Ride of My Life

Sikkim, also know as ‘The Last Utopia’ has been given many names. The Lepchas, original inhabitants of the land called it Nye-mae-el `paradise'. The Limbus named it Su Khim or `new house' while to the Bhutias it was Beymul Demazong `the hidden valley of rice'.


The original inhabitants of Sikkim were the ‘Lepcha’ tribe. In addition to these Bhutia and Nepali communities of different hues intermingle freely in Sikkim to constitute a homogenous blend. Hindu Temples coexist with Buddhist Monasteries, Churches, Mosque, and Gurudwara. The predominant Communities are Lepchas, Bhutias, and Nepalese. These myriad Cultures has produced a quintessential Sikkimese Culture that encompasses all ways and walks of life but has also managed to preserve their own identity. These can also be seen in the various places of Worship, Festivals and Cultural dances that are celebrated through the year.


Sikkim is a land of dramatic contours. Rugged mountains, deep valleys and dense forests consort with raging rivers, lakes and waterfalls to create a visual feast. The state has the steepest rise in altitude over the shortest distance and has within its 7,096 sq. kms the entire climatic range, from tropical to temperate to alpine.

Located between these towering mountain ranges are passes like Nathu-la, Jelep-la, Cho-la and many others which were at one time important corridors of passage between Sikkim and Tibet.

Floating high over the cloud-covered lower Himalaya, Mt. Khangchendzonga dominates the landscape of Sikkim. At 28, 208 ft is the third highest mountain in the world and the highest in India.


Sikkim’s geographical location with its altitudinal variation allows it to have tropical, temperate and alpine climatic conditions within its small area of 7,096 kms.

Temperature conditions vary from subtropical in the southern lower parts to cold deserts in the snowy north. Rainfall is heavy and well distributed during the months from May to early October.

Biting cold is experienced at higher altitudes of 10,000 ft plus. The temperature rarely rises above 15-degree centigrade and heavy snowfall occurs during the winter months. Some also receive snowfall during April or mid-November.


The flora consist of oak, chestnut, maple, birch, alder, magnolia and silver fir. There are about 35 species of Rhododendrons (declared as the state tree of Sikkim) in Sikkim and are found above the height of 10,000 feet. The state’ orchids are world-famous as the state has 556 species of them.

Fauna includes Yak, Himalayan Bear, Red Panda, Blood Pheasant and Blue Sheep. In the arid cold alpine regions of Sikkim, roam the snow leopard and wild ass.