Geography of Sikkim
Sikkim is a small mountain state in eastern Himalayas. Sikkim is located between 28o 07'48" and 27o04'46" north latitudes, and 88o00’58" and 88o55'25" east longitudes. It is bounded by Tibet on the north, Nepal on the west, Bhutan on the east and West Bengal lies to its south. It is the least populous state in the union. Sikkim is a land of rich and varied scenic beauty, magnificent mountains, eternal snows, dark forests, green fertile valleys, raging torrents and calm, placid lakes. Her magnificent variety of flora and fauna are the naturalist's dream; the steep variations in elevation and rainfall give rise to a glorious multitude of species within a comparatively limited area.
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 Tsomgo, Gurudongmar andKhechiopalri lakes), five major hot springs, 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. The average temperature of the water in these hot springs is 50 °C (122 °F).Climate
The state has five seasons: winter, summer, spring, autumn, and monsoon . Sikkim's climate ranges from sub-tropical in the south to tundra in the north. Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim experience a temperate climate in summer.
Sikkim is one of the few states to receive regular snowfall. The tundra-type region in the north is snowbound for four months every year, and the temperature drops below 0 °C almost every night. In north-western Sikkim, the peaks are frozen year-round; because of the high altitude.
During the monsoon, heavy rains are also felt. The record for the longest period of continuous rain in Sikkim is 11 days, fog affects many parts of the state during winter and the monsoons.
Rivers of Sikkim
Tista or Teesta is the largest river of Sikkim. Winding its way through Sikkim the river divides the state into two parts. Teesta can be called as Ganga of the state of Sikkim as most of the Sikkim's settlements are found along the banks of this river. Rangit is another principle river.
Food of Sikkim
One can enjoy all delicacies in Sikkim, from Tibetan to Chinese and Indian to Japanese. Banana pancakes, chicken-fried rice and momos are hot favorites. Rice is the staple diet, and legumes are readily available. Gyakho is a traditional soup served on special occasions.
Art & Culture of Sikkim
Sikkim is the least populated state in the country. There are three principal communities namely Nepalis (75%), Lepchas (20%), and smaller proportions of Bhutias and Limbus. The Lepchas were the first tribe to come and settle in the region. In the 13th century, the Bhutias from Tibet came and brought with them for the first time the Mahayana sect of Buddhism; the Nepalis were the last to enter Sikkim. The amalgamation of different cultures has resulted into development of a Sikkimese culture.
Most of the people speak Nepali, which is also the state language. The harmony of the place provides justification to the name of the state derived from Sukhim, meaning 'happy home, a place of peace'. Though Hinduism is followed too, Buddhism is deeply routed in the tradition of the state. The land has a spiritual ambience where prayer flags with inscriptions of Buddhist texts flutter around the boundaries to ward off evil spirits.
The crafts include Choksees - small wooden tables designed with intricate local Tibetan designs, Tibetan woolen carpets – done in very expensive and intricate patterns and exquisitely carved dragon sets of silver and gold inlaid with precious stones.
Festivals of Sikkim
The people of Sikkim celebrate the anniversaries relating to birth, enlightenment, and nirvana of the Buddha, besides these the New Year and the harvest festivals are celebrated.
The Lepcha men wear a dress called 'pagi' while the Lepcha women wear a two-piece dress. Among the Bhutias, the traditional dress of the men is known as the 'Bakhu', which is a loose cloak type garment with full sleeves. The women's dress consists of a silken 'Honju', a full sleeve blouse and a loose gown type garment.
The women are very fond of heavy jewelry made of pure gold. The traditional Nepali dress for men consists of a long double breast garment flowing below the waist and a trouser known as 'Daura Suruwal'. The women's dresses consist of a double breasted garment with strings to tie on both sides at four places, which is shorter than the Daura and is known as 'Chow Bandi Choli'. They also wear a shawl known as 'Majetro'.