(Last Updated on : 03/09/2011)
Sikkim lies just to the south of Tibet, sandwiched between Nepal to the west and Bhutan to the east. Sikkim is known for the lofty snow capped Kanchenjungha which stands at a height of 8586 m, the third high mountain peak in the world and on its pea green woodlands. Sikkim is the land of colours, lakes and flowers. The capital city is Gangtok which invites travel lovers to a world of scenic splendour.
The word ` Sikkim` combines of two words Su and Khyim. Su means "new" and Khyim, means "palace" or house. Therefore the word means new palace or house, in reference to the palace built by the state`s first ruler, Phuntsok Namgyal. The Tibetan name for Sikkim is `Denjong` which means the "valley of rice."
History of Sikkim
The original inhabitants were the Lepchas or the "raven folks" who came to the area from Assam and Burma. From the 1200`s the Bhutias or the Tibetan people moved into Sikkim. Buddhism which arrived from Tibet took its distinctive Sikkimese form four centuries later. Tibetan monks of the old Nyingmapa order, disenchanted with the rise of the reformist Gelugpas, migrated south and gathered at Yoksum in western Sikkim. The other migrants included the Namgyal clan who arrived in the 1400`s and gradually won political control over Sikkim. In 1642, Phintsok Namgyal (1604-1670) became the first Chogyal (King). His descendents ruled Sikkim for more than 330 years. During the 1700`s Sikkim suffered massive invasion from Nepal and Bhutan and lost much territory as a result. The Nepalese also migrated to Sikkim and settled as farmers. Sikkim assisted the British in a successful war against Nepal in the year 1814-1815 and won back some of its land. The British India Company purchased the health resort of Darjeeling from Sikkim. During the mid 1800`s, Sikkim violently resisted attempts to bring it under British Rule, but in 1861 it finally became a protectorate. The Indian government took responsibility of Sikkim`s external affairs, defence and communication of Sikkim in the year 1950. In 1973, India took Sikkim into the union as an associate member. In 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of India.
Geography of Sikkim
Sikkim is a gorgeous and beautiful state nestled in the Himalayas. Sikkim is thumb-shaped and has a mountainous terrain. The state is hilly and as a result is unfit for agriculture. Certain hill slopes have been converted into farm lands using terrace farming techniques and is used for cultivation. The Kanchenjunga peak
is the highest point in Sikkim. Numerous streams from the west and south of the state combine into the river Teesta and its tributary, the Rangeet. The Teesta is described as the "lifeline of Sikkim", which flows through the state from north to south.
Economy of Sikkim
The economy of Sikkim is largely agrarian. The people in the rural areas grow cardamom, ginger, oranges, apples, tea and orchids. Rice is grown on the hillsides of the southern areas. Sikkim is the biggest producer of cardamom in India. The minerals mined in Sikkim are copper, dolomite, limestone, graphite, mica, iron and coal.
Administration in Sikkim
The head of the state government of Sikkim is the governor who is appointed by the Central Government. His main role is to oversee the swearing in of the Chief Minister. The governor appoints the cabinet ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister. Sikkim has a unicameral legislature. Sikkim is allocated one seat in each of both chambers of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. There are 32 state assembly seats and one seat is reserved for the Sangha. The Sikkim High Court is the smallest high court in the country. In 1977, the Congress Party won the largest majority in the elections. In 1979, after a period of instability, the ministry headed by Nar Bahadur Bhandari, leader of the Sikkim Sangram Parishad Party was sworn in. Sikkim is divided into three major Assembly Constituencies as Lachen-Mangshila which covers the area from Lachen to Mangshila, Kiba-Tingda which ranges from east district boarder to Phodong and Dzongu-Lying in the south-west boarder.
Districts of Sikkim
The districts are headed by the District Collector\ District Magistrate. He is resposible for maintaining law and order in the State. Sikkim has four districts. The four districts are East Sikkim, West Sikkim, North Sikkim and South Sikkim. The district capitals are Gangtok, Geyzing, Mangan and Namchi respectively. These four districts are further divided into Sub-Divisions. "Pakyong" is the sub-division of East District. "Soreng" is the sub-division of West District. "Chungthang" is the sub-division of North District and "Ravongla" is the sub-division of South District.
Demography of Sikkim
Sikkim is the least populated of India`s States. Sikkim has only 607,677 inhabitants with 321,661 males and 286,027 females. The majority of Sikkim`s residents are of Nepali origin, who came to the province in the 19th century. The native Sikkimese is the Bhutias, who migrated from the Kham district of Tibet in the 14th Century and the Lepchas migrated from the Far East. Tibetans live in the northern and eastern areas of the state. The non native communities include the Marwaris, the Biharis and the Bengalis. Hinduism
and Buddhism are the major religions of the Sikkimese. Sikkim has a very small Christian population, who are mainly of the Lepcha origin. They converted to the faith after British missionaries started preaching in the region in the late 19th century. The state has never had inter-religious strife. There are Mosques in the downtown of Gangtok
Education in Sikkim
The literacy rate of Sikkim is 82.2% according to census 2011. The male literacy rate is 87.3% and female literacy rate is 76.43 % for females. There are 1545 government-run educational institutions and about 18 private schools located in the towns. There are about twelve schools that offer higher education.
The largest institution is the Sikkim Manipal University of Health Medical and Technological Sciences which offers higher education in engineering, medicine and management. There are 2 state-run polytechnic institutions: Advanced Technical Training Centre (ATTC) and Centre for Computers and Communication Technology (CCCT) that offer diploma courses in various branches of engineering.