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North Sikkim District

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About the North Sikkim district

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Brief About North Sikkim District
Origin of Name: Sikkim (or Sikhim) means crested land in Nepali. The term, which was coined by the invading Gorkhas, is derived from the Sanskrit word Shikhim which means "crested", and is the most widely accepted origin. Sikkim would thus owe its name to its almost entirely mountainous terrain. An alternative etymology suggests that the name originates in the Limbu words Su, which means "new", and Khyim, which means "palace". Hence the term Sikkim may also mean "New Palace", in reference to the palace built by the state's first ruler, Panchen Namgyal. The Tibetan name for Sikkim is 'Bras mo ljongs, which means the "valley of rice".

History : The earliest recorded event related to Sikkim is the passage of the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche through the land in the 8th century. The Guru is reported to have blessed the land, introduced Buddhism to Sikkim, and foretold the era of monarchy in the state that would arrive centuries later. In the 14th century, according to legend, Khye Bumsa, a prince from the Minyak House in Kham in Eastern Tibet, had a divine revelation one night instructing him to travel south to seek his fortunes. His descendants were later to form the royal family of Sikkim. In 1642, the fifth generation descendant of Khye Bumsa, Phuntsog Namgyal, was consecrated as the first Chogyal (king) of Sikkim by the three venerated Lamas who came from the north, west, and south to Yuksom, marking the beginning of the monarchy. Flag of the former monarchy of Sikkim.Phuntsog Namgyal was succeeded in 1670 by his son, Tensung Namgyal, who moved the capital from Yuksom to Rabdentse. In 1700, Sikkim was invaded by the Bhutanese with the help of the half-sister of the Chogyal, who had been denied the throne. The Bhutanese were driven away by the Tibetans, who restored the throne to the Chogyal ten years later. Between 1717 and 1733, the kingdom faced many raids by the Nepalese in the west and Bhutanese in the east, culminating with the destruction of the capital Rabdentse by the Nepalese.

Geology : The hills of Sikkim mainly consist of gneissose and half-schistose rocks, making their soil brown clay, and generally poor and shallow. The soil is coarse, with large amounts of iron oxide concentrations, ranging from neutral to acidic and has poor organic and mineral nutrients. This type of soil tends to support evergreen and deciduous forests. A large portion of the Sikkim territory is covered by the Precambrian rock and is much younger in age than the hills. The rock consists of phyllites and schists and therefore the slopes are highly susceptible to weathering and prone to erosion. This, combined with the intense rain, causes extensive soil erosion and heavy loss of soil nutrients through leaching. As a result, landslides are frequent, isolating the numerous small towns and villages from the major urban centres.

Climate : The climate ranges from sub-tropical in the south to tundra in the northern parts. Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim, however, enjoy a temperate climate, with the temperatures seldom exceeding 28 °C (82 °F) in summer or dropping below 0 °C (32 °F) in winter. The state enjoys five seasons: winter, summer, spring, and autumn, and a monsoon season between June and September. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 °C (64 °F). Sikkim is one of the few states in India to receive regular snowfall. The snow line is around 6,000 metres (19,600 feet). During the monsoon months, the state is lashed by heavy rains that increase the number of landslides. The state record for the longest period of non-stop rain is eleven days. In the northern region, because of high altitude, temperatures drop below -40 °C in winter. Fog also affects many parts of the state during winter and the monsoons, making transportation extremely perilous.

North Sikkim : is a district of the Indian state of Sikkim. Its capital is Mangan. It is the largest of the four districts of Sikkim. The people are mainly of Nepali descent. Other ethnic groups include the Lepcha and Bhutia communities. Nepali is the most widely spoken language in the district. It also has one of the lowest populated regions of the state. The region has many power projects and enjoys almost uninterrupted electricity. Roads however, are in a poor condition owing to the frequent landslides. Most of North Sikkim is restricted to travellers and permits are needed to visit these areas. The area, which shares a sensitive border with the People's Republic of China is heavily patrolled by the Indian army. Most of the people of the state reside near Mangan, the district headquarters which is about 2,000 feet above sea level. Further north the elevation increases with the vegetation turning from temperate to alpine to tundra. Temperatures range from about 25° to below -40° in the extreme high reaches where the altitude is in excess of 6,000 metres. Kanchenjanga is the highest peak at over 8,000 m, straddling its eastern border with Nepal.

PLACES in North Sikkim

Kabi Longstok
Twenty kilometers on the way to North Sikkim, before Phodong, is Kabi Longstok, where the treaty of brotherhood between the Lepcha Chieftain-Tekong Tek and the Tibetan Chief Khye Bumbsa was signed. The spot where the treaty was signed is marked by a memorial stone and is seen on the left side of the road while traveling from Gangtok to Mangan
It is a small town with around ten shops and few hotels almost on the middle of the Gangtok-Mangan journey. A police outpost, a senior secondary school, Jawar Navodya Bhidhayala and a physical health center are near by.
Phodong Monastry
Phodong Monastry belonging to Kargyupa Sect(karmapa), is situated about a kilometer uphill by a jeepable road that bifurcates from the north Sikkim highway a little bit ahead of Phodong towards Mangan. The monastry was built by the Chogyal Gyurmed Namgyal somewhere in the first quarter of the eighteenth century. The main annual Puja (worship) is performed on the 28th and 29th day of the tenth month of the Tibetan calendar when the religious Chaams or the dances are also performed
Labrang Monastry. Another Kilometer uphill from the Phodong Monastry on the same jeeepable road is the Labrang Monastry which was built about one hundred years later then Phodong Monastry but belongs to the Nyingmapa sect.
Ruins of Tumlong Palace.
The capital of Sikkim was shifted from Rabdanste to Tumlong in the beginning of neneteenth century. It is the fourth capital of Sikkim and remained capital for around ninety years. The ruins of the palace of Maharaja is seen just below the road between Phodong Monastry and Labrang Monastry
Mangan Mangan
is the capital of North Sikkim. It is 65 kilometers from Gangtok. It lies at an altitude of 3950 ft. .The Bazar(market) with around fifty different types of shops is situated on the north sikkim highway. The district collectorate where the district collector and other government department function is situated around two kilometers uphill from market at a place called Pentok and is approached by a link road. On the sides of this link road while traveling towards Pentok lies a public ground and Mangan Senior Secondary School. Just opposite to Mangan, separated by river Teesta, is seen a sloppy villages namely Lingdong, Barfok, Hee-Gyathang falling under Dzongu area. From the Pentok area, the picturesque view of mount Silnoulchu (a Range of mount Kanchendzonga) is also seen.
Singhik ViewPoint
Singhik is situated four kilometers away from Mangan towards the north. It has few shops on the roadside and a junior high school. The view point lies just on the road side from where is seen a very picturesque view of mount Silnoulchu . Right downwards from the viewpoint is seen the confluence of River Teesta and River Kanaka. Other sorrounding places too look very beautiful from the viewpoint. A nice and clean guesthouse, suitable for a night halt is also available near by
Chunghthang is 30 kilometers away from Mangan further north. It is around 95 kilometers away from Gangtok. It is a small town on the way to Yumthang surrounded by high mountains that seem to be almost touching the sky. At an altitude of about 5,600 ft, Chungthang lies at the confluence of the Lachen Chu (Teesta) and the Lachung Chu {“ Chu” means river in bhutia language}. The north Sikkim highway bifurcates here to take different routes for Lachen and Lachung. Spot of interest in Chungthang is a legendary rock having an imprint which is believed to be the foot mark of Guru Padmasambha. There is a small opening in the rock which remains filled with spring water. Adjacent to the rock there is a small stretch of paddy field defying the condition that demands the growth of paddy in this area.
Yumthang Valley & Hot Spring.
Situated at an altitude of 12000 ft., Yumthang is a valley between the snow clad hills all around. It is around 75 kilometers from district headquarter, Mangan and around 95 kilometers from Gangtok. The route to Yumthang from Lachung-adjoining the Singba Forest Reserve has a very picturesque landscape and is lined with rhododendrons that bloom in different colour at their best during the month of May. The natural scenic beauty around Yumthang, look very much similar to that of Switzerland. The valley has a grassy plane area in the middle, a river on the side and a forest Dak Bunglo (Guest House), surrounded all sides by snow clad mountains. It is a big fun over here playing with the snow and throwing it at each other.

Before entering the valley a small pedestrian road goes through a small bridge right way which connects the Yumthang Hot Spring. Hot water rich in sulphur, emanates from a small spring and is diverted inside a hut where two pools are made for the bathers. In such a cold place, it is a very pleasant experience to bath in the water, which is so hot in its natural form.


A majority of population of North Sikkim comprises of Bhutias, Lepchas and less number of Nepalis. The Lepchas are predominantly concentrated in the Dzongu Areas, Bhutias are seen from Kabi-Tingda to Lachen-Lachung. Nepalies are found mixed up around Phodong, Mangshila and Mangan. Bhutias and Lepchas are usually Bhuddist and Nepalis are Hindus, whereas around 1 % of populations from all tribes have lately converted to Christians.


Though North sikkim geographically comprises of 75 % of Sikkim, because of very less population of the district, the total area is dived into only three Assembly Constituencies- namely Lachen-Mangshila which covers the area from Lachen to Mangshila, Kiba-Tingda which ranges from east district boarder to Phodong and Dzongu-Lying in the south-west boarder. The first election to these constituencies were held in 1974 and the list of elected MLAs since then