Sikkim, Sikkim Tours, Sikkim Travel

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Places to Visit in Sikkim

Sikkim Places

Tibetology Inst.
The Ridge
Tashi View Point
Changu Lake

 People of Sikkim

About People of Sikkim

The culture, religion, customs and traditions of different communities of people living in Sikkim constitute a homogeneous blend. These three communities are the Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalis. In urban areas many people have settled which are engaged in business and government services. Due to the development activities in the state like the construction of roads, bridges and buildings various laborers migrated from the plains and Nepal.

The Lepchas

The Lepchas were the original inhabitants of Sikkim before the Bhutias and Nepalis. The word 'Leppcha' means the ravine folk. These people mostly live on agriculture of paddy, cardamom and oranges. The Lepchas are predominantly the Buddhists but many of them are also Christians. But before adopting Buddhism or Christianity as their religion, the earliest Lepcha settlers believe in the bone faith or mune faith based on the spirits, good and bad. They worshipped spirits of mountains, rivers and forests which was very natural for a tribe during those days. Today, the Lepchas resides in the central part of the Sikkim. The Lepcha folklore is rich with stories. The villages of the Lepchas are very small. A Lepcha hut is usually made of bamboo and is raised about five feet above the ground on stilts. There are just a couple of rooms with only small minimum essential requirements of life. The male Lepcha wears a dress called a "pagi" made of cotton, which is stripped. The female Lepcha wears a two piece dress. The Lepchas speak the Lepcha language. This language is not very well developed but is very rich in vocabulary and related to the flora and fauna of Sikkim. Hunting of the wild animals and fishing are the main occupation of the Lepcha people. The Lepcha people are also very good at archery. The polyandry marriages are permitted amongst the Lepchas, but now this is very rare. Nowadays, the government also feels protective towards the Lepchas.

The Bhutias

The Bhutias originally belongs to the Tibet. These people migrated to Sikkim after the 15th century and settled in North Sikkim. These people are known as the Lachenpas and Lachungpas in the North Sikkim. The Bhutias speak the Sikkimese language, a dialect of the Tibetan language. Bhutias constitute about ten percent of the total population of Sikkim. The villages of Bhutia are very large as compared to those of Lepchas. A Bhutia house called "Khin" is usually in the shape of a rectangle. The male Bhutia wears a traditional dress known as the "Bakhu" which is a loose cloak type garment with full sleeves. The ladies wears a silken "Honju" that is a full sleeve blouse and a loose gown type garment. The ladies are very fond of heavy jewellery made of pure gold. The marriage in a Bhutia family is also arranged through negotiations. Before the marriage, the boy's uncle goes to the girl's house with gifts to ask for the hand in marriage for his nephew.

The Nepalis

The Nepalis are third type of people that live in Sikkim after the Bhutias. They migrated in large numbers in Sikkim after the Lepchas and Bhutias. Today, the Nepalis constitute more than 80 % of the total population of Sikkim. The Nepalis introduced the terraced system of cultivation and the cardomom was an important cash crop introduced by them. Some of the Nepalis are the Hindus except the Sherpas and Tamangs who are Buddhists. The business class people of Nepalis are known as Newars. The Nepalis speak the Nepali language, which is understood by the people all over the state. This language is similar to Hindi and uses the Devanagri script. The male Nepali wears a traditional dress that consists of long double breast garment flowing below the waist and a trouser known as "Daura Suruwal". The female wears a dress that consist of a double breasted garment, which is known as "Chow Bandi Choli". They also wear a shawl known as "Majetro".

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