Sikkimese people

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Old Nepali woman

Sikkimese are the Indian peoples who inhabit the Indian state of Sikkim. The indigenous peoples of Sikkim consist of the Lepcha, migrating from Tibet, Bhutias, descendants of Buddhists who arrived from Tibet in the 15th century, who migrated from the Kham district of Tibet in the 14th century, and Indian Gorkhas (Nepali), descendants of Hindus who arrived from Nepal in the 19th century. The current population is approximately 13% Lepcha,16% Limbu, 16% Bhutias and 51% Indian Gorkha.[1]

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 "palace" or "house".

The dominant language is Nepali, but other languages include Bhutia, Dzongkha, Groma, Gurung, Kafle, Lepcha, Limbu, Magar, Majhi, Majhwar, Newar, Rai, Sherpa, Sunuwar, Tamang, Thulung, Tibetan, and Yakha.[2][3] Vajrayana Buddhism, which accounts for 28.1 per cent 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.[4] 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 Gorkhas; an estimated 57.75 per cent of the total population are now adherents of the religion. There exist many Hindu temples. Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple 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.[5] Other religious minorities include Muslims of Bihari ethnicity and Jains, who each account for roughly one per cent of the population.[6] The traditional religion of the native Lepcha people is Mun, an animist religion, which co-exists alongside Buddhism and Christianity.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sikkim People - People of Sikkim, Sikkim People and Lifestyle, Sikkimese People
  2. ^ "General Information". Retrieved 2006-10-12. 
  3. ^ "People of Sikkim". Department of Information and Public Relations, Government of Sikkim. 2005-09-29. Archived from the original on 2006-07-01. Retrieved 2006-10-12. 
  4. ^ Bareh, Hamlet (2001-01-01). Encyclopaedia of North-East India: Sikkim. Mittal Publications. ISBN 9788170997948. 
  5. ^ "Indian Reformed Fellowship Australia". Indian Reformed Fellowship - Australia. Retrieved 2016-01-04. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Plaisier, Heleen (2007-01-01). A Grammar Of Lepcha. BRILL. ISBN 9004155252.