Sikkim, an ancient Himalayan monarchy, became the 22nd state of the Indian Union in 1975. The small country is located in the eastern Himalayas, between the states of Nepal and Bhutan, and has a territory rich in mountains, forests, glaciers, thermal springs and lakes.
The country is almost exclusively mountainous, wedged in the Himalaya, between Nepal and Bhutan, its territory rises from 280 meters of its lowest point to over 8,000 meters of Mount Kangchenjunga (8,586 meters), which is the mountain highest in Sikkim and India, as well as being the third highest mountain in the world.
The majority of the country’s population is of Nepalese ethnicity. The religion most practiced by the inhabitants of Sikkim is Hinduism (60%), followed by Buddhism (28%). While Christians are 6% of the population. Nepali is the lingua franca of Sikkim, but Hindi and English are also spoken. The most important cities are the capital Gangtok, and the towns of Geyzing, Mangan and Namchi.
Sikkim’s economy is largely agricultural. Rice, tea and spices such as cardamom are produced here. But tourism is increasingly important thanks to the rich cultural tradition of the populations, the natural scenarios and the biodiversity of the country’s territory. Among the things to see in Sikkim, the first destination is undoubtedly the capital, Gangtok, where the Maharaja palace and an important Buddhist monastery are located.
A COUNTRY RICH IN MONASTERIES AND NATURAL BEAUTIES
In the rest of the country, the important monasteries of Rumtek, Enchen, Tashidind and Pemayangtse are worth visiting. The country is also interesting for folklore and religious holidays. Among the natural beauties the peaks of the Himalayas and glacial lakes such as Tsongmo or Changu lake.
The country is served by a single airport, the Pakyong Airport which is located about 30 km south of the city of Gangtok. The airport was inaugurated in 2018. But the flights were suspended after a few months due to the unsafe runway conditions. The closest airport currently used by those who travel to Sikkim is Bagdogra which is located over 5 hours by road from Gangtok.
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