Culture of Sikkim – The people of Sikkim are very warm, friendly and sweet. They celebrate even the small festivals with equal love and devotion. Traditional music and dance forms an important of the local festival and celebration in Sikkim. People of various communities live together in Sikkim still maintaining a unique identity of there traditional religion. There are various other languages spoken in Sikkim like Hindi and English apart from traditional Sikkimese language. Know more about culture of Sikkim here.
Archery in Sikkim : A popular sport of the Sikkimese, archery is traditionally, played after the harvests. This was the unique way for the villagers to assemble at a place and enjoy during the period of inactivity. This ancient sport of the region has seen a recent revival to rejuvenate the cultural identity of the region.
Cuisine of Sikkim : The food pattern in Sikkim is not limited to either vegetarian or non vegetarian as both are easily available here. One can relish Indian, Tibetan and Chinese cuisines at Sikkim with a very limited range of continental cuisine also available. A wide array of local fare is available in Sikkim that proves to be a gourmet’s real delight. Traditional Momos and Thukpa are found everywhere and taste great.
Dances of Sikkim : With the total, population of Sikkim categorized into three major groups namely the Lepchas, Bhutias and the Nepalis; the state automatically becomes a multicultural one. Each of this community has its own language, culture and dances.
Archery in Sikkim
Archery in Sikkim – A popular sport of the Sikkimese, archery is traditionally, played after the harvests. This was the unique way for the villagers to assemble at a place and enjoy during the period of inactivity. This ancient sport of the region has seen a recent revival to rejuvenate the cultural identity of the region.
The players of the game or the archers wear a traditional dress termed kho. A small wooden target measuring 3 by1 feet lying at a distance of 130 meters is to be shot. Given the small size of the target and the huge distance, only 10% of arrows hit the mark.
A tint of spice is further added to the sport by wreaking verbal abuse on the opponents taking aim. This is done to confuse them through humiliation. Though restricted to male participants, this sport yet finds an immaculate participation of Bhutia women. Having mastered the skill of sleighing, the latter target such vulgar insinuations at the opponent archers that even the most rational and pragmatic people also start blushing. Some of the brave women even go to the extent of crouching in front of the target to deviate the attention of the archer.
Though started as a measure for having some light-hearted fun, the sport is popularly gaining serious grounds in the state. On a more serious note, some villagers even make a quick trip to the near by temples for invoking a divine intervention to overcome defeat. In some villages, a ritual of burying the effigies of the opponents is also practiced as that is believed as an inflictor of bad luck to the opponent.
Cuisine of Sikkim
Cuisines of Sikkim – The food pattern in Sikkim is not limited to either vegetarian or non vegetarian as both are easily available here. One can relish Indian, Tibetan and Chinese cuisines at Sikkim with a very limited range of continental cuisine also available. A wide array of local fare is available in Sikkim that proves to be a gourmet’s real delight. Traditional Momos and Thukpa are found everywhere and taste great. There are several good reaturants in Sikkim that specialize these traditional delicacies. Cafe Tibet at Gangtok is an ideal fast food joint.
If you are going to the Northern part of Sikkim, you will have a very limited choice of dishes owing to the remoteness of the region. Especially at Lachung, Yumthang and Lachen, the eating houses cater to the food habits of local people only. But at Pelling, you can relish delectable delicacies at Hotel Sikkim Tourist Centre and Hotel Norbugang.
Dances of Sikkim
Dances of Sikkim – With the total, population of Sikkim categorized into three major groups namely the Lepchas, Bhutias and the Nepalis; the state automatically becomes a multicultural one. Each of this community has its own language, culture and dances. Lepcha, the earliest inhabitants of the land have the following set of dances to be performed on religious or family functions.
Chu Faat Dance
Mount Khangchenjunga, the life force of the state is honored by the people of Lepcha community in the form of this dance. The mount along with four of its associate peaks namely Mt. Pandim, Mt. Kabru, Mt. Simbrum and Mt. Narshing is revered via this age old dance. Believed to be the warehouse of five hidden treasures like Salt, Medicine, Minerals, Sacred books and Food grains, these snowy peaks are honored by the dancers carrying butter lamps and green bamboo leaves. Performed on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the Northern Buddhist calendar, this ritualistic annual feature is accompanied by devotional songs.
Another famous dance of the community is the Sikmari Dance which is a customary one. Youth of the state presents this dance to celebrate both love and nature of the region.
The Bhutia community of Sikkim has the following set of dances :
Also known as the Snow Lion Dance, this dance pays homage to the sacred Mount Khangchendezonga and its four associate peaks. These peaks together resemble a legendary snow lion, an important cultural symbol of Sikkim.
This is a dance performed by the Bhutias to honor Yak, an animal they are dependent upon for survival. Depicting the yak, this dance projects the simple life style of the herdsman in the mountains.
Denzong Gnenha is another popular dance form of the Bhutias that depicts their astute faith in their gods and gurus along with the peaceful and joyous nature of the community. Bhutias invoke good fortune and prosperity to bothe themselves and their land by performing the Tashi Yangku dance. Nepalis of Sikkim are the Nepali refugees of the land who have the following dances.
As the very name implies, Khukuri is a symbol of bravery. Thus, a warrior dance that Khukuri Naach is, it is performed to give a religious touch to the sending off of the soldiers going to the battle. These warriors are also given a Khukuri to be carried with them as it signifies victory.
Maruni dance is the oldest and most popular one of the Nepalis. Though associated with the Tihar festival, it has now come to be performed on family occasions like marriages. Commemorating the victory of good over evil, the dancers in this dance are dressed in colorful costumes and magnificent ornaments. Accompanied by “Dhatu Waray” or a clown, the dancers visit the nearby houses. A nine instrument orchestra known as “Naumati Baja” also accompanies them at times.
Chutkey Naach is another very popular folk form of the Nepalis. Young boys and girls usually perform this dance in the open air during harvest, local fairs and festivals.
Sikkim Tourist Attractions
The tourists thronging the culturally and biologically rich state of Sikkim can include the following famous destinations in their tour itinerary.
Government Institute of Cottage Industry A store house of authentic Sikkimese arts and handicrafts, the Government Institute of Cottage Industries was started during the time of the Chogyals of Sikkim. The institute producing and exhibiting beautiful souvenirs such as Carpets, Hand Carved Tables or Choktses, Traditional Handicrafts, Furniture and hand loomed carpets has gradually become one of the most sought after tourist attraction of Sikkim.
Do-Drul Chorten (Stupa) Built by Trulshi Rimpoche, the head ruler of Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism school of thought, in 1945, Do-Drul Chorten or Stupa is another famous tourist attraction at Sikkim. One of the most attractive stupas of Sikkim having 108 prayer wheels, Do Drul Chorten is a store house of Mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba (Bajra Kilaya), a set of Kan-Gyur relics, ‘Zung’ (mantras) and some other religious paraphernalia. Colossal statues of Guru Padmasambhava are also present in the chorten.
Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology is a nationally renowned centre of Tibetan Studies & Research. Popular for its vast collection of rare Buddhist books, manuscripts and more than 200 Buddhist icons, the institute is located about a kilometer downhill from the main market of Gangtok. Surrounded by small forests of oak, magnolia and birch trees, this building is a rare example of Tibetan architecture. The institute is also home to several rare religious works of art and amazingly executed silk embroidered Thangkas.
Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden Located at an altitude ranging between1800 meters to 2200 meters, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden of Gangtok is 24 kms from the capital city. Established in the year 1987, the garden is characterized by lush forest of Oak and more than 50 different kinds of trees.
International Flower Festival:
A flower show of different varieties of flowers, orchids and other rare plants in Sikkim is very popular among tourist which held every summer during the peak flowering season. This spectacular event attracts people from all over the country.
The beautiful state of Sikkim, famous for its flora which is in full bloom during March-May offers around 600 species of orchids, 240 species of trees, 150 varieties of gladioli, 46 types of rhododendrons along with a variety of magnolias and many other foliage plants. Orchids, Gladioli, Roses, Cacti, Alpine Plants, Creepers, Climbers, Ferns and Herbs are the main flowers which displays in the flower show. Seminars and lectures organized by experts also can be attained in the show.