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About Sikkim

Top travel sites in Sikkim: Gangtok (East Sikkim), Tsomgo Lake (East Sikkim), Nathu La Pass (East Sikkim), Baba Mandir (East Sikkim), Khangchendzonga (West Sikkim)

Sikkim Govt Tourist Information Centres:- Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Gangtok: MG Road, Gangtok Ph: 03592-221634/227720; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, New Delhi: 14 Panchsheel Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi PIN 110021, Ph:011-26115346, 26115171; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Kolkata: 4/1, Middletown Street, Kolkata-16 Ph: 22817905; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Siliguri: SNT Colony, Pradhan Nagar, Siliguri, West Bengal Ph: 2512646; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Bagdogra: Bagdogra airport Ph: 2698030; 2698036

Sikkim, The People

The spirits and spiritualism govern every aspect of the life of the people of Sikkim. The customs and rituals are laid out accordingly. Festivals form a part and parcel of their lifestyle. A visitor on arrival is invariably offered the popular drink called "Chaang", served in bamboo containers.

The people of Sikkim are simple and friendly. The customs and rituals are diverse as the population is a mosaic of ethnicity - the Lepchas of the forest, the Bhutias and the Nepalese. Festivals form a part and parcel of their lifestyle, with a dominating influence of belief in the spirits. A new thing a visitor comes across in the state is the popular drink called "Chaang", a preparation from fermented millet. It is served in bamboo containers. Spirit and Spiritual go hand-in-hand!

The faith

One of the sacred objects of worship to the Sikkimese is bumchu, a sacred pot containing holy water, blessed by a Buddhist saint in the 17th century. Today even after 300 years the water remains as fresh as before, it is said. Religion forms the main thread of life of the Sikkimese. There are about 230 monasteries and Mani Lhakangs. The influence of Buddhism is all-pervasive. Even in the remote mountain regions, one can see prayer flags fluttering atop monasteries as well as private houses. The main monasteries are Pemayangtse and Tashiding in West Sikkim, Enchey in Gangtok, Ralong in South and Phodong and Tolung in North Sikkim. Pomp and pageantry mark festivals hosted by the monasteries where the lamas dance in masks and costumes in accompaniment of music and chants. The Sikkimese Hindus also have colourful festivals, celebrated by the Hindu Nepal population. They worship Goddess Durga. Dipavali is also celebrated. There are around 170 temples in Sikkim


The festivals, according to the Buddhist calendar with approximate months corresponding to the English calendar, are: Saga Dawa - Full moon of the 4th month, around end of May and early June; Drukpa Tseshi - 4th day of the 6th month, around August; Pang Lhabsol - 15th day of the 7th month, around end of Augut-September; Kagyat Dance - 28th and 29th days of the 10th month, around December; Losoong - Sikkimese New Year, last week of December; Losar - Tibetan New Year, around February; Maghe Sankranti - Month of Magh, around January; Dasain - Month of Aswin, September-October; Enchey and Chaams and - 18th and 19th days of the 11th month, around December-January; Rumtek and Chaams - Tse-Chu and Chaamsand - 10th day of the 5th month, around June; Winter and Chaam - (Guthor and Chaam and) 2 days prior to Losar.

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