History and Origin of Sikkim

Lepchas are known to be the earliest inhabitants of this land. Originating from Mayel, a legendary kingdom on the slopes of Khangchendzonga, Lepchas were food gathering people. Getting all their eating needs fulfilled from nature, they lived in close harmony with it. Better known as Rong Pa or Mutanchi, they were the most beloved children of Mother Earth.

There is a very famous legend attached to the rule of Lepchas in Sikkim. It is said that the Khey Bumsa couple of Minyak dynasty of Tibet could not have any children for many years. They were advised by people to seek the blessings of contemporary Lepcha King Thekong Thek, possessing prophetic powers. Khey Bumsa went to the king who prophesized that Bumsa will be blessed with three children instead of one. Three sons were born to Khey Bumsa in due course of time. Feeling highly gratified to the king, Khey Bumsa swore blood brotherhood to the king and signed the same in blood at Khabe Longstok. This swerves as a base of the traditional Lepcha-Bhutia ruling alliance at Sikkim.

Lepchas used to call Sikkim as Nelyang or ‘The place of caves’. They also referred to the land sometimes as Myel Lyang, meaning “The Land of Hidden Paradise or the Delightful Region.” Another tribe named the Bhutias called it Beyul Demazong or “The Hidden Valley of Rice.” Folklore attached to the name of this place relates to its first ruler Tensung Namgyal. It is believed that Namgyal married three wives, a Tibetan, a Bhutanese and a Limbu girl. Third wife of his was the daughter of Limbu Chief. She thus brought seven maidens with her who were married into leading families of Sikkim. These Limbu maidens used to refer to the place as ‘Sukhim’ or “bride’s new house.” Later on, the Nepalis coming to Sikkim found themselves unable to relate to Limbu pronouncement and thus corrupted the name to Sukkhim which underwent further distortion under British rule and became Sikkim.

The Namgyal dynasty is supposed to have ruled over Sikkim for about 332 years. But some border disputes with Tibet occurred in due course of time. East India Company acquired the Southern borders and territories of Darjeeling district in 1817. Later on in 1880s Sikkim had to surrender its rights to Chumbi Valley to Tibeto- Chinese authorities.

It was only after the Treaty of Sigoli, that Sikkim acquired the status of an independent province. It was added to India as an associate State in 1975 and gradually attained full Statehood. Thus the cumbersome monarchy was brought to an end in Sikkim.