Sikkimese people

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Old lady from Darap, Sikkim, India.

Sikkimese are people who inhabit the Indian state of Sikkim. The dominance ethnic diversity of Sikkim is represented by 'Lho-Mon-Tsong-Tsum' that identifies origin of three races since seventeenth century. The term 'Lho' refers to Bhutias (Lhopo) means south who migrated from southern Tibet, the term 'Mon' refers to Lepchas (Rong) lived in lower eastern Himalayas and the term 'Tsong' refers to Limbus (Tsong) another tribe of Sikkim. Sikkim is also home to the majority ethnic nepali(gorkhali) people which include tribes such as Limbu(Subba), Chhetri, Gurung, Thakuri, Newar, Magar(manger), Tamang, Rai, Kami, Sarki, Sunuwar, Shresthas, Hyolmo, Damai and Sherpa. However, Indian Gorkhas started to inhabited in Sikkim since the nineteenth century and later the presence of people from mainland India.[1]


Tribes like the Magars were present in Sikkim as early as the Lepchas and their early habitats were mentioned in a manuscript by the Maharaja Tashi Namgyal.[2] The current population is approximately 13% Lepcha,16% Bhutias and 61% Indian Gorkha.[3]

The most widely accepted origin theory of the name Sikkim is that it is a combination of two Limbu words: su, which means "new" and khyim, which means "country" or "home".


The dominant language is Nepali, but other languages include Bhutia, Dzongkha, Groma, Gurung, Lepcha, Limbu, Magar, Majhi, Majhwar, Newar, Rai, Sherpa, Sunuwar, Tamang, Thulung, Tibetan, and Yakha.[4][5]


Vajrayana Buddhism, which accounts for 28.1 percent of the population, is Sikkim's second-largest, yet most prominent religion. Prior to Sikkim's becoming a part of the Indian Union, Vajrayana Buddhism was the state religion under the Chogyal. Sikkim has 75 Buddhist monasteries, the oldest dating back to the 1700s.[6] The public and visual aesthetics of Sikkim are executed in shades of Vajrayana Buddhism and Buddhism plays a significant role in public life, even among Sikkim's majority Indian Gorkha Hindu population..

Hinduism has been the state's major religion since the arrival of the Indian Gorkha Hindu population; an estimated 57.75 percent of the total population are now adherents of the religion. There exist many Hindu temples. Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple Kirati people is very popular, since it consists of the chardham altogether.

Christians in Sikkim are mostly descendants of Lepcha people who were converted by British missionaries in the late 19th century, and constitute around 10 per cent of the population. As of 2014, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sikkim is the largest Christian denomination in Sikkim.[7] Other religious minorities include Muslims and Jains, who each account for roughly one per cent of the population.[8] The traditional religion of the native Lepcha people is Mun, an animist practice which co-exists alongside Buddhism and Christianity.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sikkim: Geographical Perspectives By Maitreyee Choudhury, Mittal Publications, 1 Jan 2006, Ethnology
  2. ^ Skoda, Uwe (2014). Navigating Social Exclusion and Inclusion in Contemporary India and Beyond: Structures, Agents, Practices (Anthem South Asian Studies). Anthem Press. p. 137. ISBN 978-1783083404.
  3. ^ Sikkim People - People of Sikkim, Sikkim People and Lifestyle, Sikkimese People
  4. ^ "General Information". Retrieved 12 October 2006.
  5. ^ "People of Sikkim". Department of Information and Public Relations, Government of Sikkim. 29 September 2005. Archived from the original on 1 July 2006. Retrieved 12 October 2006.
  6. ^ Bareh, Hamlet (1 January 2001). Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Sikkim. Mittal Publications. ISBN 9788170997948.
  7. ^ "Indian Reformed Fellowship Australia". Indian Reformed Fellowship - Australia. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  8. ^ Singh, Kumar Suresh (1992). People of India: Sikkim, Anthropological Survey of India. New Delhi: Anthropological Survey of India. p. 39. ISBN 81-7046-120-0.
  9. ^ Plaisier, Heleen (1 January 2007). A Grammar Of Lepcha. BRILL. ISBN 9004155252.