Sikkim, the second smallest state of India after Goa has some really big attractions for tourists from all across the world. Located in the North-Eastern part of India it shares the border with Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and West Bengal. The land is home to multiple cultures, but the majority is influenced by Buddhism followed by Hinduism.
Sikkim tourism is renowned for its festivals across the globe, tourists find it very appealing as they haven’t witnessed it before. The beauty of Sikkim magnifies with the celebration of bright and colourful festivals. People of Sikkim are very passionate about their culture and festivities, their love is evident in the grandness of celebration.
Majestic monasteries in Sikkim plays the host to these major occasions. Bright colours, huge face masks, the sound of drums, and the huge crowd are the contributable factors in making the festivals so grand, cheerful and alluring. Every monastery in Sikkim has its own festival or a reason for the celebration. Sikkimese decide the date of these festivities according to Tibetan-date book or as per the Buddhists say.
The state is divided into 4 parts, North Sikkim, South Sikkim, East Sikkim, and West Sikkim, all these regions take equal participation in each and every occasions of joy. Festivals are celebrated throughout the year if you want to enjoy the wonderful experiences of Sikkim tourism’s unique culture and traditions make a visit to this land as soon as possible.
Here I am giving you a glimpse of some of the famous festivals in Sikkim:
One of the most significant festivals of Sikkim, Drupka Teshi holds extreme importance for locals and devotees of Buddhism. The reason for the celebration is very pious and ancient. It takes place every year in the month of July-August.
This Buddhist religion festival is enriched with excitement and pure thoughts, as on this day the Buddha sermonized his first oration of four noble truth to his five devotees at Sarnath in the deer park. Here drupka means 6th month and Teshi is the 4th day of a month, so it concludes to the fourth day of the sixth month in a year according to Tibetan-date book.
Losoong Harvest Festival
This beginning of Sikkimese New year is welcomed with Losoong Harvest Festival. It is an event of joy, glory, and pride for all the Sikkimese. It is celebrated by the end of harvesting season and gives a moment of relaxation and joy to the farmers who have worked hard throughout the year. It symbolizes the victory of good spirits over evil spirits.
Every major and minor monastery hold these festivals in Sikkim, like- Rumtek monastery, Phodong monastery, Tsu-La-Khang monastery and others as well. Various contests also take place in the celebration like Archery contest. It takes place in the month of December and the festivities last for 4 days. Earlier it was only limited to Bhutia community, but with time the whole of Sikkim has adapted it.
This festival falls in the month of October or November. It involves worshipping of Goddess Durga and offering of grain seeds is made. It lasts for a fortnight and is concluded with customarily goat sacrifice.
This is celebrated by the Hindu Nepalese in Sikkim. Elders give blessings to younger ones by applying ‘Tika’ marks of red colour and rice on the forehead. This signifies that all bad spirits have lost the hold and are replaced by good spirits.
Following Dasain, is the arrival of Tihar, the festivals of light. It is the Sikkimese version of celebrating Diwali.
This festival indulges three reasons for celebration. It is the most significant festival for Mahayana Buddhists in Sikkim. On the first day of this auspicious event, local folks visit the monasteries and make the offering of butter lamps.
The birth of Lord Buddha, Enlightenment of Buddha and death of Lord Buddha or achievement of Nirvana are the three ancient reason why this festival is celebrated. People have huge respect and love for this occasion, it is celebrated every year in the month of May or June as the Buddhist calendar says.
This is not just a festival its also a way of predicting the prosperity of next year. Bumchu is celebrated at the Tashiding monastery in the West Sikkim in the month of February and March. This festival attracts devotees from neighboring countries like Bhutan and Nepal as well.
Bum means pot and chu means water, the sacred pot that contains holy water blessed by the Ngadak Sempa Chenpo is opened by the Lamas and a portion of the same is distributed among the gathered devotees. The level of water in the pot decides the fate of the coming year, so there are three results usually:
- If the water is full to the brim it implies lots of turmoil and restless year for everyone.
- If the pot is dry or a minimum amount of water is available, it depicts starvation and poverty for the coming year.
- If the pot is half full or half empty, it’s a sign of relief and is believed as good fortune for the coming year.
Khangchendzonga Tourist Festival
This festival is of huge significance for Sikkim Tourism. One of the major tourist attractions in Sikkim, it is celebrated solely for the visitors of Sikkim. Every year it is celebrated for 3 days starting from 24 December to 26 December at Pelling, West Sikkim.
Major allures of this festival include- White-water Rafting, Trekking, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, sightseeing, bird-watching. Other than adventures one can witness splendid flower collection at the flower exhibition, relish on ethnic foods, buy some traditional crafts and get clicked in local costumes.
This is a festival is a complete package of fun and adventure for all the visitors of Sikkim.
Sikkim enjoys holding these festivals all year round. The people of Sikkim are still stuck to their roots, their celebration of every ancient festival is the proof. Every state of India has its own festivals, likewise, Sikkim too has unique festivals which are quite distinct from other states of India. Their choice of celebration is largely influenced by the Buddhism culture on them. One must visit the land and enjoy the wonders of Sikkim Tourism.