular high-ranking lama, of whom the Dalai Lama is one, who can choose the manner of his rebirth. Normally the lama would be reincarnated as a human, and of the same sex as his predecessor. In contrast to a tulku, all other sentient beings including other...

 by the Chinese government, escaped from Tibet, seeking to return to the Rumtek Monastery
Rumtek Monastery
Rumtek , also called the Dharmachakra Centre, is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located in the Indian state of Sikkim near the capital Gangtok...

 in Sikkim. Chinese officials were in a quandary on this issue, as any protests to India would mean an explicit endorsement of India's governance of Sikkim, which the Chinese still regarded as an independent state occupied by India. China eventually recognized Sikkim as an Indian state in 2003, on the condition that India accepted the Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

 as a part of China. This mutual agreement led to a thaw in Sino-Indian relations
Sino-Indian relations
Sino-Indian relations, also called Indo-China relations, refers to the bilateral relationship between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of India. China and India are the world's most populous states and also fastest growing major economies...

. New Delhi
New Delhi
New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

 had originally accepted Tibet as a part of China in 1953 during the government of then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. On 6 July 2006, the Himalayan pass of Nathula in Sikkim was opened to cross-border trade, constituting further evidence of improving Sino-Indian relations.

On 18 September 2011, a magnitude 6.9Mw earthquake
2011 Sikkim earthquake
The 2011 Sikkim earthquake , also known as the 2011 Himalayan earthquake , was a magnitude 6.9 earthquake centered within the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, near the border of Nepal and the Indian state of Sikkim, at 18:10 IST on Sunday, 18 September 2011...

 struck Sikkim, killing at least 116 people in the state and in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Tibet. More than 60 people died in Sikkim alone, and the city of Gangtok suffered significant damage.

Geography

Nestling as it does in the Himalayan mountains, the state of Sikkim is characterized by mountainous terrain. Almost the entire state is hilly, with an elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to 8,585 metres (28,000 ft). The summit of Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga
Kangchenjunga is the third highest mountain of the world with an elevation of and located along the India-Nepal border in the Himalayas.Kangchenjunga is also the name of the section of the Himalayas and means "The Five Treasures of Snows", as it contains five peaks, four of them over...

 - the world's third-highest peak - is the state's highest point, situated on the border between Sikkim and Nepal. For the most part, the land is unfit for agriculture because of the rocky, precipitous slopes. However, some hill slopes have been converted into terrace farms. Numerous snow-fed streams have carved out river valleys in the west and south of the state. These streams combine into the major Teesta River
Teesta River
River Teesta or Tista is said to be the lifeline of the Indian state of Sikkim, flowing for almost the entire length of the state and carving out verdant Himalayan temperate and tropical river valleys. The emerald-coloured river then forms the border between Sikkim and West Bengal before joining...

 and its tributary, the Rangeet, which flow through the state from north to south. About a third of the state is heavily forested.

The Himalayan mountains surround the northern, eastern and western borders of Sikkim. The Lower Himalayas, lying in the southern reaches of the state, are the most densely populated. The state has 28 mountain peaks, more than 80 glaciers, 227 high-altitude lakes (including the Tsongmo, Gurudongmar and Khecheopalri Lake
Khecheopalri Lake
Khecheopalri Lake, originally known as Kha-Chot-Palri , is a sacred Lake for both Buddhists and Hindus, which is believed to be a wish fulfilling lake. It is located near Khecheopalri village, west of Gangtok and to the northwest of Pelling town in the West Sikkim district of the Northeastern...

s), five major hot springs
Hot Springs
Hot Springs may refer to:* Hot Springs, Arkansas** Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas*Hot Springs, California**Hot Springs, Lassen County, California**Hot Springs, Modoc County, California**Hot Springs, Placer County, California...

, and more than 100 rivers and streams. Eight mountain passes connect the state to Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.

Sikkim's hot springs are renowned for their medicinal and therapeutic values. Among the state's most notable hot springs are those at Phurchachu, Yumthang, Borang, Ralang, Taram-chu and Yumey Samdong. The springs, which have a high sulphur content, are located near river banks; some are known to emit hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

. The average temperature of the water in these hot springs is 50 °C (122 °F).

Geology

The hills of Sikkim mainly consist of gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

ose and half-schistose
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

 rocks, producing generally poor and shallow brown clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

 soils. The soil is coarse, with large concentrations of iron oxide
Iron oxide
Iron oxides are chemical compounds composed of iron and oxygen. All together, there are sixteen known iron oxides and oxyhydroxides.Iron oxides and oxide-hydroxides are widespread in nature, play an important role in many geological and biological processes, and are widely utilized by humans, e.g.,...

; it ranges from neutral to acidic and is poor in organic and mineral nutrients. This type of soil tends to support evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

 and deciduous forests.

Most of Sikkim is covered by Precambrian
Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...

 rock, which is much younger in age than the hills. The rock consists of phyllite
Phyllite
Phyllite is a type of foliated metamorphic rock primarily composed of quartz, sericite mica, and chlorite; the rock represents a gradation in the degree of metamorphism between slate and mica schist. Minute crystals of graphite, sericite, or chlorite impart a silky, sometimes golden sheen to the...

s and schist
Schist
The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

s, is highly susceptible to weathering and erosion. This, combined with the state's heavy rainfall, causes extensive soil erosion and the loss of soil nutrients through leaching
Leaching (agriculture)
In agriculture, leaching refers to the loss of water-soluble plant nutrients from the soil, due to rain and irrigation. Soil structure, crop planting, type and application rates of fertilizers, and other factors are taken into account to avoid excessive nutrient loss.Leaching may also refer to ...

. As a result, landslides are frequent, often isolating rural towns and villages from the major urban centres.

Climate

Sikkim's climate ranges from sub-tropical in the south to tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

 in the northern parts. The tundra-type region in the north is clad by snow for four months every year, and the temperature drops below 0 °C (32 °F) almost every night. The peaks of north-western Sikkim are perpetually frozen. Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim, however, experience a temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 climate, with the temperatures seldom exceeding 28 °C
Celsius
Celsius is a scale and unit of measurement for temperature. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius , who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death...

 (82 °F
Fahrenheit
Fahrenheit is the temperature scale proposed in 1724 by, and named after, the German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit . Within this scale, the freezing of water into ice is defined at 32 degrees, while the boiling point of water is defined to be 212 degrees...

) in summer or dropping below 0 °C (32 °F) in winter; the mean monthly summer temperature is 15 °C. The state has five seasons: winter, summer, spring, autumn, and a monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 season between June and September. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 °C (64 °F).

Sikkim is one of the few states in India to receive regular snowfall. The snow line
Snow line
The climatic snow line is the point above which snow and ice cover the ground throughout the year. The actual snow line may seasonally be significantly lower....

 ranges from 20,000 feet in the north of the state to 16,000 feet in the south. During the monsoon, heavy rains increase the risk of landslides. The record for the longest period of continuous rain in Sikkim is 11 days. In the northern region, because of the high altitude, temperatures can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) in winter. Fog
Fog
Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated...

 affects many parts of the state during winter and the monsoons, making transportation perilous.

Subdivisions


File:Sikkim-district-map-num.png|150px|right|A clickable map of Sikkim exhibiting its four districts.

rect 242 167 304 241 North Sikkim
North Sikkim
North Sikkim is a district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Its district headquarters is Mangan. It is the seventh least populous district in the country .-Geography:The district is the largest of the four districts of Sikkim....


rect 310 410 361 475 East Sikkim
East Sikkim
East Sikkim is one of the four administrative districts of the Indian state of Sikkim. Geographically, East Sikkim occupies the south-east corner of the state. The capital of East Sikkim is Gangtok, which is also the state capital...


rect 189 413 232 479 South Sikkim
South Sikkim
South Sikkim is a district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Its capital is Namchi.-Geography:South Sikkim lies at an altitude of 400 to 2000 metres and hence enjoys a temperate climate for most of the year. Major urban centres include Teesta Bazaar and Melli....


rect 84 383 132 456 West Sikkim
West Sikkim
West Sikkim is a district of theIndian state of Sikkim. Its capital is Geyzing, also known as Gyalshing. The district is a favourite with trekkers due to the high elevations. Other important towns include Pelling and Jorethang.-History:...



desc bottom-left

Sikkim has four districts, each overseen by a Central Government appointee, the district collector
District collector
The District Collector is the district head of administration of the bureaucracy in a state of India. Though he/she is appointed and is under general supervision of the state government, he/she has to be a member of the elite IAS recruited by the Central Government...

, who is in charge of the administration of the civilian areas of the districts. The Indian Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

 has control over a large part of the state, as Sikkim forms part of a sensitive border area with the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. Many areas are restricted to foreigners, and official permits
Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958 (India)
The Foreigners Order 1958 states that a Protected Area Permit is required for non-Indian citizens to visit certain areas in India . Certain requirements have to be fulfilled in order to get this permit. Indian citizens, who are not resident in these areas need a Inner Line Permit to enter these...

 are needed to visit them.

The four districts are East Sikkim
East Sikkim
East Sikkim is one of the four administrative districts of the Indian state of Sikkim. Geographically, East Sikkim occupies the south-east corner of the state. The capital of East Sikkim is Gangtok, which is also the state capital...

, West Sikkim
West Sikkim
West Sikkim is a district of theIndian state of Sikkim. Its capital is Geyzing, also known as Gyalshing. The district is a favourite with trekkers due to the high elevations. Other important towns include Pelling and Jorethang.-History:...

, North Sikkim
North Sikkim
North Sikkim is a district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Its district headquarters is Mangan. It is the seventh least populous district in the country .-Geography:The district is the largest of the four districts of Sikkim....

 and South Sikkim
South Sikkim
South Sikkim is a district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Its capital is Namchi.-Geography:South Sikkim lies at an altitude of 400 to 2000 metres and hence enjoys a temperate climate for most of the year. Major urban centres include Teesta Bazaar and Melli....

. The district capitals are Gangtok, Geyzing
Geyzing
Gyalshing or Geyzing is the capital of the district of West Sikkim in the Indian state of Sikkim. The town is connected to the capital Gangtok by a metalled road. Geyzing is also connected to the West Bengal towns of Darjeeling and Kalimpong via Jorethang. A few kilometres north is the town of...

, Mangan and Namchi
Namchi
Namchi is the capital of the South Sikkim district in the Indian state of Sikkim. The appellation Namchi means Sky High in Bhutia.- Geography :Namchi is located at . It has an average elevation of 1315 metres ....

 respectively. These four districts are further divided into subdivisions. Pakyong and Rongli are the subdivisions of the East district. Soreng is the subdivision of the West district. Chungthang is the subdivision of the North district. Ravongla is the subdivision of the South district.

Flora and fauna

Sikkim is situated in an ecological hotspot of the lower Himalayas, one of only three among the ecoregions of India. The forested regions of the state exhibit a diverse range of fauna and flora. Owing to its altitudinal gradation, the state has a wide variety of plants, from tropical species to temperate, alpine and tundra ones, and is perhaps one of the few regions to exhibit such a diversity within such a small area. Nearly 81% of the area of Sikkim comes under the administration of its forest department.
Sikkim has around 5,000 flowering plants, 515 rare orchids, 60 primula
Primula
Primula is a genus of 400–500 species of low-growing herbs in the family Primulaceae. They include primrose, auricula, cowslip and oxlip. Many species are grown for their ornamental flowers...

 species, 36 rhododendron species, 11 oak varieties, 23 bamboo varieties, 16 conifer species, 362 types of fern
Fern
A fern is any one of a group of about 12,000 species of plants belonging to the botanical group known as Pteridophyta. Unlike mosses, they have xylem and phloem . They have stems, leaves, and roots like other vascular plants...

s and ferns allies, 8 tree ferns, and over 424 medicinal plants. A variant of the Poinsettia
Poinsettia
Euphorbia pulcherrima, commonly known as Zack Wood or noche buena, is a species of flowering plant indigenous to Mexico and Central America. The name "poinsettia" is after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the US in 1825...

, locally known as "Christmas Flower", can be found in abundance in the mountainous state. The orchid Dendrobium nobile
Dendrobium nobile
The Noble Dendrobium, Dendrobium nobile, is a member of the family Orchidaceae. It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it has the name shí hú or shí hú lán . This orchid is one of the most widespread ornamental members of the family...

is the official flower of Sikkim, while the rhododendron
Rhododendron
Rhododendron is a genus of over 1 000 species of woody plants in the heath family, most with showy flowers...

 is the state tree.

Orchids, fig
Ficus
Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes, and hemiepiphyte in the family Moraceae. Collectively known as fig trees or figs, they are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The Common Fig Ficus is a genus of...

s, laurel
Lauraceae
The Lauraceae or Laurel family comprises a group of flowering plants included in the order Laurales. The family contains about 55 genera and over 3500, perhaps as many as 4000, species world-wide, mostly from warm or tropical regions, especially Southeast Asia and South America...

, banana
Banana
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red....

s, sal trees and bamboo
Bamboo
Bamboo is a group of perennial evergreens in the true grass family Poaceae, subfamily Bambusoideae, tribe Bambuseae. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family....

 grow in the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests
Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests
The Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests is an ecoregion that extends from the middle hills of central Nepal through Darjeeling into Bhutan and also into the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh...

 of the lower altitudes of Sikkim.

In the temperate elevations above 1500 metres (4,921.3 ft) there are Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests
Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests
The Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests is a temperate broadleaf forest ecoregion found in the middle elevations of the eastern Himalayas, including parts of Nepal, India, and Bhutan...

, where oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

s, chestnut
Chestnut
Chestnut , some species called chinkapin or chinquapin, is a genus of eight or nine species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the beech family Fagaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The name also refers to the edible nuts they produce.-Species:The chestnut belongs to the...

s, maple
Maple
Acer is a genus of trees or shrubs commonly known as maple.Maples are variously classified in a family of their own, the Aceraceae, or together with the Hippocastanaceae included in the family Sapindaceae. Modern classifications, including the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group system, favour inclusion in...

s, birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

es, alder
Alder
Alder is the common name of a genus of flowering plants belonging to the birch family . The genus comprises about 30 species of monoecious trees and shrubs, few reaching large size, distributed throughout the North Temperate Zone and in the Americas along the Andes southwards to...

s, and magnolia
Magnolia
Magnolia is a large genus of about 210 flowering plant species in the subfamily Magnolioideae of the family Magnoliaceae. It is named after French botanist Pierre Magnol....

s grow in large numbers, as well as Himalayan subtropical pine forests
Himalayan subtropical pine forests
The Himalayan subtropical pine forests are a large subtropical coniferous forest ecoregion covering portions of Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan....

, dominated by Chir pine
Chir Pine
The Chir Pine, Pinus roxburghii, named after William Roxburgh, is a pine native to the Himalaya.The range extends from northern Pakistan , across northern India and Nepal to Bhutan.It generally occurs at lower altitudes than other pines in the Himalaya, from...

.

The alpine-type
Alpine climate
Alpine climate is the average weather for a region above the tree line. This climate is also referred to as mountain climate or highland climate....

 vegetation is typically found between an altitude of 3500 to 5000 m (11,482.9 to 16,404.2 ft). In lower elevations are found juniper
Juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

, pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

, fir
Fir
Firs are a genus of 48–55 species of evergreen conifers in the family Pinaceae. They are found through much of North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa, occurring in mountains over most of the range...

s, cypresses
Cupressus
The genus Cupressus is one of several genera within the family Cupressaceae that have the common name cypress; for the others, see cypress. It is considered a polyphyletic group...

 and rhododendrons from the Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests
Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests
The Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests is a temperate coniferous forests ecoregion which is found in the middle and upper elevations of the eastern Middle Himalayas, in western Nepal, Bhutan and northern Indian states including Arunachal Pradesh....

. Higher up are Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows
Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows
The Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows is a montane grasslands and shrublands ecoregion of Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, and Nepal, which lies between the tree line and snow line in the eastern portion of the Himalaya Range.-Setting:...

, home to a broad variety of rhododendrons and wildflowers.
The fauna include the snow leopard
Snow Leopard
The snow leopard is a moderately large cat native to the mountain ranges of South Asia and Central Asia...

, the musk deer
Musk deer
Musk deer are artiodactyls of the genus Moschus, the only genus of family Moschidae. They are more primitive than the cervids, or true deer, in not having antlers or facial glands, in having only a single pair of teats, and in possessing a gall bladder, a caudal gland, a pair of tusk-like teeth...

, the Himalayan Tahr
Himalayan Tahr
The Himalayan Tahr or Common Thar is a large ungulate related to the wild goat.-Habitat:...

, the red panda
Red Panda
The red panda , is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is the only species of the genus Ailurus. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs...

, the Himalayan marmot
Himalayan marmot
The Himalayan marmot is a marmot found in the Himalayan regions ranging in elevation from . They can be seen in the Deosai plains in Pakistan and Ladakh in India. They are about the size of a large housecat, and live in colonies. Marmota himalayana is closely related to the woodchuck, the hoary...

, the serow
Serow
Serow may refer to:*Three species of Asian ungulate in the genus Capricornis**Japanese Serow**Mainland Serow**Taiwan Serow* Serow, Iran, a city in Urmia County, West Azarbaijan Province, Iran*Alternative spelling of Serov...

, the goral
Nemorhaedus
The gorals are four species in the genus Nemorhaedus or Naemorhedus. They are small ungulates with a goat-like or antelope-like appearance....

, the barking deer, the common langur, the Himalayan Black Bear, the clouded leopard
Clouded Leopard
The clouded leopard is a felid found from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China, and has been classified as vulnerable in 2008 by IUCN...

, the Marbled Cat
Marbled Cat
The Marbled Cat is a small wild cat of South and Southeast Asia. Since 2002 it has been listed as vulnerable by IUCN as it occurs at low densities, and its total effective population size is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with no single population numbering more than...

, the leopard cat
Leopard Cat
The leopard cat is a small wild cat of South and East Asia. Since 2002 it has been listed as Least Concern by IUCN as it is widely distributed but threatened by habitat loss and hunting in parts of its range...

, the wild dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

, the Tibetan wolf
Tibetan wolf
The Tibetan wolf , also known as the woolly wolf, is a subspecies of grey wolf native to Central Asia from Turkestan, Tien Shan throughout Tibet to Mongolia, northern China, Shensi, Sichuan, Yunnan, and the western Himalayas in Kashmir from Chitral to Lahul. They also occur in the Korean peninsula...

, the hog badger
Hog Badger
The hog badger is a terrestrial species of the mustelid family. It has medium-length brown hair, stocky body, white throat, two black stripes on an elongated white face and a pink pig-like snout. The head-and-body length is , the tail measures and the body weight is...

, the binturong
Binturong
The Binturong , also known as the Asian Bearcat, the Palawan Bearcat, or simply the Bearcat, is a species of the family Viverridae, which includes the civets and genets. It is the only member of its genus...

, the jungle cat
Jungle Cat
The jungle cat is a medium-sized cat and considered the largest remaining species of the wild cat genus Felis. The species is also called the swamp lynx but is not closely related to the lynxes....

 and the civet cat
Civet cat
Civet cat is an imprecise term that is used for a variety of cat-like creatures including:*Civets, of the families Viverridae and Nandiniidae*Ring-tailed Cat or North American Civet Cat , related to the raccoons...

. Among the animals more commonly found in the alpine zone are yak
Yak
The yak, Bos grunniens or Bos mutus, is a long-haired bovine found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. In addition to a large domestic population, there is a small, vulnerable wild yak population...

s, mainly reared for their milk
Milk
Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many...

, meat, and as a beast of burden.

The avifauna
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

 of Sikkim include of the Impeyan pheasant, the crimson horned pheasant
Satyr Tragopan
The Satyr Tragopan Tragopan satyra, also known as the Crimson Horned Pheasant, is a pheasant found in the Himalayan reaches of India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. They reside in moist oak and rhododendron forests with dense undergrowth and bamboo clumps. Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, shrubland...

, the snow partridge
Snow Partridge
The Snow Partridge is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae found widely distributed across the high-altitude Himalayan regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal and China. It is the only species within the genus...

, the snow cock, the lammergeyer and griffon vulture
Griffon Vulture
The Griffon Vulture is a large Old World vulture in the bird of prey family Accipitridae.The Griffon Vulture is long with a wingspan. In the nominate race the males weigh and females typically weigh , while in the Indian subspecies the vultures average...

s, as well as golden eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

s, quail
Quail
Quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds generally considered in the order Galliformes. Old World quail are found in the family Phasianidae, while New World quail are found in the family Odontophoridae...

, plover
Plover
Plovers are a widely distributed group of wading birds belonging to the subfamily Charadriinae. There are about 40 species in the subfamily, most of them called "plover" or "dotterel". The closely related lapwing subfamily, Vanellinae, comprises another 20-odd species.Plovers are found throughout...

s, woodcock
Woodcock
The woodcocks are a group of seven or eight very similar living species of wading birds in the genus Scolopax. Only two woodcocks are widespread, the others being localized island endemics. Most are found in the Northern Hemisphere but a few range into Wallacea...

, sandpipers, pigeons, Old World flycatcher
Old World flycatcher
The Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae is a large family of small passerine birds mostly restricted to the Old World. These are mainly small arboreal insectivores, many of which, as the name implies, take their prey on the wing.-Characteristics:...

s, babblers
Old World babbler
The Old World babblers or timaliids are a large family of mostly Old World passerine birds. They are rather diverse in size and coloration, but are characterised by soft fluffy plumage. These are birds of tropical areas, with the greatest variety in Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent...

 and robins. Sikkim has more than 550 species of birds, some of which have been declared endangered
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

.

Sikkim also has a rich diversity of arthropods, many of which remain unstudied. As with the rest of India, the most studied group is that of the butterflies
Butterfly
A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured...

. Of approximately 1,438 butterfly species found in the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, 695 have been recorded from Sikkim. These include the endangered Kaiser-i-hind
Teinopalpus imperialis
The Kaiser-i-Hind is a rare species of swallowtail butterfly found from Nepal and north India east to north Vietnam. The common name literally means "Emperor of India". The Kaiser-i-hind is much sought after by butterfly collectors for its beauty and rarity...

, Yellow Gorgon
Meandrusa payeni
The Yellow Gorgon, Meandrusa payeni, is a species of swallowtail found in parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia. It belongs to the Hooked Swallowtails genus, Meandrusa, of the Papilionidae family. They are also called "Outlet Sword" or as "The Sickle".DescriptionMaleUpperside bright ochraceous,...

 and the Bhutan Glory
Bhutanitis lidderdalii
The Bhutan Glory, Bhutanitis lidderdalii, is a species of swallowtail butterfly , which is found in Bhutan, parts of northeastern India and of Southeast Asia. A spectacular insect much sought after by collectors, the species epithet is after Dr R. Lidderdale, from whose collection the butterfly was...

.

Economy

Sikkim's nominal state gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 (GDP) was estimated at $730 million in 2010, constituting the fourth-smallest GDP of an Indian state. The state's economy is largely agrarian
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, based on the terraced farming of rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 and the cultivation of crops such as maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, millet
Millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

, wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

, oranges
Orange (fruit)
An orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus Citrus × sinensis and its fruit. It is the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world....

, tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 and cardamom
Cardamom
Cardamom refers to several plants of the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India and Bhutan; they are recognised by their small seed pod, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin papery outer shell and small black seeds...

. Sikkim has the highest production of cardamom in India, as well as the largest cultivated area of cardamom. Because of its hilly terrain, and the lack of trasnport infrastructure, Sikkim lacks a large-scale industrial base. Brewing
Brewery
A brewery is a dedicated building for the making of beer, though beer can be made at home, and has been for much of beer's history. A company which makes beer is called either a brewery or a brewing company....

, distilling, tanning
Tanning
Tanning is the making of leather from the skins of animals which does not easily decompose. Traditionally, tanning used tannin, an acidic chemical compound from which the tanning process draws its name . Coloring may occur during tanning...

 and watch
Watch
A watch is a small timepiece, typically worn either on the wrist or attached on a chain and carried in a pocket, with wristwatches being the most common type of watch used today. They evolved in the 17th century from spring powered clocks, which appeared in the 15th century. The first watches were...

making are the main industries, and are mainly located in the southern reaches of the state, primarily in the towns of Melli
Melli
Melli is a town on the West Bengal-Sikkim border near the River Teesta.The appellation Melli in Nepali means "the place where the dead are cremated". Melli is one of the few towns in India that lie in two different states. A bridge named Jawaharlal Nehru Bridge connects the two parts of the town....

 and Jorethang
Jorethang
Jorethang is a major town in South Sikkim district in the Indian state of Sikkim. The town is situated at an altitude of about 300 m above sea level and has a temperate climate. Jorethang lies on the Rangeet River, a tributary of the River Teesta. Jorethang lies on the way to Pelling from...

. Despite the state's minimal industrial infrastructure, Sikkim's economy has been among the fastest-growing in India since 2000, with the state's GDP expanding by over 13% in 2007 alone.
In recent years, the government of Sikkim has extensively promoted tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

. As a result, state revenue has increased 14 times since the mid-1990s. Sikkim has furthermore invested in a fledgling gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 industry, promoting both casino
Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

s and online gambling
Online gambling
Online gambling, also known as Internet gambling and iGambling, is a general term for gambling using the Internet.-Online poker:Online poker tables commonly offer Texas hold 'em, Omaha, Seven-card stud, razz, HORSE and other game types in both tournament and ring game structures...

. The state's first casino, the Casino Sikkim, opened in March 2009, and seven further casino licences are being considered by the state government. The Playwin
Playwin
Playwin is an online lottery run by the Sikkim government. It was one of the first such lotteries to be opened in India. Established in November 2001, it has operations in many Indian towns and promoted by the Essel Group through Pan India Network Infravest Ltd.Playwin has five lotto games:*...

 lottery has been a notable success in the state. In October 2009, the government of Sikkim announced plans to offer three online sports betting licences. Among the minerals mined in Sikkim are copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, dolomite
Dolomite
Dolomite is a carbonate mineral composed of calcium magnesium carbonate CaMg2. The term is also used to describe the sedimentary carbonate rock dolostone....

, talc
Talc
Talc is a mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate with the chemical formula H2Mg34 or Mg3Si4O102. In loose form, it is the widely-used substance known as talcum powder. It occurs as foliated to fibrous masses, its crystals being so rare as to be almost unknown...

, graphite
Graphite
The mineral graphite is one of the allotropes of carbon. It was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1789 from the Ancient Greek γράφω , "to draw/write", for its use in pencils, where it is commonly called lead . Unlike diamond , graphite is an electrical conductor, a semimetal...

, quartzite
Quartzite
Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though quartzites often occur in various shades of pink...

, coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, zinc
Zinc
Zinc , or spelter , is a metallic chemical element; it has the symbol Zn and atomic number 30. It is the first element in group 12 of the periodic table. Zinc is, in some respects, chemically similar to magnesium, because its ion is of similar size and its only common oxidation state is +2...

 and lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

.

The opening of the Nathula Pass on 6 July 2006, connecting Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

, Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

 to India, was billed as a boon for Sikkim's economy, though the expected financial benefits will be slow to arrive. The pass, closed since the 1962 Sino-Indian War
Sino-Indian War
The Sino-Indian War , also known as the Sino-Indian Border Conflict , was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 Tibetan...

, was an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

.

Air

Sikkim currently does not have any airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

s or railheads because of its rough terrain. However, the state's first airport is expected to be ready by 2011 in Pakyong
Pakyong
Pakyong is a town in the foothills of the himalayas located in the East Sikkim district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Pakyong used to be a small settlement until the Central government grant for the first airport in Sikkim to be built in this town brought it into the limelight in the late...

, 30 km (18.6 mi) away from Gangtok. The airport will be capable of operating ATR aircraft. Currently, the closest operational airport to Sikkim is Bagdogra Airport
Bagdogra Airport
Bagdogra International Airport or Civil Aerodrome Bagdogra is a military airport that is open for civilian flights. The airport is located in the town of Bagdogra, about from the city of Siliguri in the Darjeeling district in northern West Bengal, India...

, near the town of Siliguri
Siliguri
Siliguri is a city in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck - a very narrow strip of land linking mainland India to its north-eastern states. It is also the transit point for air, road and rail traffic to the neighbouring countries of Nepal,...

 in West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

. The airport is about 124 km away from Gangtok. A regular helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

 service run by the Sikkim Helicopter Service connects Gangtok to Bagdogra; the flight is thirty minutes long, operates only once a day, and can carry 4 people. The Gangtok helipad
Helipad
Helipad is a common abbreviation for helicopter landing pad, a landing area for helicopters. While helicopters are able to operate on a variety of relatively flat surfaces, a fabricated helipad provides a clearly marked hard surface away from obstacles where a helicopter can safely...

 is the only civilian helipad in the state.

Rail

Sikkim lacks significant railway
Indian Railways
Indian Railways , abbreviated as IR , is a departmental undertaking of Government of India, which owns and operates most of India's rail transport. It is overseen by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India....

 infrastructure. The closest major railway stations are Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri
New Jalpaiguri
New Jalpaiguri is a major railway station of the city of Siliguri in the Indian state of West Bengal. The station is popularly known by its acronym NJP...

 in neighbouring West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

.

However, the New Sikkim Railway Project has been launched to connect the town of Rangpo
Rangpo
Rangpo is a town in East Sikkim in the Indian state of Sikkim. The town borders West Bengal and is situated along the river Teesta. It is the first Sikkimese town on NH-31A which links Siliguri to Gangtok. It is about 200 m above sea level giving it a sub-tropical climate...

 in Sikkim with Sevoke
Sevoke
Sevoke is a town near Siliguri in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India. It is a part of Dooars. Many army and BSF camps are located in the area. The Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in this area. National Highway 31 passes through the town...

. The project is expected to be complete by 2015. In addition, the Ministry of Railways has recently proposed plans for railway lines linking Mirik
Mirik
Mirik is a picturesque tourist spot nestled in the serene hills of Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India. The name Mirik comes from the Lepcha words Mir-Yok meaning "place burnt by fire"....

 to Ranipool
Ranipool
Ranipool, is a small suburban town located near Gangtok, East Sikkim. It is 12 km from Gangtok main town. It has three roads which lead to Singtam, Pakyong and Gangtok. It falls under the Gangtok Municipal Corporation....

.

Roads

National Highway 31A
National Highway 31A (India)
National Highway 31A links Gangtok to Sevoke on NH 31. Kalimpong is located off this long highway. -Rivers:NH 31A runs along the banks of the Teesta River. A travel writer has described the route as follows: “The four-hour ride to Gangtok from Bagdogra Airport is thrilling...

 and National Highway 31
National Highway 31 (India)
National Highway 31 is an important National Highway in India. It provides gateway to the states in North-East India. This long National Highway starts in Barhi, Jharkhand at the NH 2 and generally traverses in Northeast direction passing through Jhumri Tilaiya, Koderma, Nawada, Bihar Sharif,...

 link Siliguri to Gangtok. Sikkim National Transport runs bus and truck services. Privately-run bus, tourist taxi
Taxicab
A taxicab, also taxi or cab, is a type of vehicle for hire with a driver, used by a single passenger or small group of passengers, often for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice...

 and jeep
Jeep
Jeep is an automobile marque of Chrysler . The first Willys Jeeps were produced in 1941 with the first civilian models in 1945, making it the oldest off-road vehicle and sport utility vehicle brand. It inspired a number of other light utility vehicles, such as the Land Rover which is the second...

 services operate throughout Sikkim, and also connect it to Siliguri. A branch of the highway from Melli
Melli
Melli is a town on the West Bengal-Sikkim border near the River Teesta.The appellation Melli in Nepali means "the place where the dead are cremated". Melli is one of the few towns in India that lie in two different states. A bridge named Jawaharlal Nehru Bridge connects the two parts of the town....

 connects western Sikkim. Towns in southern and western Sikkim are connected to the hill station
Hill station
A hill station is a town located at a higher elevation than the nearby plain or valley. The term was used mostly in colonial Asia , but also in Africa , for towns founded by European colonial rulers as refuges from the summer heat, up where temperatures are cooler...

s of Kalimpong and Darjeeling in northern West Bengal. The state is furthermore connected to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 by the mountain pass of Nathu La.

Demographics

Sikkim is India's least populous state, with 607,688 inhabitants as of 2011. Sikkim is also one of the least densely-populated Indian states, with only 86 persons per square kilometre. However, it has a high population growth rate, averaging 12.36% between 2001 and 2011. The sex ratio
Human sex ratio
In anthropology and demography, the human sex ratio is the sex ratio for Homo sapiens . Like most sexual species, the sex ratio is approximately 1:1. In humans the secondary sex ratio is commonly assumed to be 105 boys to 100 girls, an assumption that is a subject of debate in the scientific...

 is 889 female
Female
Female is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces non-mobile ova .- Defining characteristics :The ova are defined as the larger gametes in a heterogamous reproduction system, while the smaller, usually motile gamete, the spermatozoon, is produced by the male...

s per 1000 male
Male
Male refers to the biological sex of an organism, or part of an organism, which produces small mobile gametes, called spermatozoa. Each spermatozoon can fuse with a larger female gamete or ovum, in the process of fertilization...

s, with a total of 321,661 males and 286,027 females recorded in 2011. With 50,000 inhabitants, the capital Gangtok
Gangtok
Gangtok is the capital and largest town of the Indian state of Sikkim. Gangtok is located in the Shivalik Hills of the eastern Himalayan range, at an altitude of . The town, with a population of thirty thousand belonging to different ethnicities such as Nepalis, Lepchas and Bhutia, is administered...

 is the only significant town in the mostly rural state; the urban population in Sikkim constitutes around 11.06% of the total. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 in Sikkim stands at 11,356, which is one of the highest in the country.

Ethnicity

The majority of Sikkim's residents are of Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

i ethnic origin. The native Sikkimese consist of the Bhutia
Bhutia
The Bhutia are ethnic Tibetans who speak Sikkimese, a Tibetan dialect fairly mutually intelligible to standard Tibetan. In 2001, the Bhutia numbered around 70,300...

s, who migrated from the Kham district of Tibet in the 14th century, and the Lepchas
Lepcha people
The Lepcha or Róng people , also called Róngkup , Mútuncí Róngkup Rumkup , and Rongpa , are the aboriginal people of Sikkim, who number between 30,000 and 50,000...

, who are believed to have migrated from the Far East. Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

ans reside mostly in the northern and eastern reaches of the state. Migrant resident communities include Biharis
Bihari people
The Biharis are an ethnic group originating from the present state of Bihar with a history going back three millennia...

, Bengalis
Bengali people
The Bengali people are an ethnic community native to the historic region of Bengal in South Asia. They speak Bengali , which is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit and Sanskrit languages. In their native language, they are referred to as বাঙালী...

 and Marwaris
Marwaris
Marwari or Marwadi or Rajasthani people are Indian ethnic group, that inhabit the Rajasthan region of India. Their language Rajasthani is a part of the western group of Indo-Aryan languages....

, who are prominent in commerce in South Sikkim
South Sikkim
South Sikkim is a district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Its capital is Namchi.-Geography:South Sikkim lies at an altitude of 400 to 2000 metres and hence enjoys a temperate climate for most of the year. Major urban centres include Teesta Bazaar and Melli....

 and Gangtok.

Religion

Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 has been the state's major religion since the arrival of the Nepalis; an estimated 60.93% of the total population are now adherents of the religion. Sikkim's second-largest religion is Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, which accounts for 28.1% of the population. Sikkim has 75 monasteries, the oldest dating back to the 1700s.

Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s in Sikkim are mostly descendants of the Lepcha people who were converted by British missionaries in the late 19th century, and constitute around 6.6% of the population. Other religious minorities include Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s of Bihari ethnicity and Jains, who account for roughly 1% each. The traditional religions of the native Sikkimese account for much of the remainder of the population. Although tensions between the Lepchas and the Nepalese escalated during the merger of Sikkim with India in the 1970s, there has never been any major degree of communal religious violence, unlike in other Indian states.

Languages

Nepali
Nepali language
Nepali or Nepalese is a language in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family.It is the official language and de facto lingua franca of Nepal and is also spoken in Bhutan, parts of India and parts of Myanmar...

 is the lingua franca of Sikkim, while Bhutia and Lepcha
Lepcha language
Lepcha language, or Róng language , is a Himalayish language spoken by the Lepcha people in Sikkim and parts of West Bengal, Nepal and Bhutan.-Population:...

 are spoken in certain areas. English
Indian English
Indian English is an umbrella term used to describe dialects of the English language spoken primarily in the Republic of India.As a result of British colonial rule until Indian independence in 1947 English is an official language of India and is widely used in both spoken and literary contexts...

 and Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

 are also spoken and understood in most of Sikkim. Other languages include Dzongkha, Groma
Groma language
Groma is a language spoken in Sikkim and Tibet. It belongs to the southern group of Tibetan languages. Its speakers identify as Tibetans.-References: See online version: ....

, Gurung
Gurung language
Gurung is spoken by the Gurung people in two dialects with limited mutual intelligibility. Total number of all Gurung speakers in Nepal is 227,918...

, Limbu
Limbu language
Limbu is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Kashmir and Darjeeling district, West Bengal, India, by the Limbu community. Virtually all Limbus are bilingual in Nepali....

, Magar
Magar language
Not to be confused with the Magyar language, known in English as HungarianMagar मगर भाषा Magar bhasa is a language spoken in parts of Nepal and Sikkim in India by Magar people. It is divided into two groups: Eastern and Western, and further dialect divisions give distinct tribal identity...

, Majhi
Majhi language
Majhi is a language spoken in parts of Nepal and Sikkim. Total population: 22,087.-External links:*...

, Majhwar
Majhwar language
Majhwar is an unclassified language—possibly a dialect of Asuri—spoken in parts of Nepal and Sikkim. Total population: 27,958....

, Nepal Bhasa, Rai
Kiranti languages
The Mahakiranti or Maha-Kiranti languages are a proposed intermediate level of classification of the Tibeto-Burman languages. They are the languages most closely related to the Kiranti languages proper, which are spoken by the ethnic Kirat...

, Sikkimese
Sikkimese language
The Sikkimese language, also called Sikkimese Tibetan, Bhutia, Dranjongke , Dranjoke, Denjongka, Denzongpeke, and Denzongke, belongs to the Southern Tibetan language family. It is spoken by the Bhutia nationality in Sikkim...

, Sherpa
Sherpa language
Sherpa is a language spoken in parts of Nepal and Sikkim mainly by the Sherpa community. About 130,000 speakers live in Nepal , some 20,000 in India , and some 800 in Tibet ....

, Sunuwar
Sunwar language
Sunuwari is a Kiranti language spoken in Nepal by the Sunuwar people. It was first comprehensively attested by the Himalayan Languages Project.-External links:**...

, Tamang
Tamang language
Tamang is a term used to collectively refer to a dialect cluster spoken in parts of Nepal and Sikkim. It comprises Eastern Tamang, Northwestern Tamang, Southwestern Tamang, Eastern Gorkha Tamang, and Western Tamang...

, Thulung
Thulung language
Thulung is a Kiranti language spoken in parts of Nepal and Sikkim. It is also known as Thulunge Rai, Thulu Luwa, Thululoa, Thulung La, Tholong Lo, Thulung Jemu, Toaku Lwa. Total population: 33,313.-External links:...

, Tibetan
Tibetan language
The Tibetan languages are a cluster of mutually-unintelligible Tibeto-Burman languages spoken primarily by Tibetan peoples who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the northern Indian subcontinent in Baltistan, Ladakh,...

, and Yakha
Yakha language
Yakkha is a language spoken in parts of Nepal, Darjeeling district and Sikkim. The Yakkha-speaking villages are located to the East of the Arun river, in the southern part of the Sankhuwasabha district and in the northern part of the Dhankuta district of Nepal. About 14,000 people still speak the...

.

Culture

The Nepalese
Nepali people
Nepali people can refer to:*People of Nepal*Ethnic Nepalis of Indian citizenry residing in Gorkhaland area of West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and other parts of India.* Indian Gorkhas*Lhotshampas of Bhutan.*Nepali diaspora the world over....

 majority of Sikkim celebrate all major Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 festivals, including Diwali
Diwali
Diwali or DeepavaliThe name of the festival in various regional languages include:, , , , , , , , , , , , , popularly known as the "festival of lights," is a festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-December for different reasons...

 and Dussera
Dasain
Dashain is the 15-day national festival of Nepal, It is the longest and the most auspicious festival in the Nepalese annual calendar, celebrated with great rejoice by Nepalese of all caste and creed throughout the globe. It is not only the longest festival of the country but is also the one...

. Traditional local festivals, such as Maghe Sankranti
Maghe sankranti
Maghe sankranti is a Nepalese festival observed on the first of Magh in the Bikram Samwat Nepali calendar bringing an end to the ill-omened month of Poush when all religious ceremonies are forbidden. Maghe Sakranti is the Nepalese version of the Indian Makar Sankranti. On this day, the sun is...

 and Bhimsen Puja, are also popular. Losar
Losar
Losar is the Tibetan word for "new year." lo holds the semantic field "year, age"; sar holds the semantic field "new, fresh". Losar is the most important holiday in Tibet....

, Loosong, Saga Dawa, Lhabab Duechen, Drupka Teshi
Drupka Teshi
Drupka Teshi is a Buddhist festival celebrated to observe Buddha's first preaching of the "Noble Truths" at the deer park in Sarnath. It falls on the fourth day of the sixth month in the Tibetan calendar, ....

 and Bhumchu
Bhumchu
Bhumchu is a Buddhist festival celebrated to predict the future. In this water stored in a vase is opened during the festival by the lamas who inspect the water level. If it is filled to the brim, the following year will be filled with bloodshed. If it is empty, famine will follow, and if it is...

 are among the Buddhist festivals celebrated in Sikkim. During the Losar (Tibetan New Year), most offices and educational institutions are closed for a week. Sikkimese Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

 and Muharram
Muharram
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited...

. Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 has also been promoted in Gangtok to attract tourists during the off-season.

Western rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 and Hindi songs have gained a wide following in Sikkim. Indigenous Nepali rock
Nepali rock
-History:The history of rock music in Nepal goes back to the 70s/80s when there were numerous acts influenced by westerners as The Beatles, the Who, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple etc....

 and Lepcha music are also popular. Sikkim's most popular sport are football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 and cricket
Cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

, although hang gliding
Hang gliding
Hang gliding is an air sport in which a pilot flies a light and unmotorized foot-launchable aircraft called a hang glider ....

 and river rafting have also grown popular as part of the tourism industry.

Cuisine

Noodle
Noodle
The noodle is a type of food, made from any of a variety of doughs, formed into long thin ribbons, strips, curly-cues, waves, helices, pipes, tubes, strings, or other various shapes, sometimes folded. They are usually cooked in a mixture of boiling water and/or oil. Depending upon the type, noodles...

-based dishes such as thukpa
Thukpa
Thukpa is a Tibetan noodle soup, usually served with meat. It is popular in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and also in the states of Sikkim, Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and some other parts of India. The food is widely available in restaurants in these regions...

, chowmein, thanthuk, fakthu, gyathuk and wonton
Wonton
Not to be confused with WantonA wonton is a type of dumpling commonly found in a number of Chinese cuisines.-Filling:...

 are common in Sikkim. Momos
Momo (food)
Momo is a type of pastry native to Nepal as well as among the Tibetans. It is similar to the Mongolian buuz or the Chinese jiaozi.The Tibetan word momo is a loanword from the Chinese mómo .-Production:...

, steamed dumpling
Dumpling
Dumplings are cooked balls of dough. They are based on flour, potatoes or bread, and may include meat, fish, vegetables, or sweets. They may be cooked by boiling, steaming, simmering, frying, or baking. They may have a filling, or there may be other ingredients mixed into the dough. Dumplings may...

s filled with vegetables, buff (buffalo meat) or pork
Pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

 and served with a soup, are a popular snack. Beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

, whiskey, rum
Rum
Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane by-products such as molasses, or directly from sugarcane juice, by a process of fermentation and distillation. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels...

 and brandy
Brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

 are widely consumed. Sikkim has the third-highest per capita alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 rate amongst all Indian states, behind Punjab
Punjab (India)
Punjab ) is a state in the northwest of the Republic of India, forming part of the larger Punjab region. The state is bordered by the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh to the east, Haryana to the south and southeast and Rajasthan to the southwest as well as the Pakistani province of Punjab to the...

 and Haryana
Haryana
Haryana is a state in India. Historically, it has been a part of the Kuru region in North India. The name Haryana is found mentioned in the 12th century AD by the apabhramsha writer Vibudh Shridhar . It is bordered by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north, and by Rajasthan to the west and south...

.

Government and politics

State symbols
State day 16 May (day of accession to India)
State animal Red Panda
Red Panda
The red panda , is a small arboreal mammal native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. It is the only species of the genus Ailurus. Slightly larger than a domestic cat, it has reddish-brown fur, a long, shaggy tail, and a waddling gait due to its shorter front legs...

State bird Blood Pheasant
Blood Pheasant
The Blood Pheasant is the only species in genus Ithaginis of the pheasant family. This relatively small, short-tailed pheasant is widespread and fairly common in northern Southasia...

State tree Rhododendron
Rhododendron
Rhododendron is a genus of over 1 000 species of woody plants in the heath family, most with showy flowers...

State flower Noble orchid
Noble orchid
The Noble Orchid is an orchid found in Himalayan regions and in temperate locations. It is the state flower of Sikkim....


Like all states of India
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

, the head of Sikkim's state government is a governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 appointed by the Central Indian Government
Government of India
The Government of India, officially known as the Union Government, and also known as the Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 28 states and seven union territories, collectively called the Republic of India...

. His/her appointment is largely ceremonial, and his/her main role is to oversee the swearing in of the Chief Minister
Chief Minister
A Chief Minister is the elected head of government of a sub-national state, provinces of Sri Lanka, Pakistan, notably a state of India, a territory of Australia or a British Overseas Territory that has attained self-government...

. The Chief Minister, who holds the real executive powers, is the head of the party or coalition garnering the largest majority in the state elections. The governor also appoints the cabinet ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister. Sikkim has a unicameral legislature like most other Indian states. Sikkim is allocated one seat in each of both chambers of India's national bicameral legislature, the Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha or House of the People is the lower house of the Parliament of India. Members of the Lok Sabha are elected by direct election under universal adult suffrage. As of 2009, there have been fifteen Lok Sabhas elected by the people of India...

, and the Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state," and Sabha means "assembly hall" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature,...

. There are a total of 32 state assembly seats including one reserved for the Sangha
Sangha
Sangha is a word in Pali or Sanskrit that can be translated roughly as "association" or "assembly," "company" or "community" with common goal, vision or purpose...

. The Sikkim High Court
Sikkim High Court
The Sikkim High Court is the High Court of the state of Sikkim. The history of the court can be traced back to 1955, when the High Court of Judicature Proclamation, 1955 was issued to establish a High Court in Sikkim...

 is the smallest high court in the country.

In 1975, after the abrogation of Sikkim's monarchy, the Congress Party
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 got the largest majority in the 1977 elections. In 1979, after a period of instability, a popular ministry headed by Nar Bahadur Bhandari
Nar Bahadur Bhandari
Nar Bahadur Bhandari is a former chief minister of the state of Sikkim in India who governed the state from 1979 to 1994. He was the founder leader of Sikkim Sangram Parishad party.-Personal life:...

, leader of the Sikkim Sangram Parishad Party
Sikkim Sangram Parishad Party
The Sikkim Sangram Parishad Party is a political party based in the state of Sikkim in India. It was formed in 1984 by N.B. Bhandari which won 31 of the 32 seats in the general elections in 1984. In 1989, it swept the elections winning all the seats. Since then it has lost to the Sikkim Democratic...

 was sworn in. Bhandari held on to power in the 1984 and 1989 elections. In the 1994 elections Pawan Kumar Chamling
Pawan Kumar Chamling
Pawan Kumar Chamling is the fifth chief minister of the Indian state of Sikkim. Chamling is the founder president of the Sikkim Democratic Front party, which has governed Sikkim for four successive terms since 1994, winning the 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2009 state assembly elections.-Personal...

 from the Sikkim Democratic Front
Sikkim Democratic Front
Sikkim Democratic Front is a political party in the Indian state of Sikkim. The party was founded by Pawan Kumar Chamling in 1993. It has ruled the state since 1994 with Pawan Kumar Chamling as the chief minister. The party consolidated its position sweeping the 1999 and 2004 state elections. It...

 became the Chief Minister of the state. The party has since held on to power by winning the 1999 and 2004 elections. It won all the 32 seats of the state assembly in 2009.

Infrastructure

Although roads in Sikkim are often exposed to landslide
Landslide
A landslide or landslip is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rockfalls, deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows, which can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore environments...

s and flooding by nearby streams, the roads are significantly better than the equivalent roads of other Indian states. The roads are maintained by the Border Roads Organisation
Border Roads Organisation
The Border Roads Organisation maintains roads that serve the borders areas of India. It is staffed with a combination of Border Roads Engineering Service officers from the General Reserve Engineer Force and officers from the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army. The organisation develops and...

 (BRO), an offshoot of the Indian army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

. The roads in South Sikkim and NH-31A are in good condition, landslides being less frequent in these areas. The state government maintains 1857.35 km of roadways that do not fall in the BRO jurisdiction.

Sikkim receives most of its electricity from 19 hydroelectric power stations. It has achieved 100% rural electrification. Power also obtained from the National Thermal Power Corporation
National Thermal Power Corporation
NTPC Limited is the largest Indian state-owned energy service provider based in New Delhi, India. It is listed in Forbes Global 2000 for 2010 ranked it 341st in the world...

 and Power Grid Corporation of India. However the voltage is unstable and voltage stabilisers are needed. Per capita
Per capita
Per capita is a Latin prepositional phrase: per and capita . The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e. per individual or per person...

 consumption of electricity in Sikkim is 182 kWh. The state government has promoted biogas and solar power for cooking but these have received a poor response and are used mostly for lighting purposes. 73.2% of the total households have access to safe drinking water, and the large number of streams assures sufficient water supply.

Media

The southern urban areas have English, Nepali and Hindi dailies. Nepali-language newspapers, as well as some English newspapers, are locally printed, whereas Hindi and English newspapers are printed in Siliguri
Siliguri
Siliguri is a city in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck - a very narrow strip of land linking mainland India to its north-eastern states. It is also the transit point for air, road and rail traffic to the neighbouring countries of Nepal,...

. Important local dailies and weeklies are Hamro Prajashakti (Nepali daily), Himalayan Mirror (English daily), the Samay Dainik, Sikkim Express (English), Sikkim Now (English), Kanchanjunga Times (Nepali weekly), Pragya Khabar (Nepali weekly) and Himalibela. The regional editions of English newspapers include The Statesman
The Statesman
The Statesman is an Indian English-language broadsheet daily newspaper founded in 1875 and published simultaneously in Kolkata, New Delhi, Siliguri and Bhubaneswar. The Statesman is owned by The Statesman Ltd., its headquarters at Statesman House, Chowringhee Square, Calcutta and its national...

and The Telegraph
The Telegraph (Kolkata)
The Telegraph is an Indian daily newspaper founded and continuously published in Kolkata since 1982. It is published by the ABP Group and the newspaper vies with the Times of India for the position of having the widest widest circulation of any newspaper in Eastern India.According to the Audit...

, which are printed in Siliguri, as well as The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu is an Indian English-language daily newspaper founded and continuously published in Chennai since 1878. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, it has a circulation of 1.46 million copies as of December 2009. The enterprise employed over 1,600 workers and gross income reached $40...

and The Times of India
The Times of India
The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper. TOI has the largest circulation among all English-language newspaper in the world, across all formats . It is owned and managed by Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd...

, printed in Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, which are received with a day's delay in the towns of Gangtok, Jorethang
Jorethang
Jorethang is a major town in South Sikkim district in the Indian state of Sikkim. The town is situated at an altitude of about 300 m above sea level and has a temperate climate. Jorethang lies on the Rangeet River, a tributary of the River Teesta. Jorethang lies on the way to Pelling from...

, Melli
Melli
Melli is a town on the West Bengal-Sikkim border near the River Teesta.The appellation Melli in Nepali means "the place where the dead are cremated". Melli is one of the few towns in India that lie in two different states. A bridge named Jawaharlal Nehru Bridge connects the two parts of the town....

 and Geyzing
Geyzing
Gyalshing or Geyzing is the capital of the district of West Sikkim in the Indian state of Sikkim. The town is connected to the capital Gangtok by a metalled road. Geyzing is also connected to the West Bengal towns of Darjeeling and Kalimpong via Jorethang. A few kilometres north is the town of...

. Himalaya Darpan, a Nepali daily published in Siliguri, is one of the leading Nepali daily newspapers in the region. The Sikkim Herald is an official weekly publication of the government. Online media covering Sikkim include the Nepali newspaper Himgiri, the English news portal Haalkhabar and the literary magazine Tistarangit. Avyakta, Bilokan, the Journal of Hill Research, Khaber Khagaj, Panda, and the Sikkim Science Society Newsletter are among other registered publications.

Internet café
Internet cafe
An Internet café or cybercafé is a place which provides internet access to the public, usually for a fee. These businesses usually provide snacks and drinks, hence the café in the name...

s are well established in the district capitals, but broadband
Broadband
The term broadband refers to a telecommunications signal or device of greater bandwidth, in some sense, than another standard or usual signal or device . Different criteria for "broad" have been applied in different contexts and at different times...

 connectivity is not widely available. Satellite television
Satellite television
Satellite television is television programming delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an...

 channels through dish antennae are available in most homes in the state. Channels served are largely the same as those available in the rest of India, although Nepali-language channels are also available. The main service providers include Dish TV
Dish TV
Dish TV India Limited is an Indian company engaged in the business of providing direct-to-home satellite television service, which includes teleport service, customer support and transponder space leasing. Dishtv is a division of Zee Network Enterprise . It uses MPEG-2 digital compression...

, Doordarshan
DoorDarshan
Doordarshan is an Indian public service broadcaster, a division of Prasar Bharati. It is one of the largest broadcasting organizations in India in terms of the infrastructure of studios and transmitters. Recently, it has also started Digital Terrestrial Transmitters. On September 15, 2009,...

 and Nayuma.

Education

Literacy in Sikkim is 69.68%, which breaks down into 76.73% for males and 61.46% for females. There are a total of 1157 schools, including 765 schools run by the State government, 7 central government schools and 385 private schools. Twelve colleges and other institutions in Sikkim offer higher education. The largest institution is the Sikkim Manipal University
Sikkim Manipal University
Sikkim Manipal University is a public-private partnership between the Government of Sikkim and Manipal Education in India. It was established in 1995 and is recognised by the University Grants Commission as a State Private University...

 of Technological Sciences, which offers higher education in engineering, medicine and management. It also runs a host of distance education programs in diverse fields. There are two state-run polytechnical schools, Advanced Technical Training Centre (ATTC) and Centre for Computers and Communication Technology (CCCT) in Sikkim which offer diploma courses in various branches of engineering. ATTC is situated at Bardang, Singtam and CCCT at Chisopani, Namchi. Sikkim University
Sikkim University
Sikkim University is a Central University established under Sikkim University Act, 2006. It started functioning from July 2007. The university campus is expected to be built at Yangang in South Sikkim district of Sikkim. Professor Mahendra P. Lama has been appointed as the first Vice Chancellor of...

 a central university, began operating in 2008 at Yangang
Yangang
Yangang is a small town in South Sikkim district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Sikkim University, a central university is going to start functioning from 2008 at Yangang. Yangang is also the birth place of present chief minister of Sikkim, Pawan Kumar Chamling.-References:...

, which is situated about 28 km from Singtam
Singtam
Singtam is a town in East Sikkim district in the Indian state of Sikkim. It is about 30 km from the state capital Gangtok.-Geography:Singtam is located at . It has an average elevation of 1396 metres .-Demographics:...

. Many students, however, migrate to Siliguri
Siliguri
Siliguri is a city in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is located in the Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck - a very narrow strip of land linking mainland India to its north-eastern states. It is also the transit point for air, road and rail traffic to the neighbouring countries of Nepal,...

, Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, Bangalore
Bangalore
Bengaluru , formerly called Bengaluru is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Bangalore is nicknamed the Garden City and was once called a pensioner's paradise. Located on the Deccan Plateau in the south-eastern part of Karnataka, Bangalore is India's third most populous city and...

 and other Indian cities for their higher education.

See also



Further reading


External links

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