The smallest Indian state of Sikkim is also one of the most fascinating places to visit in India for several reasons. From its food, lifestyle, and occupation to the people, architecture, and religion, everything about this place emotes peace, serenity, and a feeling of immense gratitude. The inhabitants of Sikkim are generally referred to as the ‘Sikkimese’ people but the region is also inhabited and shared in harmony with 3 different tribes namely Lepchas, Bhutias, and the Nepalese. Every community’s or tribe’s belief here has been very well preserved over the centuries and exists peacefully.
With changing times and persistent modernism Sikkim has attracted a lot of different peoples as well especially from the neighboring regions. These include Biharis, Punjabis, and Bengalis, etc. It has now turned into a colorful and vibrant melting pot of various cultures of India in one place. With all the modernization in the world the core belief system of Sikkim remains alive through their folk songs, dances, theatrical performances, and more. Every step of the way one will be experiencing some interesting thing or the other in this Pandora box of a place and you shall be leaving with a lifetime worth of memories. Anywhere you go here you shall be greeted with fun-filled adventures.
However, here are a few things that you should know about Sikkim:
Culture of Sikkim
The cultural heritage of Sikkim is extremely rich and consists of a blend of various different traditions, customs, and religions of all the inhabitants. The people of Sikkim are generally characterized to be warm, welcoming, helpful, and very hospitable by nature. The people here speak various languages along with Hindi and English which bodes well for their reputation as a welcoming host for travelers from different parts of the world. People here celebrate even the smallest festivals and fairs with great excitement, enthusiasm, and vigor. If you happen to travel to Sikkim during one of their festivals then do not miss out on the social gatherings that showcase the wonderful culture here. The earliest inhabitants here who are referred to as Lepchas practice Buddhism and Christianity but other than this the religions practised here cannot be listed out since there are so many. The settlements you will observe are very small, cozy, and tiny on the inside and they can be seen standing on stilts that raises the hut around 5 feet above the ground. They truly believe in the saying ‘simple living and high thinking’.
Customs And Traditions Of Sikkim
As mentioned above the entire hill state of this beautiful land is host to innumerable tribes, communities, and groups who have preserved their culture, customs, and traditions since long. They have managed to create a peaceful and loving environment since they are very cooperative, respectful, and cooperative with each other. Some common customs shared here are the facts that during some ceremonial occasion or a religious festival the temples monks make sure to cover their faces with large animated and vibrantly colored masks (as you may have seen in pictures), sparkling sword and chunky large jewelry while dancing in rhythmic motions to the sound of drums and trumpet sound of the horns. One of the primary religions followed by the people of Sikkim follows the Mahayana sect of Buddhism and celebrates the Saga Dawa in a grand manner. Monks going around the city of Gangtok reciting various holy teachings and scriptures is a common phenomenon here. People also consider mount Khangchendzonga as a guard to the hill state of the entire Sikkim and in this honor the festival of Phang Lhabsol is celebrated. As a part of another ritual and tradition on every 28th and 29th day of the month the traditional folk Kagyat dance performance takes place, and these days are decided as per the Tibetan calendar. Some commonly celebrated festivals here that are experienced in unison include Yuma Sam Manghim, Namsoong, Losoong, Tendong Lho Rum Fat, and many more. As a part of the tradition married Bhutiya tribal women wear a piece of cloth around their waist signifying their marital status.
Food of Sikkim
Sikkimese food consists of a diverse range of Flavours just like being a multi-ethnic combination of people and beliefs. This diversity is showcased through the delicious collection of food presented here. Once in Sikkim, one can find a plethora of food selection here including Indian, Nepalese, Bhutanese and Tibetan which mainly consists of food items like noodles, Sinki Soup, Gundruk, Tomato Pickle, Fermented Soybean, Bamboo Shoot Dish, fermented rice products and so many more that the list would go on and on. Rice is a staple food grown and found in large numbers locally. If you’re wondering then one must know that the food here is fermented to increase its shelf and storage life owing to the cold winter months when food availability is scarce.
When it comes to non-vegetarian food items people here love to indulge in eating fish, pork and beef which is also very widely available in local Dhabas, restaurants, and markets. Items like Momos and dumplings are also extremely famous in this region and can be found literally anywhere and in any vegetarian or non-vegetarian combinations. Drinking in Sikkim is a very informal way of life and has no stigma attached to it as compared to the plains. People prefer drinking locally prepared rice beer, rum to keep them warm in higher reaches and whiskey.