Places and Sights
Sikkim is an Indian state surrounded by land of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and the Indian state of West Bengal from all the four sides. It is located in the Himalayan Mountains covering an area of 7325 square kilometers, 2818 square miles. Sikkim is hilly having diverse altitude that varies from 300 to 8540 meters but only up to the altitude of 2100m is livable. The rectangular state is second smallest and least populated whose origin theory is common and most conventional theory of the name Sikkim is that it is a blend of two Limbu words: su, and khyim, which means “new” and “palace" or "house" respectively. The name is supposed to be an indication to the palace which was built by Phuntsog Namgyal, the first ruler of the state. The Tibetan name for Sikkim is Drenjong (Wylie-transliteration: ´bras ljongs), which means "valley of rice", whereas the Bhutias call it Beyul Demazong, meaning “the hidden valley of rice". The Lepcha people, who are the original residents of Sikkim, called it Nye-mae-el, meaning "paradise". In the past, Sikkim is known as Indrakil, the garden of the war god Indra. Racially there are three main groups of people: Nepalease, Lepchas and smaller crowd of Bhutias and Limbus and the main languages spoken are Lepcha, Bhutia, Hindi, Nepali, Limbu and English and Buddhism is the major religion in the state that arrived from Tibet in the 13th century. Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are some of the other religions that are followed. Sikkim boasts of Mount Kanchanjunga (8,534 m) which is the third highest peak in the world and or Teesta or Tista is the largest river of Sikkim which divides the state into two parts and also can be called as Ganga of the state of Sikkim. Sikkim has a rich flora and fauna culture and traditions, customs and heritage. Also here are numerous national parks and a number of wildlife sanctuaries that provides a secluded atmosphere for different flora and fauna in the state. The people of Sikkim celebrate all major Indian festivals such as Diwali and Dussera, the popular Hindu festivals. The Buddhist festivals like Losar, Loosong, Saga Dawa, Lhabab Duechen, Drupka Teshi and Bhumchu are also celebrated here and in recent times, Christmas has also been encouraged in Gangtok to attract tourists during the off-season. Possibly Sikkim is one the loveliest and beautiful destinations in India attracting many tourists every year to explore and relish local food, striking Himalayan wildlife, picture-postcard landscapes and some wonderful hikes in the mountains, good souvenirs etc.
Darjeeling is the district headquarters of Darjeeling district, one of the districts of the Indian state of West Bengal, situated at an altitude of around 2,134 m (6,982 ft) covering an area of 11.44 sq.kms. Darjeeling literally means “the land of thunderbolt”. Initially Darjeeling was called Dorjeling and this name was originated from the Tibetan word “Dorje”, meaning the valuable stone or religious scepter, which is representative of the thunderbolt of Indra, and ‘ling’ - a place, consequently its name. Darjeeling can be accessed via air, train and also via road and the best season to visit Darjeeling would be March to mid-June and September to mid-December. Darjeeling is purely a stunning town widely known as the ‘Queen of Hills’, an ideal gateway to be in harmony with the nature- calling upon for visualizations of tranquility, of lively green hills in magnificence, a land of awe-inspiring exquisiteness peaked by the grand Himalayas. Darjeeling boasts of panoramic and snow capped sight of the third highest peak in the world- Mt. Kanchendzonga. This small town comes with huge package consisting of many places of interest and so many things to do. In Darjeeling, you can spot nearly all the tourist attractions located in 3-4 gathers of walking distance. Besides the highlights inside the town, there is abundance of alternatives for trekking along the Himalayan edges on the Indo-Nepal border close to Darjeeling. But Singhalia Ridge Trail is the most popular one. Darjeeling is for sure a Trekker’s paradise. Darjeeling also offers so much to shop around. You will be surprised to discover how shopaholic can you be once you begin to explore around. Darjeeling is a perfect place to dig in for some of the best quality tea. Tea found here are one of the finest and the best quality and are world famous. You just cannot miss to take some back home. Another thing that makes the journey here joyful is the toy train. The ride is surely a worthwhile. Darjeeling is also prominent for its natural beauty, fresh air, and pleasing climate all through the year, rhododendrons, orchids and ferns of numerous varieties and also some British buildings as this place were one ruled by the British. But the major attraction continues to be Darjeeling Himalayan Railway which is a world heritage site. Darjeeling is also popular for good education institutions and many were established during British Empire. Many students from adjoining areas are here seeking an education. There are many festivals taking place all through the year in Darjeeling because it is the home of several different religions like: Hinduism, Buddhism and to some extent also Christianity. Tibetan new year ( Loshar), Dalai lama’s birthday celebration, Orange festival, Buddha Jayanti are few important festivals celebrated with great pleasure. Over the years, this place has managed to attract many travelers giving them an experience to cherish a lifetime and no one can visit Darjeeling just once, people do find time even in their busy schedule to visit this place time and again. Visit to this place would never disappoint you.