General Information

Climate of Sikkim ranges from Tropical to Alpine. Since the state is completely land locked, NH 31A is the only life line and link with other parts of country. Altitude ranges from almost sea level to 28,208 ft. i.e. Mt.Kanchendzonga, the third highest peak in the world and highest in India.

Area : 7,096 sq. kms
Population : 5.40 lakhs
Density : 76 per sq. km.
Temperature : Summer – max. 21’ C, min. 13’C, Winter – max. 13’C, min. 05’C
Annual rainfall : 3,894 mm
Clothing needed : Summer – light woollens, Winter – heavy woollens

History

The Lepchas are considered to be the earliest inhabitants of Sikkim. However the Limbus and the Magars also lived in the inaccessible parts of West and South districts as early as the Lepchas perhaps lived in the East and North districts. The Buddhist saint Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, is said to have passed through the land in the 8th century. The Guru is reported to have blessed the land, introduced Buddhism, and foretold the era of monarchy that would arrive in Sikkim centuries later.

Flora and Fauna

Sikkim is densely covered by forest due to heavy rainfall. It can be divided into three zones Tropical zone about 100 meters with its vegetation such as bamboo, fern, pandanus, Sal and orchid are found. Dense undergrowth and bush vegetation are found in sub-tropical zone. In the temperate Zone in the northern valley is covered by cherry, laurel, oak, chestnut, Maple, pine and magnolia. Rhododendrons which is abundant is found above (2000 meters ) there are about thirty species . In the north different varieties of Primula is found. There are roughly 4000 variety of flowering plants and shrubs in Sikkim of which orchids are about 700 species with varieties of several in hundreds kinds of butterflies. Regarding the records of Sikkim in wild animals Yeti is believed to be still existing in the Himalayas of Sikkim an expedition was also conducted , there are local people and porters who still talk about witnessing Yeti in the high trekking areas. Snow leopard is found in 4000metres, Himalayan black bear is found in 2000 meters, above this altitude Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Sambar, Marbled Cat, Leopard Cat, Squirrel, Tiger, Panda, Otter, Ovis, Nahura, ovismon Goral and wild boar is also found.

Transport and Communication

AIR - Nearest airport for Sikkim is Bagdogra in North Bengal which is 124 kms and approximately 4 hours drive from Gangtok. There are Indian airlines, Jet airways, Deccan air and Spice Jet services operating from Bagdogra linking Kolkata, Gwahati, and New Delhi. Sikkim tourism operates daily a five seater helicopter service between Gangtok and Bagdogra connecting all civil flights.

RAIL - The two closest railway stations are Siliguri (114 kms) and New Jalpaiguri (125 kms) connecting Kolkata, Delhi, Guwhati, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Baanglore, Chennai and other important cities of India. There are out agency booking facilities in Gangtok at the SNT Bus Terminal and at Tourist Information Centre, Namchi.

ROAD - Gangtok is connected by all weather roads with Darjeeling, Kalimpong , Siliguri and also all District headquarters. The Sikkim nationalized transport (SNT) plies regular bus service from Gangtok to all major cities and towns in North Bengal and within the state. Booking facilities are available at Siliguri and Gangtok. Private buses and taxis are also available in plenty between Gangtok, Siliguri, Kalimpong and Darjeeling.

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