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Sikkim is probably a combination of two Limbu words, "su" (new) and "khyim" (house), a reference to the palace built by the state's first ruler. Its Tibetan name means "valley of rice," and the Bhutias call it "the hidden valley of rice,". Its original inhabitants, the Lepcha, called it Nye-mae-el, "paradise." It was also known as Indrakil, the garden of the war god Indra. In the 8th century, Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) introduced Buddhism. In the 14th century, Khye Bumsa, a prince from the Minyak house in Kham, in eastern Tibet, migrated into the area, and five generations later, in 1642, his descendant, Phuntsog Namgyal, was consecrated by the three venerated lamas at Yuksom as the first chogyal (priest-king) of Sikkim. His son, Tensung Namgyal, moved the capital from Yuksom to Rabdentse (near modern Pelling). In 1700, the Bhutanese invaded but were driven out by with the the Tibetans, who restored the chogyal a decade later. Between 1717 and 1733, the kingdom was continually attacked by the Bhutanese and the Nepalese, who sacked Rabdentse. In 1791, Chinese troops were sent to support Sikkim and defend Tibet against the Gorkha kingdom; after the defeat of Gorkha, Sikkim became tributary to China. Nepalese attacks continued, however, their territorial gains prompted the British East India Company to attack Nepal in 1814, and Nepal was forced to restore Sikkim's lands in 1817. In 1849, the Anglo-Sikkinese liaison, Dr. Archibald Campbell, and another physician, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, were detained by the Sikkimese government, leading to a punitive British expedition that resulted in the British annexation of Darjeeling and Morang in 1853 and the chogyal's subordination to the British. In 1890, Britain and China reached an accord by which Sikkim became a British protectorate; in 1894, Thutob Namgyal, moved the capital from Tumlong to Gangtok, which had grown in importance as a stopover on the Llhasa-Calcutta trade route. In 1950, Sikkim became a protectorate of the newly independent India, which controlled its external affairs, defense, diplomacy, and communications. Popular unrest against the chogyal grew, and in 1973, Palden Thondup Namgyal formally requested protection due to riots in front of his palace. In April 1975, in response to a plea by the prime minister, the Indian army occupied Gangtok and disarmed the chogyal's palace guards. In a popular referendum, 97.5% of the voters supported abolishing the monarchy; on 16 May 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union, though until 2003 China continued to claim it was still independent but under Indian occupation. The dispute was resolved by India's acceptance of Tibet as part of China, and the thaw in relations led to opening of the Sikkimese Himalayan pass of Nathu La to cross-border trade in 2006, the first open border between the two nations since its closure in 1962.Gangtok, located at an elevation of 1,650 m (5,410 ft) in the shadow of the world's 3rd-highest mountain, Khangchendzongha. (The town's name means "hill top.") Its earliest records only date from the construction of a monastery in 1716, and it was an obscure hamlet until the construction of the Enchey monastery in 1840, after which it became an important pilgrimage site and Tibetan Buddhist center. One of the town's chief attractions is the Ghoom (Yiga-Choling) monastery, belonging to the Yellow Hat sect (also known as the Gelupka). The monastery was founded by astrologer Lama Sherab Gyantso in 1850. He was followed as its head in 1905 by Lama Domo Geshe Rinpoche, who presided over the construction of the monastery's 15-ft. clay statue of the Maitreya Buddha (or the Gyalwa Shampa, the Buddha of the future or the Coming Buddha), one of the biggest and oldest statues of Buddha in the Darjeeling area. Two huge oil lamps in front of the statue burn continuously throughout the year.
Wow! Thank you for displaying my photo and this comprehensive write up. Thrilled to be a regular contributor to your blog.
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