Sikkim is a state in Eastern India located in the Himalayan Mountains. The state is bordered by Nepal to the west, China's Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and east, and Bhutan to the east.
Foreigners must obtain Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim.
Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa in the country. Sikkim's capital and largest city is Gangtok.
The region is known for Tibetan-style Buddhist monasteries gompas, hot springs, and Khangchendzonga - the world's third-highest peak.
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Major tourist destinations in the state include: Pemayangtse Monastery, Rumtek Monastery, Enchey Monastery, Do-Drul Chorten, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden, Yuksom, Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass, Pelling, Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology, etc.
The state has 28 mountain peaks, more than 80 glaciers, 227 high-altitude lakes (including the Tsongmo, Gurudongmar and Khecheopalri Lakes), five major hot springs, and more than 100 rivers and streams.
Sikkim is home to around 5,000 species of flowering plants, 515 rare orchids. The fauna of Sikkim include the snow leopard, musk deer, Himalayan tahr, red panda, Himalayan marmot, Himalayan serow, etc.
Among the popular national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are: Khangchendzonga National Park, Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary, Varsey Rhododendrom Sanctuary, etc.
Sikkimese cuisine is coming from Nepal and North-East India. Traditional Sikkimese foods include sisnoo/sochhya (nettle soup), ningro (fried fiddlehead ferns), Tibetan-style churpi (dried yak cheese) and the Nepali speciality gundruk ko jhol (fermented mustard-leaf soup). Momos – steamed dumplings filled with vegetables, buffalo meat or pork and served with soup – are a popular snack. Sikkim’s popular beverage’s include tongba (an alcoholic millet beer), chhang (beer) which is sipped through a bamboo straw and the wooden container, topped up periodically with boiling water to let the brew gain strength.
Major state’s festivals include Losar known for Sikkim’s biggest chaam (monastic masked dances), Bumchu, Saga Dawa - religious ceremonies and parades that commemorate Buddha’s birth (May/June), enlightenment and death, Pang Lhabsol where prayers and religious dances are performed in honour of Sikkim’s guardian deity Khangchendzonga and Losoong - Sikkimese New Year.
Choktse Tables is one of main handicraft attraction of Sikkim. It is a foldable table available in several designs and shapes. Among other popular handicrafts are Thangka paintings, woolen blankets, bags, shawls, colourful applique work, batiks, etc.
The state has five seasons: winter, summer, spring, autumn, and a monsoon season between June and September. The climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 °C (64 °F).
The best time to visit Sikkim is either between March and May or October and mid-December.
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