Sikkim

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'bras mo ljongs
འབྲས་མོ་ལྗོངས་
सिक्किम

Density

76.17 /km2 (197 /sq mi)

Sikkim (Lepcha: Mayel Lyang; Limbu: Yuksom, one of the fortified place;[1] Standard Tibetan: འབྲས་ལྗོངས་, bras ljongs; Denzong;[2] Demojongs; Nepali: About this sound सिक्किम , i.e. the Goodly Region, or Shikim, Shikimpati or Sikkim of the English and Indians…[3]) is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayas. It is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa.[4] This thumb-shaped state borders Nepal in the west, the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China to the north and the east and Bhutan in the southeast. The Indian state of West Bengal borders Sikkim to its south.[5] Despite its small area of 7,096 km2 (2,740 sq mi), Sikkim is geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas. The climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine. Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, is located on the border of Sikkim with Nepal.[6] Sikkim is a popular tourist destination owing to its culture, scenic beauty and biodiversity.

Legend has it that the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche visited Sikkim in the 9th century, introduced Buddhism and foretold the era of the monarchy. Indeed, the Namgyal dynasty was established in 1642. Over the next 150 years, the kingdom witnessed frequent raids and territorial losses to Nepalese invaders. It allied itself with the British rulers of India but was soon annexed by them. Later, Sikkim became a British protectorate and merged with India following a referendum in 1975.

Sikkim has 11 official languages: Nepali (lingua franca), Bhutia, Lepcha (since 1977), Limbu (since 1981), Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Tamang (since 1995) and Sunwar (since 1996).[7] English is taught at schools and used in government documents. It is the only state in India with an ethnic Nepalese majority. The predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Gangtok is the capital and the largest town. Sikkim has a booming economy dependent on agriculture and tourism, and has the only open border between India and China.

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