The North Eastern states of India can mesmerize you not only by their enchanting beauty but also by their beautiful culture and even state of affairs. One such North Eastern state that rests completely in the lap of the Himalayas is Sikkim.
On 16 May, 1975, Sikkim was officially annexed to India (the 22nd state). If India had not taken over this culturally ‘Indian’ territory, the Chinese would have most certainly done that. R&AW at that time had played a crucial role in making sure that Sikkim became a part of India and that too without any bloodshed. Seen below is an American photographer’s idyllic images of Sikkim before India (with Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister and Kao as R&AW chief) strategically annexed it 40 years ago.
Yes, you read it right. Maximum population of Sikkim has Nepalese origin, thus outnumbering the natives.
He’s hailed as the Hero of Nathu La—“Baba” Harbhajan Singh! It is believed that his spirit guards Indian soldiers even now when they perform their duty in the inhospitable conditions of Eastern Himalayas.
A foreign language, Nepalese is the lingua franca of the State with English being the official language. Apart from these, nine other languages have been recognized as the State’s languages, and most of them are even taught at schools and colleges!
The Singshore Bridge has a span of 198 meters with a depth of 220 meters.
You don’t have to travel to China to spot cute Pandas!
Well, there aren’t many states in India that wholly cater to the functioning of institutions of different religions. There are around 200 monasteries, churches, temples, gurudwaras and mosques in this tiny state!
Well, that’s Sikkim for you!
The four schools of Buddhism are – Nyingma, Gelug, Sakya and Kagyu.
After all, Sikkim has nearly 35 species of Rhododendrons to offer. Come between March and May, and you shall be mesmerized by their pied beauty!
All the bird watchers out there, it’s time for you to pack the bags and get going.
Not to forget the exhibition of rarest Buddhist religious art objects, including the exquisite Vajra Mukut that is set with precious stones including rubies, diamonds, gold and what not!
After all, it’s not only home to 35 species of Rhododendrons, it also houses as many as 600 types of orchids, 240 species of ferns and trees and 150 varieties of gladioli! Reason enough for the state to host the International Flower Festival every year!
This is because in this festival, held every year in the Tashiding Monastery, the future of Sikkim is predicted. A small urn is opened with sacred hymns and chants; the increasing or decreasing levels of water denote the coming fortunes for the year. Quite interesting, isn’t it?
Asulphur bath in the natural hot water springs of Sikkim, hidden amidst the beauty of nature is truly an experience to behold.
And, that too, served in a long, cylindrical bamboo vessel! We bet you shall be craving for more soon!
Kudos to you, Sikkim!
It’s on the old silk route that connected Lhasa to the plains of Bengal.