Dramatic mountainous landscape, picturesque view, and vibrant culture added with mesmerizing rhododendron spread across miles make Sikkim a piece of heaven on earth. However, today we are not going to take a dip at the exquisiteness of this place but tell you about the re-birth of this place as an Indian state.
Originally a monarchy, it became a princely state of British India in 1890. A referendum on May 16, 1975, finally made it the 22nd state of Independent India with Gangtok as capital. Every year, this day is celebrated as ‘Sikkim Day.’
Despite being one of the least populated states with lower GDP, it has taken such steps that have made it a shinning example for the rest of India. This place got the distinction of being a fully organic state and banned the use of plastic completely.
1. The monarch rule
Before becoming Indian state, it was ruled by Namgyal family. The founder of this dynasty came to present-day Sikkim from Tibet.
2. The last king
The last Chogyal meaning king or righteous ruler was Palden Thondup Namgyal. He was the 12th king of his dynasty who ruled this mountain country before it became an Indian state.
3. Protected status
After India’s independence in 1945, Sikkim maintained its protected status for 30 years. The only change was that the British officers in the Royal courts were replaced by the Indians holding the same political and administrative status.
4. Monarchs and common people
The Chogyal belonged to the Bhutia-Lepcha community. Interestingly, they didn’t belong from the majority, rather were part of the minority community. Till today, the majority population of the place, which is about 75%, consists of people belonging to Nepalese origin.
5. The open challenge of the last king
While traveling to Kathmandu to attend the coronation of Nepal’s king, the Chogyal actually challenged the legitimacy of the 1974 amendment of Constitution that made Sikkim an associate state of India and eventually it got annexed.
6. Religions of the state
The dominant religion, practiced by 57.8 per cent of the population, is Hinduism. Other than that, 27.3 per cent of the population practices the Vajrayana Buddhism. Christianity is a religion followed by about 10 per cent of the state population. People following Islam or Jainism makes up about 1 per cent of the population. There are still some native traditional religions followed.
7. Sharing the border
It was essential to merge this place into India as it holds a strategic importance by sharing borders with three countries, China, Nepal, and Bhutan. At home ground, it only shares its border with West Bengal.
8. Languages spoken
The amalgamation of people from the distinctive ethnic origin has given rise to multiple languages in Sikkim. Presently, there are 11 languages spoken where English is the state language. The other ten languages are Nepali, Hindi, Lepcha, Sikkimese, Sunwar, Magar, Limbu, Sherpa, Tamang, and Newari. Most of these are taught in schools and colleges.
9. Brother of seven sisters
The cluster of seven states in the Northeastern region of India is known as seven sisters. It includes Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya. However, the state of Sikkim is not a part of this group and is known as the brother. This is mainly because Sikkim is geographically not a contiguous part of the other states. The relationship of the people with other states in terms of ethnicity is not very profound. This can also be attributed to the fact that it remained a princely state longer than the others.
Sikkim is one of the few places in India where it regularly snows. If you want to experience this sensation, then pack your back for Sikkim this winter.
11 . State symbols
Like every other India state, there are some symbols that solely captures the essence of Sikkim. The state tree of this place is Rhododendron. The super adorable Red Panda is considered as the state animal. The specific flora and fauna were selected to uphold the underlying virtue of the place after it became an Indian state.
12. Meaning of the name
The name Sikkim is actually a combination of two Limbu words, ‘Su’ and ‘Khyim.’ Translated, ‘Su’ means ‘new’ and ‘Khyim’ means ‘palace’ or ‘house.’ The aboriginals of this place also calls it ‘Nye-mae-el,’ meaning ‘paradise.’