Sikkim, situated in the eastern Himalayas of India. It is landlocked Indian State. It has a total area of 7,096 km2, 114 km from north to south and 64 km from east to west. The entire state is mountainous, with altitudes ranging from 300 to 8,586 meters from sea level.
There are 440 villages, eight towns and four districts in Sikkim. The state has three major ethnic groups, namely Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalis.The climate of the state varies from cold temperate and alpine in northeast to subtropical in the south. Argo-climatically, the state is divided into four zones, viz.,
* Subtropical zone (below 1,000 meters);
* Humid zone (1,000-1,600 meters);
* Mid-hill dry zone (again in altitude ranging from 1,000-1,600 meters); and
* High hill temperate zone (with an altitude of above 1,600 meters).
The genetic diversity, of both forest vegetation and agricultural crops, is enormous. The state has about 600 plant species and more than 4,000 species of flowering plants.
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Sikkim does not have any airports or railheads because of its rough terrain, however a Government Grant has been approved for an airport in Pakyong. The closest airport Bagdogra airport, is near the town of Siliguri, 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.
The closest Railhead is at New Jaiguri which is around 148 km away from Gangtok. It is connected to Kolkata(Calcutta), New Delhi, Guwahati and other major Indian cities.
Entry Procedures To Sikkim:
In addition to an Indian visa, foreigners must obtain Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim. The permits can be obtained from all Indian missions, Tourism Office, New Delhi, Sikkim Tourism Office, Calcutta and Sikkim Tourism Office, Siliguri on the strength of an Indian Visa. For those interested in going for trekking in the interior regions of the state, you also require a restricted area permit (RAP) or protected area permit (PAP) which is obtainable in Gangtok from the Police Check Post and Department of Tourism which is available for certain specified area for groups consisting of 4 or more foreigners subject to the condition that the trekking program is arranged through a registered travel agency. This permit is issued to local government registered travel agents only. While traveling in Sikkim don't forget to get your passport stamped at all check posts.
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. The best season is to visit in March to June and September to December.
Culture of Sikkim:
The state's cultural life is related to Tibetan religious and aesthetic traditions. The cultural climax of the year comes with the 2-day Phanglhapsol festival, when masked dances are performed in honour of Kanchenjunga, presiding deity and the mountain. Sikkim residents celebrate all major Indian festivals such as Diwali and Dussera, the popular Hindu festivals. Losar, Saga Dawa, Loosong, Drupka Teshiand Bhumchu are Buddhist festivals that are also celebrated. During the Losar – the Tibetan New Year – most government offices and tourist centres are closed for a week. Christmas has also recently been promoted in Gangtok to attract tourists during the off-season.
In Sikkim, there are a few luxury hotels that provide facilities matching the international tastes of the visitors. Moreover, most of the hotels are located in such a way that tourist attractions are quite close to them.
Sikkim Hotels are comparatively cheaper than the hotels in other parts of India. It doesn't mean that you would have to compromise in facilities provided by the Hotels. Everything is just perfect, harmonizing with the beautiful surroundings of Sikkim. The flawless services offered by these hotels make them just the right place to stay for one's trip. Plan a trip to Sikkim and see yourself the immaculate hospitality granted by the hotels of Sikkim. However you will be served a buffet of Continental food with some local dishes too. On treks, our trained cooks prepare dishes suitable to western taste ranging from Continental to Chinese and Bhutanese to Indian.
For more information or reservations please contact us.
Treks & Expedition Pvt. Ltd.
Laxman Aryal web: www.asiaexplorationtreks.com
Managing Director Jyatha, Thamel, Ktm. Nepal. P.O.Box No. 24452