History & Culture in Sikkim

History of Sikkim
The history of Sikkim comprises interesting stories of ups and downs, of strong and weak leaders, and of battles between many races.

Sikkim, the name of the state originated from the words su him – which means new house. The early inhabitants of this region known as Lepcha, assimilated with the other tribes such as Mon, Chang, and Naong. The Bhutia’s began to enter this area during the 14th century. In the year 1642, the Kingdom of Sikkim was created, wherein Phuntsog Namgyal, the first chogyal (spiritual and temporal king), was from the Bhutia community. The Namgyal dynasty ruled Sikkim for a long time till the year 1975. 

During the mid-18th century, there were many territorial wars between Sikkim and both with Nepal and Bhutan. Nepal was victorious to occupy few parts of western and southern Sikkim. It was during this time when a huge number of Nepalese migrated to Sikkim. During the year 1816, Sikkim supported the British in the Anglo-Nepalese War By this time, the power of the Chogyals reduced as British rule came into place. In the year 1890, Sikkim became a protectorate state under British rule. According to this Sikkim will be a buffer between British India and China, and would be under the jurisdiction and control of the British. The East India Company captured Darjeeling, which was initially a part of Sikkim. This move by them was certainly not acceptable to the Sikkimese people. The Namgyal dynasty did try to discuss this issue with the British people. After a long struggle, the British acknowledged Sikkim as the princely state under the rule of the Namgyal dynasty. But the control of the state was still with the East India Company. 

When India got independence in the year 1947, many political parties were formed in Sikkim. During this time, Sikkim was still under the rule of the Namgyal dynasty. In the year 1950, the Indo-Sikkimese treaty was signed, wherein it became a protectorate state of India under the rule of this dynasty. Palden Thondup Namgyal was the last monarch of the state when it started to lose control over the people of Sikkim. The new political parties formed began to surpass the clergy and the Buddhist monarchy. The royalty of the Namgyal dynasty began to fade, and eventually, the Indian administration took over the state. Sikkim became the official state of India in the year 1975, under the rule of Indira Gandhi. 

Sikkim state has a quite vast history and this can be observed in many historical places in Sikkim such as Coronation Throne of Norbugang, Rabdentse, and others. 

Culture of Sikkim
The state of Sikkim is a classic example of the amalgamation of different traditions, religions, and customs of different communities. Since ancient times, the state has been occupied by three major tribes, namely, the Bhutias, the Lepchas, and the Nepalese. Even though people from other states would have migrated here but the state has still retained its uniqueness. 

The culture and tradition of Sikkim are like a colorful bouquets adorned with traditions, folk dances, and customs of various tribes. The myriad cultures of Sikkim can be reflected in their places of worship, cultural dances, and festivals. As per the Sikkimese culture, Nature is considered as God. This is proven by the lush greenery, rivers, forests, and mountains of the state. 

The main language of Sikkim is Nepali, followed by Bhutia or Sikkimese, and Lepcha. Other languages that are also spoken in this state are Limbu, Majhwar, Tamang, Sherpa, and Tibetan. 

The food of Sikkim reflects the culture of the state that is a blend of Tibet, India, Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal. Sikkim food generally comprises Sinki and Gundruk soups, noodles, fermented soybean, traditional cottage cheese, thukpas, fermented rice products, and bamboo shoots. The staple food of Sikkim is Rice. Tourists visiting Sikkim would like to try wantons and momos. 

Traditional Dress of Sikkim for Men and Women:
The dress of Sikkim reflects the social lifestyle and culture of the major tribes. All 3 major tribes have different types of costumes. The traditional dress of a Lepcha woman is known as Dumvum. Dumvum is ankle-length dress that is worn like a saree. Another traditional dress of women is known as Tago. It is a loose-fitted dress worn along with a blouse, headgear, and a belt. The traditional attire of Lepcha men is Thokro-dum that includes a shirt, a pajama, Yenthatse, and headgear. Generally, the dress of Sikkim people is conducive to the fieldwork. The traditional dress of women and men of the Bhutia tribe is known as Kho or Bakhu. Bakhu is tied at the waist with a silk or a cotton belt.

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