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Geography of Sikkim
Altitude -  280 m (920 feet) to 8,585 m (28,000 feet).
Area -  7,096 sq. kms.
Location -  Approx 27 deg. North 88 deg. East
Population -  540,493 (As per 2001 Census)
Capital -  Gangtok
Languages spoken -  Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Limboo, Magar, Rai, Gurung, Sherpa, Tamang, Newari, Sunuwar (Mukhia).
Climate -  Tropical, Temperate and Alpine (In Summer Max. 28 C & in winter min 0 C)
Rainfall -  Average 325 cm. RF / Year
Clothing -  Light woollen for summer and heavy woollens for winter.
Best season to visit -  March to June and September to December

The thumb-shaped state of Sikkim is characterised by wholly mountainous terrain. Almost the entire state is hilly. The summit of the Kangchenzonga is the highest point. For the most part, the land is unfit for agriculture because of the precipitous and rocky slopes. However, certain hill slopes have been converted into farm lands using terrace farming techniques and is used for cultivation. Numerous snow-fed streams in Sikkim have carved out river valleys in the west and south of the state. These streams combine into the Teesta and its tributary, the Rangeet. The Teesta, described as the "lifeline of Sikkim", flows through the state from north to south. About a third of the land is heavily forested.

The Himalayan mountain range in North Sikkim.The lofty Himalayan ranges surround the northern, eastern and western borders of Sikkim in a crescent. The populated areas lie in the southern reaches of the state, in the Lower Himalayas. The state has twenty-eight mountain peaks, twenty-one glaciers, 227 high altitude lakes, including the Tsongmo Lake, Gurudongmar and Khecheopalri Lakes, five hot springs, and over 100 rivers and streams. Eight mountain passes connect the state to Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.


Railway
Nearest railway station is at New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, 148 km and Siliguri which are connected sikkim to other major Indian cities.


Air
Nearest Indian Airport is at a distance of 124 kms from Gangtok at Bagdogra in Siliguri in West Bengal, where scheduled flights operates from Kolkata(Calcutta), Delhi and Guwahati and connecting flights onwards. Travel time from the airport to
Gangtok is 4 hours.

From Kathmandu you can fly to Bhadrapur in the east Nepal(1 hour), then drive to Kakarbhitta (Nepal-India border, 35 kms), to Siliguri(37 kms) and to Gangtok (110 kms, 4 hrs). Or fly to Biratnagar also in the east.

Helicopter Service
The Bagdogra airport is connected to Gangtok by a helicopter service which takes approx. 30 minutes to reach Gangtok. Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation(+91-3592-222634) operates this service daily at 11:00 AM from Gangtok to Bagdogra and at 2:00 PM from Bagdogra to Gangtok. It is a five seater chopper and mountain flights and other such tours to North Sikkim are conducted.


Road
Gangtok is well connected by road to Siliguri via 31A NH, 114 kms. 4 hours, which functions as the major transit point for the North and North Eastern sections of the Indian Sub-continent. Gangtok is further well connected by road with Darjeeling(4 Hrs), Kalimpong and with Bhutan, Phuntsholing (6 Hrs).

 



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