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Geography of Sikkim

Sikkim is geographically diverse, owing to its location on the Himalayas. The climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine. The thumb-shaped state of Sikkim is characterized by wholly mountainous terrain. Almost the entire state is hilly, with the elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 feet) to 8,585 metres (28,000 feet).  Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak is located in Sikkim, straddling its northern border with Nepal. (Interactive map of Sikkim)

For the most part, the land is unfit for agriculture because of the precipitous and rocky slopes. However, certain hill slopes have been converted into farm lands using terrace farming techniques and is used for cultivation. Numerous snow-fed streams in Sikkim have carved out river valleys in the west and south of the state. These streams combine into the Teesta and its tributary, the Rangeet. The Teesta, described as the "lifeline of Sikkim", flows through the state from north to south.  The statehas 28 mountain peaks, 21 glaciers, 227 high altitude lakes, 5 hot springs, and over 100 rivers and streams. Eight mountain passes connect the state to Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal. The hills consist of Gneissose and Half-Schistose rocks.  The soil is coarse, with iron oxide concentrations.  This kind of soil is ideal for evergreen deciduous forests. Major portion of Sikkim territory also has Precambrian rocks. This causes soil erosion and land slides. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people. By and large, Sikkim's wealth is derived from agriculture and forests.

Maize, paddy, wheat, barley and buck wheat are the main cereals grown in Sikkim. It has the largest area and the highest production of large cardamom in India. Cardamom and potatoes are two important cash crops. A special kind of tea much valued by the connoisseur for its taste and quality is also produced in the state. A government Tea Estate is being developed in Kewzing in the western part of Sikkim. There is one more tea estate at Temi. Under horticulture, large quantities of oranges and apple are raised. Vegetables, pineapple and banana are other cash crops of Sikkim.

Sikkim has four districts, East Sikkim, West Sikkim, North Sikkim and South Sikkim. These Four Districts are further divided into Sub-Divisions. "Pakyong" is the sub-division of East District. "Soreng" is the sub-division of West District. "Chungthang" is the sub-division of North District. "Ravongla" is the sub-division of South District.

   
 
 
 

 

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