Sikkim "The Hidden Paradise"
Situated in the Eastern Himalayas, this beautiful state of Sikkim is sandwiched between Nepal in the West and Bhutan in the East, Tibet in the North and the state of West Bengal in the South. With an area of 7,300 sq. kms, measuring 115 kms from north to south and 65 kms. From East to West, the elevation ranging from 244 mts to over 8550 mts., above sea level, approximately latitude of 27 degree North and longitude of 88 degree East. This small state belies its richness of culture, customs, heritage, flora and fauna. Sikkim, once a protectorate of India with a monarchy government but metamorphosed as the 22nd state of the Indian Union in the year 1975. The population of the state is only 4,20,000 as per the last census. Amidst the grandeur of the mountain peaks, lush green valleys cascading waterfalls and fast flowing rivers, beautiful monasteries and terraced hills, Sikkim offers her visitor a rare and exotic experience.
History of Sikkim
The original inhabitants were the Lepchas or the “raven folks” who came to the area from Assam and Burma. From the 1200’s the Bhutias or the Tibetan people moved into Sikkim. They included the Namgyal clan who arrived in the 1400’s and gradually won political control over Sikkim. In 1642, Phintsok Namgyal (1604-1670) became the first Chogyal (King). He presided over a social system based on Tibetan Lamaistic Buddhism. His descendents ruled Sikkim for more than 330 years. During the 1700’s Sikkim suffered massive invasion from Nepal and Bhutan and lost much territory as a result. The Nepalese also migrated to Sikkim and settled as farmers. By the 1800’s Sikkim’s population was very mixed, and internal conflict resulted. Sikkim assisted the British in a successful war against Nepal in the year1814-1815 and won back some of its land. The British India Company purchased the health resort of Darjeeling from Sikkim. During the mid 1800’s, Sikkim violently resisted attempts to bring it under British Rule, but in 1861 it finally became a protectorate. The British had assess to Tibet through Sikkim, and Sikkim’s independent status was recognized. The Indian government took responsibility of Sikkim’s external affairs, defense and communication of Sikkim in the year 1950. In 1973, India took Sikkim into the union as an associate member. In 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of India.