SIKKIM, o, native state in the Eastern Him alaya mountains, bounded on the N. and N.E. by Tibet, on the S.E. by Bhutan, on the S. by Dar jiling, aud on the W. by Nepal. It lies between lat. 27° 9' and 27° 58' N., and long. 88° 4' and 89° E. ; area about 1550 square miles. On the breaking out of the Nepal war in 1814, Major Latter occupied the Morang, and formed an alliance with the raja of Sikkim, who was re warded with territory which had been ceded to the British by Nepal. In February 1835, the raja made a formal cession of Darjiling to the British, and received in lieu an annual pension of £300. In 1849, the raja foolishly seized Dr. Campbell, the superintendent of Darjiling, and Dr. Hooker, whilst travelling in Sikkim, and detained them for six weeks. The pension was stopped, and a piece of territory, including the lower course of the Tista aud the Sikkim terai, was annexed as k punishment. The capital isifintnlunr-where the raja resides during the winter and spring, usually going to his estates at Chumbi in Tibet in summer to avoid the heavy rains of Sikkim. The Tibetan name for Sikkim is Dingjing, or Demo jong, or Dee-jon, and for the people Deunjong mars ; the Nepalese call it See-i ; the Gurkha name for the people is Lepcha, but Mr. Markham says they call themselves Rong.
Sikkim occupies an intermediate position be tween Nepal and Bhutan, and unites the floras of Nepal, Bhutan, East Tibet, and the Khassya mountains, being hence, in a geographico-botan ical point of view, one of the most important provinces i,n India, if not in all Asia. In the Him alaya, the truly temperate vegetation supersedes the sub-tropical above 4000 to 6000 feet, and the elevation at which this change takes place corre sponds roughly with that at which the -winter is marked by an. annual fall of snow. This pheno menon varies extremely with the latitude, humid ity, and many local circumstances. In Ceylon and the Madras Peninsula, whose mountains attain to 9000 feet, and where considerable tracts are elevated above 6000 to 8000 feet, snow has never been known to fall. On the Khassya mountains, which attain to 7000 feet, and where a great extent of surface is above 5000, snow seems to be unknown. In Sikkim snow annually falls at about 6000 feet elevation, in Nepal at 5000, in Kamaon and Garhwal at 4000, and in the extreme West Himalaya lower still. The little
fort of Dunasong, 5000 feet above the sea, is situated on a bluff jutting down into the valley of the Tista between Sikkim and Bhutan. The view from this place is magnificent; the snows of the Chola Nitai and Yak-la passes are all quite close. On three sides are the different snowy ranges of Bhutan, Sikkim, and Nepal. Within a space of 16 miles are seen the four countries of Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan, and British Sikkim ; Darjiling is plainly visible, and below is the beautiful and fertile valley of Rhinok in Sikkim ; for many miles can be seen the road from the Tibet passes to the Ranjit river on the Darjiling frontier, the route followed by the Tibetian traders who annually visit Daijiling. Between Darjiling and Tumlung, the mountains are generally lower than those of Darjiling itself. North of Tumlung, the passes int,o Tibet are of great height, and there may be noticed the passes Yak-la and Guatinla (14,000 feet), Chola (15,000), and Jelep-la (13,000) which cross the lofty spur of the Himalayas, separating the Chumbi and Tista valleys. Then comes the Tankra-la pass, 16,083 feet high, the most snowy pass in Sikkim. Sikkim is drained by the river Tista and its affluents. The Am-machu rises near Parijong, at the foot of the Chornalhari peak (23,929 feet), and flows through the Chumbi valley, which is a strip of Tibetan territory separ ating Sikkim from Bhutan. In this lower part of its course, the Am-machu passes into the British district of Jalpaiguri, under the name of the Torsh a.
Near Mintugong are sotne copper mines worked by Nepalese. At the base of the Sikkim Him alaya, under the hill station of Darjiling, the great mass of the lofty hills is composed of schistose rocks of various characters considerably disturbed and contorted. Near the ba,se of the hills, and faulted against these rocks at high angles, there is a, small extent of sandstone and black shales, which contain vertebrata, pecopteris, etc., similar to those occurring in the great coal-fields of Bengal. This upper group contains many large stems, in all observed cases prostrate, and in most cases giving evidence of great wear and long exposure previously to being embedded ; and in some of the finer and more earthy deposits an abundance of le,oks occur, of the same general character as those of. Burma and Tenasserim.