Sikkim


Sikkim
Sikkim
འབྲས་མོ་ལྗོངས་
सिक्किम
—  State  —

Seal
Location of Sikkim in India
Map of Sikkim
Coordinates (Gangtok): 27°20′N 88°37′E / 27.33°N 88.62°E / 27.33; 88.62Coordinates: 27°20′N 88°37′E / 27.33°N 88.62°E / 27.33; 88.62
Country  India
Established 16 May 1975
Capital Gangtok
Largest city Gangtok
Districts 4
Government
 – Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh
 – Chief Minister Pawan Chamling (SDF)
 – Legislature Unicameral (32 seats)
Area
 – Total 7,096 km2 (2,739.8 sq mi)
Area rank 27th
Population (2011)
 – Total 607,688
 – Rank 28th
 – Density 85.6/km2 (221.8/sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-SK
HDI increase 0.684 (medium)
HDI rank 7th (2005)
Literacy 76.6% (7th)
Official languages Nepali (lingua franca), Bhutia, Lepcha (since 1977), Limbu (since 1981), Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Tamang (since 1995) and Sunwar (since 1996)
Website sikkim.gov.in

Sikkim (Nepali: About this sound सिक्किम , i.e. the "Goodly Region", or Shikim, Shikimpati or Sikkim;[1] Lepcha: Mayel Lyang; Limbu: Yuksom, "one of the fortified place";[2] Standard Tibetan: འབྲས་ལྗོངས་, Bras Ljongs, Denzong[3] or Demojongs) is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayan mountains. The state borders Nepal to the west, China's Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and east, and Bhutan to the southeast, while the state of West Bengal lies to the south.[4]

With around 600,000 inhabitants, Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa in total area, covering approximately 7,096 km2 (2,740 sq mi).[5] Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas. The climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine. Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim's border with Nepal.[6] Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity. It also has the only open border between India and China. Sikkim's capital and largest city is Gangtok.

According to legend, the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche visited Sikkim in the 9th century, introduced Buddhism and foretold the era of the monarchy. Indeed, the Namgyal dynasty was established in 1642. Over the next 150 years, the kingdom witnessed frequent raids and territorial losses to Nepalese invaders. It allied itself with the British rulers of India, but was soon annexed by them. Later, Sikkim became a British protectorate, before merging with India following a referendum in 1975.

Sikkim is the only state in India with an ethnic Nepalese majority.[7] Sikkim has 11 official languages: Nepali (which is its lingua franca), Bhutia, Lepcha (since 1977), Limbu (since 1981), Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Tamang (since 1995) and Sunwar (since 1996).[8] English is taught in schools and used in government documents. The predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Sikkim's economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, and the state has the fourth-smallest GDP among Indian states,[9] although it is also among the fastest-growing.[10]

Contents

Toponymy

The most widely-accepted origin theory of the name Sikkim is that it is a combination of two Limbu words: su, which means "new", and khyim, which means "palace" or "house". The name is believed to be a reference to the palace built by the state's first ruler, Phuntsog Namgyal. The Tibetan name for Sikkim is Denjong, which means "valley of rice".[3] The Lepcha people, the original inhabitants of Sikkim, called it Nye-mae-el, meaning "paradise",[11] while the Bhutias call it Beyul Demazong, which means the hidden valley of rice.[11] In Hindu religious texts, Sikkim is known as Indrakil, the garden of the war god Indra.[12]

History

Statue of Guru Rinpoche, the patron saint of Sikkim. The statue in Namchi is the tallest statue of the saint in the world, at 36 metres (120 ft).
1876 map of Sikkim, depicting Chomto Dong Lake[13] in northern Sikkim. However, the whole of Chumbi and Darjeeling are not depicted as part of Sikkim in the map.
The Dro-dul Chorten Stupa in Gangtok.

The earliest historical mention of Sikkim is a record of the passage of the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche through the land in the 9th 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. In the 14th century, according to legend, Khye Bumsa, a prince from the Minyak House in Kham in eastern Tibet, received a divine revelation instructing him to travel south to seek his fortunes. A fifth-generation descendant of Khye Bumsa, Phuntsog Namgyal, became the founder of Sikkim's monarchy in 1642, when he was consecrated as the first Chogyal, or priest-king, of Sikkim by the three venerated lamas at Yuksom.[14]

Phuntsog Namgyal was succeeded in 1670 by his son, Tensung Namgyal, who moved the capital from Yuksom to Rabdentse. In 1700, Sikkim was invaded by the Bhutanese with the help of the half-sister of the Chogyal, who had been denied the throne. The Bhutanese were driven away by the Tibetans, who restored the throne to the Chogyal ten years later. Between 1717 and 1733, the kingdom faced many raids by the Nepalese in the west and Bhutanese in the east, culminating with the destruction of the capital Rabdentse by the Nepalese.[15] In 1791, China sent troops to support Sikkim and defend Tibet against the Gurkhas. Following Nepal's subsequent defeat, the Chinese Qing Dynasty established control over Sikkim.[16]

Following the beginning of British rule in neighboring India, Sikkim allied with them against their common enemy, Nepal. The Nepalese attacked Sikkim, overrunning most of the region including the Terai. This prompted the British East India Company to attack Nepal, resulting in the Gurkha War of 1814.[17] Treaties signed between Sikkim and Nepal resulted in the return of the territory annexed by the Nepalese in 1817. However, ties between Sikkim and the British weakened when the latter began taxation of the Morang region. In 1849, two British physicians, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker and Dr. Archibald Campbell, the latter being in charge of relations between the British and Sikkim governments, ventured into the mountains of Sikkim unannounced and unauthorised.[18] The doctors were detained by the Sikkim government, leading to a punitive British expedition against the kingdom, after which the Darjeeling district and Morang were annexed to British India in 1853. The invasion led to the Chogyal of Sikkim becoming a titular ruler under the directive of the British governor.[19] In 1890, Sikkim became a British protectorate, and was gradually granted more sovereignty over the next three decades.[20]

In 1947, when India became independent, a popular vote rejected Sikkim's joining the Indian Union, and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru agreed to a special protectorate status for Sikkim. Sikkim came under the suzerainty of India, which controlled its external affairs, defence, diplomacy and communications, but Sikkim otherwise retained administrative autonomy. A state council was established in 1955 to allow for constitutional government under the Chogyal. Meanwhile, the Sikkim National Congress demanded fresh elections and greater representation for Nepalese in Sikkim. Palden Thondup Namgyal, the Chogyal at the time, proved to be extremely unpopular with the people, and in 1973, riots in front of the Chogyal's palace led to a formal request for protection from India. In 1975, the Prime Minister of Sikkim appealed to the Indian Parliament for Sikkim to become a formal state of India. In April, the Indian Army took over the city of Gangtok and disarmed the Chogyal's palace guards. A referendum was held in which 97.5% of the electorate voted to join the Indian Union. On 16 May 1975, Sikkim officially became the 22nd state of the Indian Union, and the monarchy was abolished.[21] To enable the incorporation of the new state, the Indian Parliament amended the Indian Constitution. First, the 35th Amendment laid down a set of conditions that made Sikkim an "Associate State," a special designation not used by any other state. Later, the 36th Amendment repealed the 35th Amendment, and made Sikkim a full state, adding its name to the First Schedule of the Constitution.[22]

In 2000, the seventeenth Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley Dorje, who had been confirmed by the Dalai Lama and accepted as a tulku by the Chinese government, escaped from Tibet, seeking to return to the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. Chinese officials were in a quandary on this issue, as any protests to India would mean an explicit endorsement of India's governance of Sikkim, which the Chinese still regarded as an independent state occupied by India. China eventually recognized Sikkim as an Indian state in 2003, on the condition that India accepted the Tibet Autonomous Region as a part of China.[23] This mutual agreement led to a thaw in Sino-Indian relations.[24] New Delhi had originally accepted Tibet as a part of China in 1953 during the government of then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.[25] On 6 July 2006, the Himalayan pass of Nathula in Sikkim was opened to cross-border trade, constituting further evidence of improving Sino-Indian relations.[26]

On 18 September 2011, a magnitude 6.9Mw earthquake struck Sikkim, killing at least 116 people in the state and in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Tibet.[27] More than 60 people died in Sikkim alone, and the city of Gangtok suffered significant damage.[28]

Geography

Kangchenjunga, which stands 8,586 metres (28,170 ft) tall, is the highest peak in India and the third-highest on Earth.
The mountains of northern Sikkim.

Nestling as it does in the Himalayan mountains, the state of Sikkim is characterized by mountainous terrain. Almost the entire state is hilly, with an elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to 8,585 metres (28,000 ft). The summit of Kangchenjunga - the world's third-highest peak - is the state's highest point, situated on the border between Sikkim and Nepal.[6] For the most part, the land is unfit for agriculture because of the rocky, precipitous slopes. However, some hill slopes have been converted into terrace farms. Numerous snow-fed streams have carved out river valleys in the west and south of the state. These streams combine into the major Teesta River and its tributary, the Rangeet, which flow through the state from north to south.[29] About a third of the state is heavily forested.

The Himalayan mountains surround the northern, eastern and western borders of Sikkim. The Lower Himalayas, lying in the southern reaches of the state, are the most densely populated. The state has 28 mountain peaks, more than 80 glaciers,[30] 227 high-altitude lakes (including the Tsongmo, Gurudongmar and Khecheopalri Lakes), five major hot springs, and more than 100 rivers and streams. Eight mountain passes connect the state to Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.[31]

The unfrozen Gurudongmar Lake in northern Sikkim.

Sikkim's hot springs are renowned for their medicinal and therapeutic values. Among the state's most notable hot springs are those at Phurchachu, Yumthang, Borang, Ralang, Taram-chu and Yumey Samdong. The springs, which have a high sulphur content, are located near river banks; some are known to emit hydrogen.[32] The average temperature of the water in these hot springs is 50 °C (122 °F).[33]

Geology

The hills of Sikkim mainly consist of gneissose and half-schistose rocks, producing generally poor and shallow brown clay soils. The soil is coarse, with large concentrations of iron oxide; it ranges from neutral to acidic and is poor in organic and mineral nutrients. This type of soil tends to support evergreen and deciduous forests.[34]

Most of Sikkim is covered by Precambrian rock, which is much younger in age than the hills. The rock consists of phyllites and schists, is highly susceptible to weathering and erosion. This, combined with the state's heavy rainfall, causes extensive soil erosion and the loss of soil nutrients through leaching. As a result, landslides are frequent, often isolating rural towns and villages from the major urban centres.[35]

Climate

Sikkim's climate ranges from sub-tropical in the south to tundra in the northern parts. The tundra-type region in the north is clad by snow for four months every year, and the temperature drops below 0 °C (32 °F) almost every night.[32] The peaks of north-western Sikkim are perpetually frozen.[36] Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim, however, experience a temperate climate, with the temperatures seldom exceeding 28 °C (82 °F) in summer or dropping below 0 °C (32 °F) in winter; the mean monthly summer temperature is 15 °C.[37] The state has five seasons: winter, summer, spring, autumn, and a monsoon season between June and September. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 °C (64 °F).

Sikkim is one of the few states in India to receive regular snowfall. The snow line ranges from 20,000 feet in the north of the state to 16,000 feet in the south.[38] During the monsoon, heavy rains increase the risk of landslides. The record for the longest period of continuous rain in Sikkim is 11 days. In the northern region, because of the high altitude, temperatures can drop below −40 °C (−40 °F) in winter. Fog affects many parts of the state during winter and the monsoons, making transportation perilous.[39]

Subdivisions

North Sikkim East Sikkim South Sikkim West SikkimA clickable map of Sikkim exhibiting its four districts.
About this image

Sikkim has four districts, each overseen by a Central Government appointee, the district collector, who is in charge of the administration of the civilian areas of the districts. The Indian Army has control over a large part of the state, as Sikkim forms part of a sensitive border area with the People's Republic of China. Many areas are restricted to foreigners, and official permits are needed to visit them.

The four districts are East Sikkim, West Sikkim, North Sikkim and South Sikkim. The district capitals are Gangtok, Geyzing, Mangan and Namchi respectively.[40] These four districts are further divided into subdivisions. Pakyong and Rongli are the subdivisions of the East district. Soreng is the subdivision of the West district. Chungthang is the subdivision of the North district. Ravongla is the subdivision of the South district.[41]

Flora and fauna

The Rhododendron is the state tree.

Sikkim is situated in an ecological hotspot of the lower Himalayas, one of only three among the ecoregions of India. The forested regions of the state exhibit a diverse range of fauna and flora. Owing to its altitudinal gradation, the state has a wide variety of plants, from tropical species to temperate, alpine and tundra ones, and is perhaps one of the few regions to exhibit such a diversity within such a small area. Nearly 81% of the area of Sikkim comes under the administration of its forest department.[42]


Sikkim has around 5,000 flowering plants, 515 rare orchids, 60 primula species, 36 rhododendron species, 11 oak varieties, 23 bamboo varieties, 16 conifer species, 362 types of ferns and ferns allies, 8 tree ferns, and over 424 medicinal plants.[43] A variant of the Poinsettia, locally known as "Christmas Flower", can be found in abundance in the mountainous state. The orchid Dendrobium nobile is the official flower of Sikkim, while the rhododendron is the state tree.

Orchids, figs, laurel, bananas, sal trees and bamboo grow in the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests of the lower altitudes of Sikkim.

In the temperate elevations above 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) there are Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests, where oaks, chestnuts, maples, birches, alders, and magnolias grow in large numbers, as well as Himalayan subtropical pine forests, dominated by Chir pine.

The alpine-type vegetation is typically found between an altitude of 3,500 to 5,000 metres (11,500 to 16,000 ft). In lower elevations are found juniper, pine, firs, cypresses and rhododendrons from the Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. Higher up are Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows, home to a broad variety of rhododendrons and wildflowers.

The Red Panda is the state animal of Sikkim.

The fauna include the snow leopard,[44] the musk deer, the Himalayan Tahr, the red panda, the Himalayan marmot, the serow, the goral, the barking deer, the common langur, the Himalayan Black Bear, the clouded leopard,[45] the Marbled Cat, the leopard cat, the wild dog, the Tibetan wolf, the hog badger, the binturong, the jungle cat and the civet cat.[46] Among the animals more commonly found in the alpine zone are yaks, mainly reared for their milk, meat, and as a beast of burden.

The avifauna of Sikkim include of the Impeyan pheasant, the crimson horned pheasant, the snow partridge, the snow cock, the lammergeyer and griffon vultures, as well as golden eagles, quail, plovers, woodcock, sandpipers, pigeons, Old World flycatchers, babblers and robins. Sikkim has more than 550 species of birds, some of which have been declared endangered.[47]

Sikkim also has a rich diversity of arthropods, many of which remain unstudied. As with the rest of India, the most studied group is that of the butterflies. Of approximately 1,438 butterfly species found in the Indian subcontinent, 695 have been recorded from Sikkim.[48] These include the endangered Kaiser-i-hind, Yellow Gorgon and the Bhutan Glory.[49]

Economy

Sikkim's nominal state gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $730 million in 2010, constituting the fourth-smallest GDP of an Indian state.[9] The state's economy is largely agrarian, based on the terraced farming of rice[50] and the cultivation of crops such as maize, millet, wheat, barley, oranges, tea and cardamom.[51] Sikkim has the highest production of cardamom in India, as well as the largest cultivated area of cardamom.[52] Because of its hilly terrain, and the lack of trasnport infrastructure, Sikkim lacks a large-scale industrial base. Brewing, distilling, tanning and watchmaking are the main industries, and are mainly located in the southern reaches of the state, primarily in the towns of Melli and Jorethang. Despite the state's minimal industrial infrastructure, Sikkim's economy has been among the fastest-growing in India since 2000, with the state's GDP expanding by over 13% in 2007 alone.[10]

Elaichi, or cardamom, is the chief cash crop of Sikkim.

In recent years, the government of Sikkim has extensively promoted tourism. As a result, state revenue has increased 14 times since the mid-1990s.[53] Sikkim has furthermore invested in a fledgling gambling industry, promoting both casinos and online gambling. The state's first casino, the Casino Sikkim, opened in March 2009, and seven further casino licences are being considered by the state government.[54] The Playwin lottery has been a notable success in the state.[55][56] In October 2009, the government of Sikkim announced plans to offer three online sports betting licences.[57] Among the minerals mined in Sikkim are copper, dolomite, talc, graphite, quartzite, coal, zinc and lead.[58]

The opening of the Nathula Pass on 6 July 2006, connecting Lhasa, Tibet to India, was billed as a boon for Sikkim's economy, though the expected financial benefits will be slow to arrive. The pass, closed since the 1962 Sino-Indian War, was an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road.[26]

Transport

Air

The Teesta River is considered as the "lifeline of Sikkim."

Sikkim currently does not have any airports or railheads because of its rough terrain. However, the state's first airport is expected to be ready by 2011 in Pakyong, 30 km (19 mi) away from Gangtok. The airport will be capable of operating ATR aircraft.[59] Currently, the closest operational airport to Sikkim is Bagdogra Airport, near the town of Siliguri in West Bengal. The airport is about 124 km away from Gangtok. A regular helicopter service run by the Sikkim Helicopter Service connects Gangtok to Bagdogra; the flight is thirty minutes long, operates only once a day, and can carry 4 people.[60] The Gangtok helipad is the only civilian helipad in the state.

Rail

Sikkim lacks significant railway infrastructure. The closest major railway stations are Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri in neighbouring West Bengal.[61]

However, the New Sikkim Railway Project has been launched to connect the town of Rangpo in Sikkim with Sevoke. The project is expected to be complete by 2015.[62][63] In addition, the Ministry of Railways has recently proposed plans for railway lines linking Mirik to Ranipool.[64]

Roads

National Highway 31A and National Highway 31 link Siliguri to Gangtok.[65] Sikkim National Transport runs bus and truck services. Privately-run bus, tourist taxi and jeep services operate throughout Sikkim, and also connect it to Siliguri. A branch of the highway from Melli connects western Sikkim. Towns in southern and western Sikkim are connected to the hill stations of Kalimpong and Darjeeling in northern West Bengal.[66] The state is furthermore connected to China by the mountain pass of Nathu La.

Demographics

Sikkimese woman with child.

Sikkim is India's least populous state, with 607,688 inhabitants as of 2011.[68] Sikkim is also one of the least densely-populated Indian states, with only 86 persons per square kilometre. However, it has a high population growth rate, averaging 12.36% between 2001 and 2011. The sex ratio is 889 females per 1000 males, with a total of 321,661 males and 286,027 females recorded in 2011. With 50,000 inhabitants, the capital Gangtok is the only significant town in the mostly rural state; the urban population in Sikkim constitutes around 11.06% of the total.[41] The per capita income in Sikkim stands at INR11,356, which is one of the highest in the country.[69]

Ethnicity

The majority of Sikkim's residents are of Nepali ethnic origin. The native Sikkimese consist of the Bhutias, who migrated from the Kham district of Tibet in the 14th century, and the Lepchas, who are believed to have migrated from the Far East. Tibetans reside mostly in the northern and eastern reaches of the state. Migrant resident communities include Biharis, Bengalis and Marwaris, who are prominent in commerce in South Sikkim and Gangtok.[70]

Religion

Hinduism has been the state's major religion since the arrival of the Nepalis; an estimated 60.93% of the total population are now adherents of the religion. Sikkim's second-largest religion is Buddhism, which accounts for 28.1% of the population. Sikkim has 75 monasteries, the oldest dating back to the 1700s.[71]

Christians in Sikkim are mostly descendants of the Lepcha people who were converted by British missionaries in the late 19th century, and constitute around 6.6% of the population. Other religious minorities include Muslims of Bihari ethnicity and Jains, who account for roughly 1% each.[72] The traditional religions of the native Sikkimese account for much of the remainder of the population. Although tensions between the Lepchas and the Nepalese escalated during the merger of Sikkim with India in the 1970s, there has never been any major degree of communal religious violence, unlike in other Indian states.[73][74]

Languages

Nepali is the lingua franca of Sikkim, while Bhutia and Lepcha are spoken in certain areas. English and Hindi are also spoken and understood in most of Sikkim. Other languages include Dzongkha, Groma, Gurung, Limbu, Magar, Majhi, Majhwar, Nepal Bhasa, Rai, Sikkimese, Sherpa, Sunuwar, Tamang, Thulung, Tibetan, and Yakha.[75]

Culture

The traditional Gumpa dance being performed in Lachung during the Buddhist festival of Losar.

The Nepalese majority of Sikkim celebrate all major Hindu festivals, including Diwali and Dussera. Traditional local festivals, such as Maghe Sankranti and Bhimsen Puja, are also popular.[76] Losar, Loosong, Saga Dawa, Lhabab Duechen, Drupka Teshi and Bhumchu are among the Buddhist festivals celebrated in Sikkim. During the Losar (Tibetan New Year), most offices and educational institutions are closed for a week.[77] Sikkimese Muslims celebrate Eid ul-Fitr and Muharram.[78] Christmas has also been promoted in Gangtok to attract tourists during the off-season.[79]

Western rock music and Hindi songs have gained a wide following in Sikkim. Indigenous Nepali rock and Lepcha music are also popular.[80] Sikkim's most popular sport are football and cricket, although hang gliding and river rafting have also grown popular as part of the tourism industry.[81]

Cuisine

Noodle-based dishes such as thukpa, chowmein, thanthuk, fakthu, gyathuk and wonton are common in Sikkim. Momos, steamed dumplings filled with vegetables, buff (buffalo meat) or pork and served with a soup, are a popular snack.[82] Beer, whiskey, rum and brandy are widely consumed.[83] Sikkim has the third-highest per capita alcoholism rate amongst all Indian states, behind Punjab and Haryana.[84]

Government and politics

State symbols
State day 16 May (day of accession to India)
State animal Red Panda
State bird Blood Pheasant[85]
State tree Rhododendron
State flower Noble orchid[86]
The White Hall complex houses the residences of the Chief Minister and Governor of Sikkim.

Like all states of India, the head of Sikkim's state government is a governor appointed by the Central Indian Government. His/her appointment is largely ceremonial, and his/her main role is to oversee the swearing in of the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister, who holds the real executive powers, is the head of the party or coalition garnering the largest majority in the state elections. The governor also appoints the cabinet ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister. Sikkim has a unicameral legislature like most other Indian states. Sikkim is allocated one seat in each of both chambers of India's national bicameral legislature, the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha. There are a total of 32 state assembly seats including one reserved for the Sangha. The Sikkim High Court is the smallest high court in the country.[87]

In 1975, after the abrogation of Sikkim's monarchy, the Congress Party got the largest majority in the 1977 elections. In 1979, after a period of instability, a popular ministry headed by Nar Bahadur Bhandari, leader of the Sikkim Sangram Parishad Party was sworn in. Bhandari held on to power in the 1984 and 1989 elections. In the 1994 elections Pawan Kumar Chamling from the Sikkim Democratic Front became the Chief Minister of the state. The party has since held on to power by winning the 1999 and 2004 elections.[19][60] It won all the 32 seats of the state assembly in 2009.[88]

Infrastructure

Tibetology Museum and research centre.

Although roads in Sikkim are often exposed to landslides and flooding by nearby streams, the roads are significantly better than the equivalent roads of other Indian states. The roads are maintained by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), an offshoot of the Indian army. The roads in South Sikkim and NH-31A are in good condition, landslides being less frequent in these areas. The state government maintains 1857.35 km of roadways that do not fall in the BRO jurisdiction.[41]

Sikkim receives most of its electricity from 19 hydroelectric power stations.[53] It has achieved 100% rural electrification.[89] Power also obtained from the National Thermal Power Corporation and Power Grid Corporation of India.[90] However the voltage is unstable and voltage stabilisers are needed. Per capita consumption of electricity in Sikkim is 182 kWh. The state government has promoted biogas and solar power for cooking but these have received a poor response and are used mostly for lighting purposes.[91] 73.2% of the total households have access to safe drinking water,[41] and the large number of streams assures sufficient water supply.

Media

The Rumtek monastery is among Sikkim's most famous monuments.

The southern urban areas have English, Nepali and Hindi dailies. Nepali-language newspapers, as well as some English newspapers, are locally printed, whereas Hindi and English newspapers are printed in Siliguri. Important local dailies and weeklies[92] are Hamro Prajashakti (Nepali daily), Himalayan Mirror (English daily), the Samay Dainik, Sikkim Express (English), Sikkim Now (English), Kanchanjunga Times (Nepali weekly), Pragya Khabar (Nepali weekly) and Himalibela. The regional editions of English newspapers include The Statesman and The Telegraph, which are printed in Siliguri, as well as The Hindu and The Times of India, printed in Kolkata, which are received with a day's delay in the towns of Gangtok, Jorethang, Melli and Geyzing. Himalaya Darpan, a Nepali daily published in Siliguri, is one of the leading Nepali daily newspapers in the region. The Sikkim Herald is an official weekly publication of the government. Online media covering Sikkim include the Nepali newspaper Himgiri, the English news portal Haalkhabar and the literary magazine Tistarangit. Avyakta, Bilokan, the Journal of Hill Research, Khaber Khagaj, Panda, and the Sikkim Science Society Newsletter are among other registered publications.[93]

Internet cafés are well established in the district capitals, but broadband connectivity is not widely available. Satellite television channels through dish antennae are available in most homes in the state. Channels served are largely the same as those available in the rest of India, although Nepali-language channels are also available. The main service providers include Dish TV, Doordarshan and Nayuma.

Education

Literacy in Sikkim is 69.68%, which breaks down into 76.73% for males and 61.46% for females. There are a total of 1157 schools, including 765 schools run by the State government, 7 central government schools and 385 private schools.[94] Twelve colleges and other institutions in Sikkim offer higher education. The largest institution is the Sikkim Manipal University of Technological Sciences, which offers higher education in engineering, medicine and management. It also runs a host of distance education programs[95] in diverse fields. There are two state-run polytechnical schools, Advanced Technical Training Centre (ATTC) and Centre for Computers and Communication Technology (CCCT) in Sikkim which offer diploma courses in various branches of engineering. ATTC is situated at Bardang, Singtam and CCCT at Chisopani, Namchi. Sikkim University a central university, began operating in 2008 at Yangang, which is situated about 28 km from Singtam.[96] Many students, however, migrate to Siliguri, Kolkata, Bangalore and other Indian cities for their higher education.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Strachey 1854, p. 2.
  2. ^ "Lepcha - Sikkim Online Guide". SikkimOnline.info. http://www.sikkimonline.info/sikkim/Lepcha. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  3. ^ a b Bell, Charles Alfred (1987). Portrait of a Dalai Lama: the life and times of the great thirteenth. Wisdom Publications. p. 25. ISBN 086171055X. 
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References

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