Monks of Sikkim
Sikkim a small, picturesque mountainous state in India. Bordering Nepal, China and Bhutan, offers a myriad of opportunities for trekking, mountain biking, mountaineering and yak safaris, with its lavish green mountain trails, extraordinary mountains and spectacular mountain rivers. In addition to its spectacular natural beauty, Sikkim also possesses a captivating cultural tradition and is home to large Nepali, Bhutia and Lepcha speaking communities.
View of Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world.
With 194 Buddhist monasteries, Sikkim shares many similarities with neighboring Bhutan and Tibet. Sikkim itself lies in the shadow of Khangchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world, which rises majestically above the mountains in its vicinity like a god surrounded by smaller deities. The best part…it can be seen from pretty much any part of Sikkim.
With to its varying landscapes and climates that range from tropical to alpine, Sikkim is a major center for biodiversity. There are some 6,000 plant species, including around 4,000 flowering plants. The state’s alpine areas are known for their medicinal herbs (100 species) and rhododendrons, while the temperate and sub-tropical belts boast 400 species of orchid. Sikkim has around 1,400 species of butterfly, many hundred different species of birds and tens of different species of amphibians and reptiles. Around 13% of the state’s area has been declared a protected area for wildlife.
The second of the UNESCO regional ecotourism program’s project sites in India, after activities carried out by UNESCO partner the Snow Leopard Conservancy in Ladakh and Himalchal Pradesh, the Sikkim project is being implemented by UNESCO project partner in Sikkim, the Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS), together with the Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee and the Dzongu Ecotourism Committee, at sites in Dzongu and Yuksam in north and west Sikkim.
The aim of the UNESCO / ECOSS project in Sikkim is to promote community participation in the area’s tourism development, aiding to generate employment opportunities and income-generating activities for locals through the development and management of tourist home-stays, as well as through training in the skills needed for local people to become cultural and nature guides.