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Sikkim, an erstwhile Himalayan Kingdom, has been a State of India since its merger in 1975. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is wedged between the Kingdoms of Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east. With an area of 7,096 sq. kms, it has a rectangular shape measuring about 114 kms from north to south and 64 kms from east to west. The elevation varies between 300 mts to 8500 mts.

The greater Himalayas form a natural boundary with Tibet and the Singalila range with Mt. Khangchendzonga (8545 mts), the third highest peak in the world, running north to south separating Sikkim from Nepal. On the eastern front, the Chola range borders with Tibet and the Pangola range further down separates Sikkim from Bhutan. Finally, the vast plains of Bengal open out in the south to form a horseshoe picture of the high ranges bordering Sikkim.

The two major rivers, Teesta and Rangit, flow from north to south creating deep gorges which divide Sikkim into three longitudinal strips. The valleys in the north are wider at Yumthang (3600 mts) and Lachung (2700 mts) which are easily accessible by road. These Rhododendron areas deep in the northern mountains are inhabited by Lachungpas, who have preserved and maintained their unique culture and a society governed by a traditional village council - "Dzomsa". The Teesta and Rangit rivers also offer the thrill of riding the wild water and angling for some local variety of fish.

 
 

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I was one of the people with the Sierra Club group of February 8 to 28, and want to tell you what a wonderful time I had. 
 

     
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