Sikkim – General Information
Sikkim, small but beautiful – the home of Yak and Yeti is situated in the Eastern Himalayas spread below the world’s third highest mountain, Khangchendzonga (8585 m) revered by the Sikkimese as their protective deity. Sikkim is separated by the Singalila Range from Nepal in the West, Chola Range from Tibet in the Northeast and Bhutan in the Southeast. Rangit and Rangpo river from the borders with the Indian state of West Bengal in the South.
Though measuring just 65 kms. by 115 kms – the size of Switzerland – it ranges from sweltering deep valleys – a mere 300 mts. above sea level to lofty snow peaks such as Khangchendzonga. On its west side is the massif 31 kms. long Zemu Glacier. Various explorers and mountaineers have claimed to have seen YETI or its foot prints in the vicinity of the mountain and its glacier, – “The Abominable Snowman” has its place in folklore. Sikkim’s botanical and geological affluence is truly impressive. The variety of birds and butterflies in Sikkim is matched only by incredible diversity in the animal and botanical world, nourished by unique dramatic geographical features.
The lower altitudes are sub-tropical and abound in some of Sikkim’s more than 600 hundred Orchid varieties, sprays of Cardamom, fruits orchards and terraced rice paddies.
To the Lepchas – this was “Nye Mae-El” (Paradise), to the Bhutias it is, “Beymul Denzong” (The Hidden Valley of Rice). Sikkim is commonly attributed to the Tsong word “Sukhim’ meaning (New or Happy Home). The people of Sikkim are warm, simple and friendly with a natural gaiety. The custom and rituals of Sikkimese are as diverse as the ethnic groups that inhabit the land. They have an impressive repertoire of folk songs and dances. People of Sikkim love to celebrate with a gay abandon and their way of life is inextricably bound up with nature.
Just as Mt. Khangchendzonga is an indisputable part of the consciousness of the Sikkimese people, so to the rivers Teesta and Rangit with deep ravines and their valleys allowing monsoon to penetrate in the northern most parts which nourishes this ” Garden of Himalayas”. At higher altitudes, monsoon mists cling to use tracts of Lichens- covered forest, where every conceivable species of Rhododendron and giant Magnolia trees. Conifers and beautiful flowering plants as Primulas, Gentians, Blue Poppies, Wild Strawberry and Raspberry. All over Sikkim, forest and wilderness areas are inhabited by the Snow Leopard, Thar, Yaks, Wild Ass in the Tibetan Plateau, Bharal or Blue Sheep, Shapi and the symbol of Sikkim – the endangered Red Panda.
The land of Five treasures – Mt. Khangchendzonga – the massive part of massive Himalayan Range and other spectacular peaks have a glorious splendor for mountaineers. They also are a part of lives of Sikkimese people. The best known peaks are Pauhnuri (7125 m), Pandim (6691 m), Talung (7349m), Tent Peak (7365 m), Jongsang (7459 m), Rathong (6679 m), Koktang (6147 m) and Sinioulchu (6887 m) regarded by the mountaineers as the most beautiful peak in the World.
Amidst the grandeur of the mountain peaks, Lush Valleys, Fast Flowing Rivers, SIKKIM offers her visitors a rare and singular experience. Within a matter of hour one can move from its sub-tropical heat of the lower valleys to the cold of the rugged mountains slopes that reach up to the areas of perpetual snow.
YAK AND YETI TRAVELS unfolds you the inner secrets and mysteries of this fascinating land, people and culture – so different from anything you have ever imagined!