Sikkim, a state of India, located in the northeastern part of the country, in the eastern Himalayas. It is one of the smallest states in India. Sikkim is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north and northeast, by Bhutan to the southeast, by the Indian state of West Bengal to the south, and by Nepal to the west. The capital, Gangtok, is in the southeastern part of the state.
More than two-fifths of Sikkim is forested. Sal (a type of hardwood), pandanus, palms, bamboos, ferns, and orchids are common in the subtropical forests found below about 5,000 feet (1,500 metres). In the temperate forests (5,000 to 13,000 feet (1,500 to 4,000 metres), oak, laurel, maple, chestnut, magnolia, alder, birch, rhododendron, fir, hemlock, and spruce predominate. Alpine tundra replaces forest at the higher elevations.
Sikkim has a rich and varied animal life, including black bears, brown bears, red pandas, numerous species of deer, blue sheep, gorals (small goatlike mammals), and Tibetan antelope. Tigers, leopards, and lesser cats are also found. Birdlife includes pheasants, partridges, quail, eagles, barbets, Himalayan cuckoos, Tibetan black crows, and minivets. Sikkim has several national parks and a number of wildlife sanctuaries, which provide a protected environment for the state’s diverse flora and fauna. The Kanchenjunga National Park (established in 1977), near the peak from which it draws its name, is among the largest of India’s high-elevation conservation areas.
DARJEELING is one of the prettiest hill stations in India located in northern part of West Bengal. It’s all about magnificent views of snow-capped Kanchenjunga, torrents flowing down the mountain slopes, lovely tea gardens, landscapes with firs, pines & ferns, and all that combined with friendly people and modern yet colonial charm.
The great majority of Sikkim’s population is rural, living in scattered hamlets and villages. Gangtok is Sikkim’s largest settlement. Other notable towns include Singtam, Rangpo, Jorethang, Naya Bazar, Mangan, Gyalshing, and Namchi.
Roads, though not extensive, are the primary mode of travel. Ropeways, which are similar to ski lifts, also have been provided at many points. The capital of Gangtok is nearly 75 miles (120 km) from the nearest airport, at Baghdogra, and 70 miles (110 km) from the railhead at Shiliguri, both in West Bengal.
Sikkim’s cultural life, though showing strong Tibetan influences, retains a character derived from the various tribes of Sikkim and their pre-Buddhist customs. The most important festival of the year is the two-day Phanglhapsol festival in August or September, in which masked dancers perform in honour of Kanchenjunga, the presiding deity. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (1958), in Gangtok, has one of the largest collections of Tibetan books in the world. Many monasteries are repositories of wall paintings, thang-kas (religious paintings mounted on brocade), bronze images, and other artworks.
Travelers embarking on a journey of Sikkim discover a mystical wonderland of spectacular natural beauty. The panoramic perfection of the snow-capped Himalayas, the heady scent of flower-bedecked meadows, the vibrant culture and joyous festivals, the infinite variety of its flora and fauna makes it a holiday that is at once fascinating and challenging.
There are countless tourist places here including great viewpoints offering magnificent views of Kanchenjunga snow peaks, Buddhist monasteries, historical churches, temples, rolling tea estates on mountain slopes, museums, art galleries, parks & gardens, waterfalls, cable car ride offering you stunning views of the mountain landscapes and tea gardens below, and more.
Darjeeling is truly the Queen of Hills, for its exquisite charm, and beautiful scenic surroundings.