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North of the Bengal Hills, Sikkim is a land of mountains and monasteries, squeezed against the border between India and Tibet. Climbing from lush green hills to the snow-topped peaks of the Himalaya, this blissful Buddhist shangri-la is dominated by the looming mass of Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world. Converted to Buddhism by Tibetan lamas in 1642, Sikkim was an independent kingdom until 1975, when the Sikkimese voted to become part of India. These days, travelers are drawn to Sikkim by the awesome terrain and the peace and quiet of the mountains, best enjoyed on treks from Yuksom, the ancient capital of the Sikkim ...

North of the Bengal Hills, Sikkim is a land of mountains and monasteries, squeezed against the border between India and Tibet. Climbing from lush green hills to the snow-topped peaks of the Himalaya, this blissful Buddhist shangri-la is dominated by the looming mass of Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world. Converted to Buddhism by Tibetan lamas in 1642, Sikkim was an independent kingdom until 1975, when the Sikkimese voted to become part of India. These days, travelers are drawn to Sikkim by the awesome terrain and the peace and quiet of the mountains, best enjoyed on treks from Yuksom, the ancient capital of the Sikkim chogyals (kings). Other attractions include Pelling, with its legendary mountain views, and the capital, Gangtok, with its famous Buddhist monasteries. Rugged jeep and trekking tours run from Gangtok almost as far as the Tibetan border. A permit is required to enter Sikkim, but this can be obtained in Siliguri, the location of the closest railhead and airport (the airport is at Bagdogra, 10 miles out of town).

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayas, it borders Nepal in the west, the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north and the east and Bhutan in the southeast.
  • Language: English, Nepali, Tibetan, Limbu, Bhutia, Lepcha
  • Currency: Indian Rupee
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    September to November and April to May. December and January can be bitterly cold.