The Story Of Sikkim
- October 17, 2020
An ancient mountain kingdom that sits aloft the snow-capped Himalayas, Sikkim is the perfect antidote to the wanderlust-stricken traveller, with its tall alpine forests, traditional Buddhist monasteries, and warm and welcoming people. It is also home to the third highest peak in the world; the majestic Kanchenjunga. The state, which became a part of India in 1975, has been of utmost importance to the country because of its strategic location, sharing several important international borders with countries like Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.
Sikkim is home to a harmonious co-existence of Tibetan-Buddhism and Hinduism, two very culturally rich religions. Legends have it that the fabled Yeti is believed to have roamed the hills of this mountain kingdom. This is not surprising, given that the storied history of the region that can be traced as far back as the 13th century.
Illustration: Wikimedia | Design: ACK Design team
The state’s name is derived from a Nepali expression, ‘sukhim’, which translates to happiness. The earliest known inhabitants of this land were of the Lepcha tribe who assimilated several other tribes from the neighbouring region, becoming native inhabitants of the state. Soon, a Himalayan ethnic group called the Bhutias began to migrate southwards from Tibet into Sikkim. In 1642, the Chogyal dynasty had established its rule with Phuntsog Namgyal as their king. The state was mainly ruled by spiritual tribal chiefs who propagated Buddhism. Though this kingdom maintained a largely peaceful co-existence with its neighbouring states, there were occasional bouts of violence between local tribal communities. Under the rule of the Chogyals, the kingdom saw a shift in its capital from Yuksom to Rabdentse.
Sikkim under British India
The Sikkimese have had a long drawn rivalry with the Gorkha kingdom of Nepal...