Each place has its own share of mystic strangeness and secret facts. Some of these facts are not only interesting but also fascinating. Getting to know about these lesser known facts of Sikkim might make you crave more to attain the beauty and charm of this unique tourist place.
To start with, Sikkim has the lowest population among all the states in India. The population of Sikkim stands at around 6,10,577 as of 2021, Sikkim is the least populated state in the country. Low density population makes Sikkim even more attractive and less commercial and noisy and also unpolluted.
3. Gangtok: Known for terraced cultivation beside Teesta River
Gangtok is the capital of the state of Sikkim and is spread beside a tributary of the Teesta River at a height of about 5,600 feet or 1,700 metres. Gangtok actually means — Top of the Hill. The city is built across slopes that are extensively terraced in crops of corn or maize.
Sikkim has a very unique tradition of Saga Dawa celebrating Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and parinirvana. This is an auspicious festival celebrated by the people belonging to the Mahayana form of Buddhism. The devotees visit the monasteries and offer butter lamps along with prayers. A flamboyant procession by the monks chanting holy scriptures, travel across the town of Sikkim.
Many people do not know about the God who is worshipped in Sikkim. Pang-Lhabsol is considered a prime deity of Sikkim. Through a unique festival, the people of Sikkim commemorate the consecration of Mount Khangchendzonga as the guardian deity of Sikkim. The locals ardently believe that the mountain god has been instrumental in introducing Buddhism into the former kingdom of Sikkim.
6. How did Sikkim become an Indian state
Not many people also know deeply about the history of Sikkim. It was on the 15th of May 1975, that Indian President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed ratified a constitutional amendment and merged Sikkim with India. Thus, Sikkim became the 22nd state of India wherein the status of the Chogyal got completely abolished.
7. The fascinating Ghantu Dance of Sikkim
If you are exclusively interested in the fascinating art and cultural forms of Sikkim, you shall be happy to know that the Ghantu dance is patronized by the Gurung community of the state as a popular folk dance of Sikkim. This ancient folk dance depicts the vibrant lifestyle of the people of the land through its performance full of fun and vigour. Young girls dancing in traditional costumes and headgear are a sight to behold and stay mesmerised. One interesting fact about this dance is that the dancers are specially selected on the day of Shree Panchami and then they have to undergo training for at least three to four months to perform on the special auspicious day.
8. Exclusive Bhutia Dance
If you want to enjoy an out worldly vibrant and graceful dance performance of India, you should watch the Bhutia folk dance or Tashi Sabdo. This ancient form of group dance showcases the customs of offering khadas or scarfs on an auspicious occasion. The dancers dance in accordance with the melodious tunes of musical instruments such as Yarkha, Drum, Flute and Yangjey. Watch with bated breath the grace and poise of the Bhutia dancers on major occasions such as Lachung Dzomsa Losar Festival. Sikkim is worth visiting during one of these festivals to watch the animated cultural flurry.
9. Sikkim has the second highest population of Gurkhas
Sikkim follows Darjeeling in having the highest number of Gurkhas residing in the state and probably in the world. India is proud of her Gurkha population as the Gurkhas have a long and prestigious history of serving the nation through the Indian Army. Sikkim is fortunate to be the land of these loyal, braver and selfless Gurkha communities.
10. Sikkim: The first fully organic state of India
Sikkim was declared as a fully organic state in 2016 and it was the first state in India to have achieved that. Sikkim has made history with this huge achievement. It makes all the more significant as Sikkim is a young state born in 1975 and has a population of just about more than 600,000 people.
11. Sikkim: Home to the third highest mountain peak in the world
Sikkim proudly boasts of Kanchenjunga, which is the third highest mountain peak in the world which is located in Sikkim. Kanchenjunga with its impressive height of 8,586 meters or 28,169 feet is a prominent landmark of Sikkim and due to its proximity, Sikkim tourists and visitors get an exclusive opportunity to be a witness of the grandeur and beauty of this majestic peak.
12. Sikkim: Home to a fiery hot Chilli
Sikkim is the special home where one of the hottest Chillies in the world grows. This variety is locally called Dalle Khorsani. This product is now being promoted in internal trade. Organic Dalle Khorsani is the primary ingredient of various types of tempting pickle preparations, which are supplied all over India and also exported outside India.
13. What would be the total number of major cities in Sikkim!
Can you imagine the number of cities in the whole of the state of Sikkim! It is merely a total of eight towns and nine subdivisions in total all across Sikkim. And yet it has so much to offer to the Sikkim tourists and travellers that makes every Indian travel freak’s travel plans incomplete without a peep at this exclusive part of Himalayas. The Himalayan range of Sikkim is way distinct from the other North Indian states spread across the Himalayas such as Uttarakhand, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Leh-Ladakh, etc.
14. Sikkim: Home to the highest number of glaciers
A whopping 84 glaciers in total are to be found in Sikkim. The largest number of glaciers to be found in any state or union territory across India. The pristine beauty of these glaciers makes Sikkim an attractive tourist destination in India. Zemu Glacier, Talung Glacier, Rathong Glacier, and Kanchenjunga Glacier located in the high-altitude areas, between the towering peaks are extremely picturesque.
15. The interesting tale of origin of Sikkim
The history of Sikkim begins with the indigenous Lepcha’s contact with early Tibetan settlers. Historically, Sikkim was a sovereign Monarchical State in the eastern Himalayas. Later Sikkim earned the status of a protectorate of India followed by a merger with India and official recognition of a state of India.
16. The last king of Sikkim
Palden Thondup Namgyal OBE was the twelfth and the last Chogyal or king of the Kingdom of Sikkim.
17. Sikkim: The second largest producer of cardamom in the world
India is one of the leading producers of cardamom in the world and dominates the Asia-Pacific market. Sikkim grows cardamom and ginger as the major cash crops of the state. Sikkim is the second largest producer of cardamom in the world after Guatemala. It is the largest cardamom producing state in India.
18. Sikkim: India’s first Open Defecation Free State
Sikkim became India’s first ODF State in the year 2008, at least 6 years before Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan was launched in the country.
19. Sikkim: Home to some of the highest lakes in India
Gurudongmar Lake at 17,800 feet (5,430 meters) is one of the highest lakes in India with crystal-clear blue waters and stunning views.
Tsomgo Lake at 12,313 feet (3,753 meters) is also known as Changu Lake and is famous for its changing colours apart from being considered sacred by the local Sikkimese people.
Khecheopalri Lake at 5,600 feet (1,706 meters) is a sacred lake located near Pelling which is considered a wish-fulfilling lake and is respected greatly by both Buddhists and Hindus.
Cholamu Lake at 17,300 feet (5,270 meters is another one of the highest lakes in the world and offers breath-taking panoramic views of snow-capped mountains all around.
Menmecho Lake at 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) is surrounded by lush greenery and snow-covered peaks and is a popular tourist attraction for nature lovers.
The high-altitude lakes of Sikkim offer stunning views and are cultural and religious hubs. The serenity and tranquillity fuse with the natural splendour to give a sense of ethereal beauty.
20. Sikkim: Uniquely shares international border with 3 countries
Sikkim has the unique privilege of sharing an open-border with three countries: Bhutan, China and Nepal. This factor contributes to the distinctive fusion of cultures and traditions, making it a fascinating and lively travel destination.
1. What are the special facts about Sikkim?
Sikkim has the lowest population in India as a state and is the second smallest state in India. Sikkim is famous for its biodiversity and enjoys alpine and subtropical climates. It is the proud bearer of Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and the third highest mountain peak on the face of Earth.
2. Name one unique art of Sikkim.
The discussion on Sikkim art and culture cannot happen without the mention of spectacular mask dances or monastic dances. Chaams are performed during special ceremonies and festivals. These dances brilliantly depict the triumph of good over evil.
3. Which is the famous oldest dance of Sikkim?
The Maruni Dance is known to be the oldest dance in Sikkim which is performed by the Nepalis.
4. Name the total number of languages spoken in Sikkim.
In total 11 languages or dialects are spoken in Sikkim. The population of the state is a powerful mix of Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangai, Sherpa, Tamang, and Sunwar, and hence the varied languages.
5. Who is the founder of Sikkim?
Phuntsog Namgyal is the first Chogyal or the temporal and spiritual king of the kingdom of Sikkim since 1642. He hails from the Bhutia community and the Namgyal dynasty ruled over Sikkim till 1975.
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