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The people of Sikkim

Posted by: 2013-08-07

The people of Sikkim are simple and friendly. The customs and rituals are diverse as the population is a mosaic of ethnicity - the Lepchas of the forest, the Bhutias and the Nepalese. Festivals form a part and parcel of their lifestyle, with a dominating influence of belief in the spirits. A new thing a visitor comes across in the state is the popular drink called ‘Chaang’, a preparation from fermented millet. It is served in bamboo containers. Spirit and Spiritual go hand-in-hand!
The faith
One of the sacred objects of worship to the Sikkimese is bumchu, a sacred pot containing holy water, blessed by a Buddhist saint in the 17th century. Today even after 300 years the water remains as fresh as before, it is said. Religion forms the main thread of life of the Sikkimese. There are about 230 monasteries and Mani Lhakangs. The influence of Buddhism is all-pervasive. Even in the remote mountain regions, one can see prayer flags fluttering atop monasteries as well as private houses. The main monasteries are Pemayangtse and Tashiding in West Sikkim, Enchey in Gangtok, Ralong in South and Phodong and Tolung in North Sikkim. Pomp and pageantry marks festivals hosted by the monasteries where the lamas dance in masks and costumes in accompaniment of music and chants. The Sikkimese Hindus also have colourful festivals, celebrated by the Hindu Nepal population. They worship Goddess Durga. Dipavali is also celebrated. There are around 170 temples in Sikkim.