SIKKIM, This small erstwhile Himalayan in the northeastern frontier of India, is wedged between China, Nepal, Bhutan and the sleepy Darjeeling district. Remote, wild and unbelievable, the small state tucked in the eastern Himalayas is an experience simply out of the world. Catch the sunrise atop the mighty Kanchenjunga, visit ancient Buddhist monasteries and tea gardens, enjoy a nature walk, or relax amidst peaceful environs of emerald green. Merged into the Indian republic in 1975, Sikkim offers the magical feel of a Himalayan fairytale land. It has everything you need to relax the body and revive the human spirit. It is an amazing place of hidden valleys, mystical monasteries, and snow fed mountains covered with rare flora and fauna. A collage of three distinct ethnic groups - Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese - this former kingdom is a colorful melange of distinctively flavored cultures:
AREA: 7096 sq km
CAPITAL TOWN: Gangtok
NUMBER OF DISTRICTS: 4
DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS: North-Mangan, South-Namchi, East-Gangtok , West-Gyalshing.
POPULATION: 5,40,493 (Census -2001)
LANGUAGE SPOKEN: Nepali, English, Hindi, Bhutia(Sikkimese), Bhutia(Tibetan), Lepcha, Limboo.
LITERACY RATES: 69.68%
CLIMATE- Cold Winters in the month of November to February with minimum temperatures dipping to 4 centigrade during January - February. It is between the month of March and early May when sunshine is quite abundant. Though summer is officially from May to October, Sikkim is almost always wet due to the heavy monsoons, with rains at times continuing for days on ends. Longest recorded nonstop rain is 11 days. September to October is Autumn. A peculiar feature of Sikkim weather is that though there is a classification of sorts of the various seasons, actually experiences a cold winter from end of November to February and monsoons throughout the year with a little respite during May - June and October - November. Even the winter months can be irritatingly wet and damp with the unpredictable showers.
BEST SEASON TO VISIT: March to June and September to December
MAXIMUM SUMMER TEMPERATURE: 28 ° C
MINIMUM WINTER TEMPERATURE: 0 ° C
AVERAGE RAINFALL: 325 cm. RF / Year
CURRENCY: Indian Rupee
NEAREST RAILWAY STATION: The closest Railhead is at New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, 148 km and Siliguri which are connected to Calcutta , New Delhi Guwahati and other major Indian cities.
NEAREST AIRPORT: The closest Indian Airport isat a distance of 124 kms from Gangtok at Bagdogra in Siliguri in West Bengal, where scheduled flights operates from Kolkata(Calcutta), Delhi and Guwahati and connecting flights onwards. Travel time from the airport to Gangtok is 4 hours.
From Kathmandu you can fly to Bhadrapur in the east Nepal (1 hour), then drive to Kakarbhitta (Nepal-India border, 35 kms), to Siliguri (37 kms) and to Gangtok (110 kms, 4 hrs). Or fly to Biratnagar also in the east.
ROAD: Gangtok is well connected by road to Siliguri, 114 kms. 4 hours, which functions as the major transit point for the North and North Eastern sections of the Indian Sub-continent. Gangtok is further well connected by road with Darjeeling(4 Hrs), Kalimpong and with Bhutan, Phuntsholing (6 Hrs).