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WELCOME TO SIKKIM
... the Land of Mystical Splendor !

                                                                                                      

 

SIKKIM, a small Himalayan State lying between 27 to 28 degrees North latitude and 88 to 89 degrees East longitude is the second smallest state in India. It is barely 7,096 sq. kms in size yet has an elevation ranging from 300 mtrs. to 8585 mtrs. above sea level. It's Geography is dominated by the most majestic mountain chain in the world which includes the Khangchendzonga,


 

Sikkim stretches from the low lands in the south with tropical climate to the mountainous regions in the north with summits that touch the skies. The altitude varies right from sea level to mountain peaks covering a wide spectrum of flora and fauna. Nowhere in the world in such a small area can one find flora and fauna of all varieties - Tropical to the Alpines. Sikkim's botanical and zoological richness is awe- inspiring, boasting of more than 4000 species of plants and 30% of all the birds found in the Indian sub-continent .

Truly a naturalist's delight. The hillsides and mountain slopes of Sikkim are strewn with bright patches of myriad colours. The lower mountain slopes are abundant with lush green bamboos and ferns. And the northern valleys are draped with wild cherry, oaks, chestnuts, pines and white magnolia. The higher altitudes are abloom with a carpet of rhododendrons with a splendour of their own. Sikkim's 600 varieties of orchids are a feast for the eye.

Flora
Luxuriant forests cover 36% of the land. The lowlands in the south between 800 feet to 5000 feet experience a tropical climate. Here you find lush green vegetation including figs, laurel, Sal trees and bamboos. Some of the areas have been cleared for farming. The temperate forest of oak, chestnut, maple, birch, alder, magnolia and silver fir dominates between 5000 ft and 13000 ft. Above 13000ft, is the alpine zone where juniper, cypresses and rhododendrons grow. The perpetual snowline lies at 16000 ft.

More than 4000 species of plant have been recorded in Sikkim. Over 600 species of orchids grow in Sikkim, Epiphytal and terrestrial types, in the tropical and temperate zones. 35 species of rhododendrons grow in temperate and alpine regions, their flowering from May to August covering the hillsides in a riot of colours.

Fauna
The diversity in the plant world is complemented by a similar variety in the animal kingdom. Over 400 varieties of butterflies and moths adorn the forest with colour and life. Giant Lammergeier Vultures, Eagles, Whistling Thursh, Minivets, Bulbuls and Pheasants are some from among the 550 species of birds recorded in Sikkim some of which have been declared endangered.

Among the more commonly found animals in the alpine zone are yaks. They are domesticated and reared in North Sikkim mainly for their economic productiveness. Yak milk is used to make butter `churpi', the wool comes in handy as raw material for carpets and blankets. The musk deer, found in the upper temperate regions, is today a species in the endangered list. A common denizen of Sikkim is the muntjac, or the Barking Deer.

Among the more exotic mammals is the Red Panda which lives mostly on treetops. It is found at altitudes ranging from 6,000 to 12,000 feet. The snow leopard is an almost mythical animal. It has rarely been sighted and to date, only two field zoologists have succeeded in photographing this elusive animal in its habitat which can vary from 5,000 feet to as high as 18,000 feet. Blue sheep, flying squirrels, binturong, tahrs, marmots and musk deer are at home in this cool blanket of green.

Most of this beautiful and virgin area comes under the Khangchendzonga National Park.

Sikkim also has large cardamom, orange and tea plantations. The rivers of Sikkim have trout, salmon and carp. Fishing is allowed with a permit.

International Flower Festival
The International Flower Festival is held during the months of March-May, when most of the state's 600 species of orchids, 240 species of trees and 240 species of ferns, 150 kinds of gladioli, 46 varieties of the world famous rhododendrons, equally varied species of magnolias and many other foliage plants are in full bloom.

Major categories are orchids, gladioli, annuals, roses, alpine plants, pot plants, cacti, succulents, creepers, climbers, ferns, herbs and even wild flowers.

Lectures and seminars are held by the experts in each field. A food festival is also organised.
 


Special Interest Tours
The Last Shangri La | Butterfly Tour | Angling Tour | Meditation Tour | Flower Lovers Tour | Rhododendron Tour | Photo Tour

Cultural Tours
Discover Sikkim | Sublime Lotus | Shangrila Tour | Pilgrimage Sikkim | Himalayan Splendour | Formidable Dzongs | On The Kanchendzonga Trail | The Roof Of The World | The Dragon Land | Pemayangste--The Sublime Lotus | A Journey Along The Teesta River
| Monasteries & Chortens | Of Mist & Clouds | Ride On The Historic World Heritage Train | Monasteries Of Sikkim | Monastics & Ascetics | The Buddhist Lamas | The Kazi Bhutias | The Lachenpas & Lachungpas | A Pilgrimage To Pemayangtse

Sikkim Treks
White Magic Trek | Dzongri Trek | Sangelila Trek | Green Lake Trek | Goecha-la Trek


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