Around Yumthang Valley still
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The Kingdom of Sikkim became India's 22nd State in 1975 after some political upheaval.
Sights and Activities
- Kanchenjunga National Park
- Impressive Rumtek, Enchey, Phodong, Pemayangtse Gompas
- Tsongo Lake
Events and Festivals
- Holi is quite popular in the Indian sub-continent and is traditionally celebrated on the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna (early March), according to Hindu calender. Holi is a thanksgiving festival, where people offer prayer to God for good harvest and fertility of the land. Holi is a festival of freedom from social norms and caste inhibitions are shed for a day as people indulge in fun and merry-making. Colors and 'gulal' are showered on the people dressed up for the occasion and the whole community seems to merge into one big family under the guise of colors, without any distinction whatsoever. Children with face smeared with colors run around with 'pichkaris' (big syringes to splash colored water) and play amongst themselves. People exchange good wishes, sweets and gifts. Holi is also marked by vibrant processions which are accompanied by folk songs, dances and drum beating. Parties are also organized where snacks and the traditional milk-based drink “Thandai” is served which is often intoxicated with “Bhang”. Of late, lots of foreigners have started taking interest in this festival and they even enjoy the colors and the intoxicating drink. It is advised to cover your hair with a cap and eyes with sunglasses to avoid the colors splashing the eyes and damaging the hair.
- Republic Day - Republic Day is a national holiday in India every January 26 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution in 1950 and the declaration of independence in 1930. The capital of New Delhi is the focus of the celebrations, including a flag raising ceremony, wreath laying, 21-gun salute, Presidential speech, and presentation of awards for selflessness and bravery. A massive military parade includes elephants ridden by children who have received national accolades.
- Gandhi Jayanti - Gandhi Jayanti is a national public holiday commemorating the birth of the peaceful activist, Mohandas Gandhi on October 2, 1869. The celebration coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence. In India, Gandhi is remembered through statues, flower and candle offerings, prayers and singing the devotional hymn Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram. The Indian government issues special mint rupees and postage stamps bearing his picture.
- Diwali - Diwali is the five-day festival of lights held in India in late October or early November each year. The widely celebrated Hindu event marks Lord Rama’s victory over the demon Ravan. Homes and streets are decorated with lights, candles and small clay lamps, and new clothes are worn and sweets are exchanged.
Bagdogra Airport is around 124 kilometres from Gangtok. Bagdogra is connected with Kolkata, Guwahati and Delhi by regular flights operated by Indian Airlines and Jet Airways. Buses and Taxis are available from the airport to Gangtok and the journey usually takes around 4 hours. A helicoptor service has also been started by the Tourism Authorities and this 30-minute journey from the airport to Gangtok cost around 2,000 Rupees. Gangtok can also be reached from Nepal by taking a flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur in east Nepal, then drive to the Nepal-India border at Kakarbhitta (35 kilometres), then to Siliguri (37 kilometres) and onwards to Gangtok (110 kilometres).
- Chang/Tongba Millet beer - served with straw in a bamboo container.
- As a tax-free state all alcohol is particularly good value.