A Nation turned State!
India became independent in the year 1947. But till 1974, Sikkim was recognized as an independent nation. In 1975, the Prime Minister of Sikkim appealed to Indian Parliament to change the status of Sikkim so that it could become the State of India. Finally, on 16 May 1975, Sikkim officially became the 22nd State of India.
Sikkim is the only State in India where most of the people have their origin from a different country i.e. Nepal. The other major ethnic groups in Sikkim are Lepcha and Bhutia.
Every year during the summer i.e. from March to May, International Flower Festival is held in Sikkim. In the festival, the exotic varieties of flowers, orchids, and various other plants are displayed. This tiny state is a home to about 600 types of orchids and 240 species of trees and ferns. There are also 150 varieties of gladioli and 46 species of rhododendrons. Sikkim has about one–third of the total angiosperms found in India.
Do you know that Rhododendron niveum is the state tree of Sikkim?
4. A paradise to Bird Lovers!
Sikkim boasts of over 552 different species of birds and about 690 species of butterflies. Amazing! Isn’t it? The unique bearded vulture with its 10 feet wing span can be found in Sikkim. Other species of birds like the Himalayan Griffon and Impeyan Pheasant are delights of Bird lovers. Do you know that the state bird of Sikkim is the Blood Pheasant?
6. Sikkim knows its fate!
Bhum Chu is a special holy water ceremony which takes place in the Tashiding Monastery which is one of the most sacred monasteries of Sikkim. It is said that this ceremony forecasts the future of Sikkim. Want to know how? Well, in the Tashiding Monastery there is a sacred Urn (also known as Bhum) which consists of water. On the occasion of Bhum Chu, this urn is opened with sacred chants and hymns. The level of water in the Bhum indicates the coming fortunes of the year for Sikkim. Interesting! Isn’t it?
6. Let’s have a local kick!
Chaang is a fermented cereal based mild alcoholic beverage. It is the most famous drink of Sikkim and is consumed during social activities. The most interesting part of this drink is the way in which it is served. It is served in a long cylindrical vessel made of bamboo which is known as tongba. When consumed in its most potent form, this drink gives a mild kick to its drinker.
7. Enjoy the Natural Spa!
Phurchachu Hot Springs
The numerous natural hot springs of Sikkim acts as a natural spa. Some of the most famous natural hot springs are Yumthang Hot Spring, Yume Samdong hot spring, Taram hot spring, Reshi hot spring, Borong hot spring and Ralong hot spring. To experience the maximum therapeutic benefit, take a sulfur bath in these hot springs in the months of February and March. So, the next time you decide to visit Sikkim, make sure to enjoy the natural spa of these hot springs.
Thankas are religious scrolls which are hanged in Buddhist houses and monasteries. Thankas are believed to drive away evil spirits. So, they are considered sacred and auspicious. The drawings and paintings in Thanka are so intricate that on an average it takes about a month or two to complete one single scroll. It is a unique piece of souvenir that one can bring back from Sikkim.
9. Baba Harbhajan Singh temple
Baba Harbhajan Singh
There are many temples which have been dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses. But rarely is any temple erected in honor of a human being. This honor has been preferred upon the Indian army soldier Major “Baba” Harbhajan Singh who is hailed as the “Hero of Nathula.” It is believed that his spirit protects all the soldiers who serve their country while serving at the inhospitable high altitude terrain of Eastern Himalayas.
10. Siddheswar Dham
The 108 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva is the main attraction of Siddheswar Dham situated in Solophok hilltop nearby Namchi. This gigantic statue is surrounded by replicas of 12 Jyotirlingas and replicas of sacred Chardham Hindu Temples. There is also an 18–feet statue of Kirateshwar which is a hunter incarnation of Shiva.