Sikkim, the small
but beautiful kingdom is situated in the eastern Himalayas.
Sikkim is termed as the Switzerland of the east, a heavenly
paradise on earth. It covers an area of 2818 square miles
7325 square kilometers. It is rectangular in shape with seventy
miles in the north to south and forty east to west. Geographically
it is 28 Degree 07' 48'' degree and 27 degree 04' 46'' north
latitude, and 88 degree 00' 58' and 88 degree 55' 25'' east
longitude. In the north it is bounded by Tibetan plateau to
its east is Bhutan and Chumbi valley of Tibet and in the southern
side is bounded by West Bengal India. There are two passes
in the eastern boundary with Tibet Nathula pass (4700 metres)
and Jelepla(4016 metres ). To the west lies Singalila range
which forms the most important boundaries between Nepal and
Sikkim with a pass named Chiwabhangjang (3400 metres). There
are two important rivers In Sikkim Teesta which starts from
Tashidrag Glacier in the north and Rangit which is a tributaries
of Teesta river.
Sikkim is well connected by rail and air to the rest of the
country through Siliguri in West Bengal. There are no airports
or railway stations in Sikkim. The primary means of transport
within Sikkim is by road. However, an airport is being built.
To get to Sikkim, you must first reach Siliguri.
By Air : The nearest airport is Bagdogra
(124 kms) near Siliguri in West Bengal. It is connected by
air from New Delhi, Kolkata and Guawahati. There is a helicopter
service plying between Bagdogra and Gangtok which is otherwise
4 hours drive by road.
By Rail: The two closest
railway stations are Siliguri (114 kms) and New Jalpaiguri
(125 kms) connecting Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Guwahati
and other important cities in India.
By road : It is connected by road to Darjeeling,
Kalimpong, Siliguri and also to all the District Headquarters
within Sikkim. The Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) plies
regular bus services from all major cities and towns in North
Bengal to Gangtok. Good motorable roads connect Gangtok with
Siliguri 114 kms, Kolkata 725 kms, Darjeeling 139 kms and
Guwahati 589 kms.
Flora and Fauna
Sikkim is densely covered by forest due to heavy rainfall.
It can be divided into three zones Tropical zone about 100
metres with its vegetation such as bamboo, fern, pandanus,
sal and orchid are found. Dense undergrowth and bush vegetation
are found in sub-tropical zone. In the temperate Zone in the
northern valley is covered by cherry, laurel, oak, chesnut,
Maple, pine and magnolia. Rhododendrons which is abundant
is found above (2000 metres ) there are about thirty species
. In the north different varieties of Primula is found. There
are roughly 4000 variety of flowering plants and shrubs in
Sikkim of which orchids are about 700 species with varieties
of several in hundreds kinds of butterflies. Regarding the
records of Sikkim in wild animals Yeti is believed to be still
existing in the Himalayas of Sikkim an expedition was also
conducted , there are local people and porters who still talk
about witnessing Yeti in the high trekking areas. Snow leopard
is found in 4000 metres, Himalayan black bear is found in
2000 metres, above this altitude Barking Deer, Musk Deer,
Sambar, Marbled Cat, Leopard Cat, Squirrel, Tiger, Panda,
Otter, Ovis, Nahura, ovismon Goral and wild boar is also found.
About 500 species of birds are found in Sikkim.
Among them the important birds are Pheasants, Partridges Ducks,
and Lammergeyer. Trout and Salmon are the principal fish of
GANGTOK is a perfect symbol of the confluence
of the past and present - the capital of Sikkim. Built on
the flank of the ridge, Gangtok is 1600 meters above sea level.
The town's unique ambience derives from the happy blend of
tradition and modernity. Alongside the deeply felt presence
of Stupas and monasteries, Gangtok also bustles like any other
town. But with many of these oasis of quite, those unexpected
pockets of peace exist