King’s Capital and Picturesque Colonial Hill Towns
The former Himalayan kingdom till 1975 and now a mountain state of Indian federal situated in the Eastern Himalayas, is sandwiched between the kingdom of Nepal in the West and Bhutan in the East, Tibet in the North and the state of West Bengal in the South. The elevation of the state ranges between 300 m and over 8,500 m above sea level. Climate ranges from sub-tropical in the south to tundra in the northern parts. Sikkim residents celebrate all major Indian festivals such as Diwali and Dussera, the popular Hindu festivals. Losar, Loosong, Saga Dawa, Lhabab Duechen, Drupka Teshi and Bhumchu are Buddhist festivals that are also celebrated. During the Losar - the Tibetan New Year - most government offices and tourist centres are closed for a week. In its four districts the languages spoken are: Lepcha, Bhutia, Hindi, Nepali, Limbu
Rice is the staple food in Sikkim. Noodle-based dishes such as the thukpa, chowmein, thanthuk, fakthu, gyathuk are also very popular in the state. Momos, steamed dumplings filled with vegetable, cottage cheese, beef or pork and served with a soup are a popular snack. The scenic grandeur of mighty snow-capped peaks, the highest of which is the 28,162 feet Kanchanjunga on the Nepal-Sikkim border, has been a symbol of romantic awe and wonder for the people. It is the world's third highest peak. Kanchanjunga has five satellite peaks: Jano, Kabru, Pandim, Narsim, Simiolchu. Two principle mountain ranges are the Singilela and Chola, which start in the north and continue, following a more or less southerly direction. Between these ranges are the principle rivers, the Rangit and the Teesta, forming the main channels of drainage. In north Sikkim, one can visit Changthang (the origin of the river Teesta), Yumthang (140 km from Gangtok), the Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary (137 km from Gangtok), and the Kanchanjunga National Park. In the eastern part of the state, one can visit the capital Gangtok. Other sites in eastern Sikkim are The Directorate of Handicraft and Handloom, White Hall, Ridge Garden, Do-Drul Chorten Stupa, Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology, Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center, Tashi View Point, Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, the Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary. In west Sikkim one can see the Rabdentse ruins, Pelling, and the former capital Yuksom. South Sikkim is famous for trekking and offers some of the best treks in the region. One can walk through the sylvan mountains of Namtse, 100 km from Gangtok, and Tendong hill, Varsey, Borong, Maenam hill, and Ravangla.
Darjeeling hill town, also known as the “Queen of Hills” lies nestled in the grandeur of the snow-capped mountains and lush green tea gardens at an altitude of 2045 m in Mahabharat range sharing its border with Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan. It is noted for its tea industry, the spectacular views of Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain, and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built at the time of British colony. The varied culture of the town reflects its diverse demographic milieu consisting of Gorkhas,Bhutia, Lepcha and other mainland Indian ethno-linguistic groups. Despite it’s small size in area, there are numerous attractions to tourists like; temples, monasteries, shrines, parks etc. beside the famous, tea-estates, Observatory Hills, Tiger Hill, Tenzing and Gombu Rocks, devoted to the first Everest summiteers, Batasia Loop & War Memorial , Lloyd Botanical Garden , Himalayan Zoological Park and the Toy Train Ride with coal powered engine. Other surrounding hill stations are; Kalimpong, Mirik and Kurseong
Himaland offers trip package combining both Sikkim and Darjeeling.