History

Sikkim is a beautiful state in the periphery of India. Nothing substantial has been known regarding the history of Sikkim, still this article will try to capture a gist of the origin of Sikkim. It is believed that 'Lepchas' or rong (ravine folk) were the first inhabitants of Sikkim. Later, the 'lepchas' got engrossed with other clans. In the 9th century, Guru Rinpoche, a Buddhist saint, happened to pass through the lands of Sikkim. The monk sanctified the land and introduced the religion of Buddhism to Sikkim. He also prognosticated that the state would be ruled by the monarchs in the later centuries.

During the 13th century, Guru Tashi, who was a prince of Mi-nyak House in Kham of Eastern Tibet, came in the Chumbi Valley of Sikkim and settled down. The Sikkim Coronation Bank depicts Guru Tashi to be the ''first ruler of Sikkim who made way for a regular monarchy'. The descendents of Guru Tashi learned the local culture and made good relations with the 'Lepchas' clan. Owing to these relations, the grandson of Guru Tashi became the chieftain of Sikkim.

In early 17th century, the Tibetans migrated to Sikkim and the 'lepchas' were enforced to leave their abodes. In the interim, the struggle between the followers of the "Yellow Hats" and the "Red Hats" cropped up in Tibet. The followers of the "Red Hats" were forced to hunt for shelter in Sikkim. In 1642, Phuntsog Namgyal (the fifth generation descendant of Guru Tashi) was made as the first Denjong Gyalpo or the Chogyal (king) of Sikkim by the three great Lama immigrants. Phuntsog Namgyal shifted his capital to Yuksam and formed a centralized government. Tensung Namgyal, the son of Phuntsog, acquired the throne in 1670 and shifted the capital to Rabdentse. During the whole period of reign, Sikkim underwent various reforms and with the arrival of Tenzing Namgyal, the rule came to an end. With the onset of the British rule in India, Sikkim became a puppet state. When the British were thrown out, Sikkim emerged to be an independent state in India. After much controversies and disputes among countries like Nepal, China and India, Sikkim was officially declared to be the 22nd Indian state in 1975.

People and Culture

Originally Sikkim is the home of Lepcha. The literal meaning of Sikkim is Lepcha-Hut. They were in Sikkim from the ancient times. Around 70% of population is Nepali commuinity in Sikkim. They migrated here several centuries ago from Nepal. So in presents Nepali has became emerging population. Bhutias is the tribal community who migrated from Tibet and built their first monastry in West Sikkim "DUBDI MONASTRY" around 200yrs ago. So their are bascially three community in Sikkim.

The Lepchas

The Lepchas are considered the indigenous people of Sikkim and have inhabited Sikkim long before the migration of Bhutias and Nepalese. Lepchas are concentrated in the central part of Sikkim. Lachen, Lachung River and Dickchu are the prominent places of Lepchas. Constituting approx 13% of the total population of Sikkim, The Lepchas have a very simple lifestyle. The males wear a dress known as 'Pagi', a cotton dress in strips. The females sport a two piece dress. They speak 'lepcha' language, which is not very popular in the state. The original Lepchas were believers of the bone faith or mune faith. The faith was essentially based on spirits, good and bad. They used to worship spirits of mountains, rivers and forests. Perhaps, this could be the reason why these people prefer to live in the healthy natural world.

The Bhutias

Constituting around 16% of the total population of Sikkim, the Bhutias are people of Tibetan origin who migrated to Sikkim after the 15th century. The northern part of Sikkim is basically inhabited by the Bhutias. These people speak 'Sikkimese' language. The males wear a dress known as 'Bakhu', which is actually a loose cloak form garment with full sleeves. The females wear a silken 'Honju' that is a full sleeve blouse with a loose gown type garment. The Bhutia ladies love wearing heavy jewelry made of pure gold. Sikkim has its religion incorporated with Bhutias. Bhutias regard priesthood as their academic as well as spiritual choice.

The Nepalese

In Sikkim, the Nepalese came long after the Lepchas and Bhutias. They migrated to Sikkim in huge numbers and rapidly, emerged as the leading community. In the present day, the Nepalese constitute 67% of the total population of Sikkim. These people commenced terrace farming in the state. The Nepalese are sub-divided into various castes and tribes like Bawans (Brahmans), Chhetries, Gurungs, Tamangs, Rais, Limbus, Magars, Damais, Kamis etc. The majority of their population follows Hinduism, whereas Buddhism is also practiced by some groups. The traditional Nepali dress for males comprises a long double breasted garment flowing below the waist along with a trouser known as 'Daura Suruwal'. The traditional dress for females comprises of a double breasted garment known as 'Chow Bandi Choli'. The shawl wore by them is known as 'Majetro'. 'Khukri' is a heavy weapon that is carried in a wooden or leather case known as "Daab".