About Sikkim...

Sikkim is an ever enchanting state full of serenity, with its elegant natural beauty and devoted religious touch. Sikkim is the second smallest state of India. The magical lure about Sikkim has always been attracting people all over the world. Their legendry mountain, landscapes beyond imagination, all culminates into a masterpiece of the creator. It was an independent monarchy ruled by kings called Chogyals till 1975, when it joined the Indian union. Talking about Sikkim modern history it began from 1642 A.D. with the coronation of Phuntsog Namgyal as the first Chogyal or king of Sikkim in a tranquil pine covered hill in Yuksom Norbugang in West Sikkim. The Namgyals were scions of the Mi-nyak and are housed in Kham in Eastern Tibet. It is said that there were three brothers, chiefs of Kham Mi-nyak. A letter dropped from heaven directed the middle brother to go south towards Sikkim where his descendents were fated to rule. The Sikkim coronation book describes Guru Tashi as the first ruler of Sikkim who paved way for a regular monarchy. The historical congregation of the three holy Lamas is called Yuksom, which in Lepcha means the 'Three Superior Ones'. Twelve generations of Chogyals ruled over Sikkim for over 300 years.

This tiny Himalayan kingdom however witnessed tumultuous change in 1972-73. In 1975 the institution of the Chogyal was abolished and on May 16th, 1975 Sikkim was formally inducted as the 22nd state of India. Sikkim has borders with Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and the Indian state of West Bengal. Situated in the Himalayan ranges, the state is entirely hilly. The highest elevation is Mt. Kanchendzonga the third highest peak in the world, which is worshipped as the guardian deity of the state. Lepchas are considered to be the oldest inhabitants of Sikkim. Then came the Bhutias from Tibet, and the latest were Nepalese and the people from Indian plains. All of them contributed the base for a mixed culture in Sikkim. Sikkim is home to the Mahayana form of Buddhism and its colorful Gompas (Buddhist monasteries) which are a major attraction. Of these Rumtek monastery Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim with a population of approximately 50,000 has emerged and joined the mainstream of the tourism Industry, with more and more tourist visiting this little Himalayan state every year. Gangtok has developed into a cosmopolitan flavor where old world charm and hospitality exist along with the modern age amenities. One good thing about Sikkim is that vivid cultures and religions exist in perfect harmony in Gangtok, presenting a good example that "Unity in Diversity" exists in Sikkim. Sikkimeses have strong bonding with their age-old traditions and customs. However a quick survey of Gangtok shows that the capital is not lagging in terms of urbanization. Roads, flyovers, markets, state-of-art hospitals, educational institutes, fast food outlets, discothèques, and all other modern amenities are available in Sikkim. One outstanding manmade landmark of the town is the 200 ft-high TV tower which overlooks the town. A stroll along the Mahatma Gandhi Marg is shopper's delight where Hotels, Restaurants, footwear and almost everything is available. In addition to an Indian visa, foreigners are supposed to obtain Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim. Foreigners are issued a permit for initial period of 15 days duration on the spot without any delay, provided photocopies of Passport and Visa details along with two passport photos of applicants are made available then and there. .