Sikkim, a mountainous region in the eastern Himalayas, has 600 species of birds, or about half of the over 1200 species to be found in India. Perched between Nepal in the west, Bhutan in the east, and Tibet( China) in the north, Sikkim is 7300 square miles in area and contains Mount Khangchendzonga, the third-highest peak in the world. Formerly a kingdom, since 1975 it has been a tiny land -locked province to India.
Sikkim, with its rich biodiversity, has 150 lakes ranging in altitude from 200 meters to almost 8000 meters. Besides birds, Sikkim has 4000 species of flowering plants, making it a botanist’s paradise. It has 600 species of orchids, and 40 species of rhododendrons. With the introduction of eco-tourism, including serious birding, Sikkim has begun to focus on enterprise-based conservation.
Sikkim is considered a hot spot of biodiversity in the Himalayas. Sikkim is rich in avifauna and is considered to be a birdwatchers paradise. Its avian population extends to almost 550 species. The climate varies between the tropical heat of the valleys and the alpine cold of the snowy regions.
The altitudinal zones of vegetation range from tropical, sub tropical, temperate to Alpine. In some places only 10 Kms in a direct line separate the warm valleys from perpetual snow.
The telescoping of terrain has created marked altitudinal zonation in the humidity, rainfall, climate and vegetation. This factor is responsible for the great variety and abundance of the resident bird life, making this area arguably one of the richest areas of its size anywhere in the world.
PLACES TO SEE
The terrain of Sikkim, being rugged, is not conducive to agriculture and even industrialization here is not updated. So the bulk of the economy of the state of Sikkim is shared by the tourism industry of the place.
There are some fabulous places to see in Sikkim, making it one of the most frequented tourist destinations in the north eastern part of India.
The variety of sightseeing spots in Sikkim ranges from parks to lakes, monasteries to political buildings, from sanctuaries to research institutes. Some of the places to see in Sikkim are:
This most important ‘stupa’ of Buddhism, a 200 years old monumental building is the seat of the Nyigma order.
RUMTEK DHARMA CHAKRA
CENTER: Built in 1960 by the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, it is a replica of the original Kagyurpa Monastery in Tibet.
TSOMGO LAKE: Home of Brahmini and other migratory ducks, it is situated at an altitude of 1200 ft. NATHULA PASS: It is situated on the Indo-Chinese border, hale a day’s ride from Gangtok.
HIMALAYAN ZOOLOGICAL PARK: Covering 205 hectares, this park houses barking deers, bears, red pandas and a variety of Himalayan birds. The park also exhibits hundreds orchids and flowers.
SIKKIM RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF TIBETOLOGY: This is an internationally acclaimed center of Buddhism and Tibetan studies.
PELLING: Located about 4 hours ride from Gangtok, this place has some voluminous waterfalls.
WHITE HALL: 5 minutes from Gangtok, it was built in 1932 to commemorate the first Political Officer of Sikkim.
TASHI VIEW POINT: This spot presents a scenic view of the majestic Kanchenjunga and other surrounding hills. Apart from these beautiful spots, there are other sightseeing spots in Sikkim.
3)Shri Nalanda Institute for Higher
Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden
Ridge Park, Deer Park
Government Institute of Cottage Industry
Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary and many more to make Sikkim a tourist’s nirvana