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<< Indian Himalayas << About Himalayas >> << Culture Travel >> << Culture of Sikkim >>

Culture of Sikkim

The Sikkimese can be broadly classified into the Lephcas, the Bhutias, the Nepalese and the plainsmen (mostly businessmen from elsewhere in India). Communities, cultures, religions and Customs of different hues intermingle freely here in Sikkim to constitute a homogeneous blend. Hindu temples co- exist with Buddhist monasteries and there are even a few Christian churches, Muslim mosques and Sikh "Gurdwara". Although the Buddhists with monasteries all over the state are the most conspicuous religious group, they are in fact a minority constituting only 28% of the population. The majority, 68% profess Hinduism. The predominant communities are the Lepchas, Bhutias and the Nepalis.

Lepchas - The original inhabitants of Sikkim are said to be Lepchas. They existed much before the Bhutias and Nepalese migrated to the state. Before adopting Buddhism or Christianity as their religion, the earliest Lepcha settlers were believers in the bone faith or mune faith. This faith was basically based on spirits, good and bad. They worshipped spirits of mountains , rivers and forests which was but natural for a tribe that co-existed so harmoniously with the rich natural surroundings.

Nepalese - The Nepalese appeared on the Sikkim scene much after the Lepchas & Bhutias. They migrated in large numbers and soon became the dominant community. The Nepalese now constitute more than 80 % of the total population. The Nepali settlers introduced the terraced system of cultivation. Cardamom was an important cash crop introduced by the Nepalese.

The Bhutias - They are the people of Tibetan origin. They migrated to Sikkim perhaps somewhere after the fifteenth century through the state of Sikkim. In Northern Sikkim, where they are the major inhabitants, they are known as the Lachenpas and Lachungpas. The language spoken by the bhutias is Sikkimese . Bhutia villages are as large as those compared to those of Lepchas.

The Bhutia traditional dress called “Bakhu” which is a loose cloak type garment that is fastened at the neck on one side and near the waist with a cotton belt. Male members put ‘Bakhu’ with a loose trouser. The ladies use ‘Bakhu with a silken full sleeve blouse called “Honju” a loose gown type garment fastened near the waist tightly with a belt. In the front portion they tie a loose sheet of multi coloured woolen cloth made of special design. This is called “Pangdin” and is a symbol of a married woman. The ladies are very fond of heavy jewelry made of pure gold.  Bhutias usually take rice with animal fat fried vegetables or meat. The other foods are “Momo”(steamed samosa with meat inside) and Thukpa (Noodles). “Zhero” and “Khabzay” are beautiful salty tusks prepared from flour during the festivals like Losar / Loosong.

Travel in Sikkim

Sikkim is a small region wedged in between the eastern border of Nepal and Bhutan. Until India annexed it in 1975 it was an independent kingdom. This move was undoubtedly motivated by India's fear of the growing Chinese influence in the Himalayas. Sikkim is culturally linked to its neighbors Nepal and Bhutan, and Tibet to the north. Because of its remoteness it does have a specific flavor of its own.  Although the larger part of the approximately 480.000 inhabitants are Hindus of Nepali origin the land has many Buddhist influences as well. The ancient monasteries of Sikkim and beautiful Mount Kangchenjunga are the most important attractions when visiting the region. A former kingdom , Sikkim is now the 22nd State of India.

Travel Attraction Sikkim

Sikkim, the land of beautiful scenic views has unlimited reasons to attract tourists from all over the world. Lovely Monasteries, temples, stupas and lush greenery catch everybody's attention. Some of the major attractions of Sikkim are Orchid Sanctuary, Yumthang Valley, Pemayangste Monastery, Rumtek Monastery, Pelling, Khecheopari lake, Yuksom, Namchi, Tashding, Dudbi Monastery and not to forget the adventure sports, waiting for you to explore every aspect of Sikkim.

Sightseeing Places in Sikkim

If we attend the sightseeing tour in Sikkim valley which is Surrounded by Tibet in the N, Nepal in the W, Bhutan in the E, and by plains of India in the S, Sikkim has many high peaks, though mostly situated on its western border range, called Singalila Range.  Near the  top of this stands Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and third highest in the world.  Many other notable summits rise on this range, N and S of Kangchenjunga, among them Kirat Chuli or Tent Peak (7365m.) Talung (7349m) and Kabu (7317m).  Among spurs branching E into Sikkim from this range in the one carrying the much admired Siniolchu (6887m) practical passes across the Singalila range from Nepal to Sikkim include the Singalila (3142 m), Khang La (5054 m), Ratong La (5197 m) and in the far N, Kongra La (5133m).

 

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