›› Trekking in Sikkim
›› Tour in Sikkim
›› Mountain Biking
›› Mountaineering
›› River Rafting
›› Yak Safari
›› Mountains
›› Glaciers
›› Lakes
›› Rivers
›› Passes
›› Hot Springs
›› Waterfalls
›› Religions
›› Fests and Fesitvals
›› Folk Dances
›› Languages Spoken
›› Local Terms
›› Lucky Signs
›› Celebrities
Although Buddhism appears to be the predominant religion in Sikkim, the real side of religion in the state is Hinduism. Buddhism is followed by mostly the Tibetans and Sikkemes Bhutias. Hinduism is followed by the Nepalese. Other religions too flourish because of the tolerant mindset of the Sikkimese like Christianity, Sikhism and Muslim.
Saga Dawa: This is the Triple Blessed Festival and is considered as the holiest of the holy Buddhist Festivals. On this day in different years of his life, Lord Buddha took birth, achieved Enlightenment and passed away attaining Nirvana, three important events celebrated in the festival of Saga Dawa.
This Three-Fold-Auspicious-Day falls on the full moon day of the 4th month of Buddhist lunar calendar around the end of May and early June. The highlight of the day’s observation in Gangtok is a procession carrying the Holy Books of the teachings of the Buddha from the Tsuk-La-Khang Monastery in the Palace around the town.
Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini in Nepal to King Sudhodhna and Queen Maha Maya of the Sakya Clan around 560 BC. He was named Sidhartha and his parents took all the pains to make his life comfortable and keep him ensconced from the miseries of the world. At the age of twenty nine, realization dawned upon Prince Siddhartha that all the worldly pleasures were transient and unreal and that the ultimate truth lay elsewhere. He renounced the world and after wandering for many years in search of the truth reached Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh (India), where he meditated under the Bodhi trees and attained Enlightenment at the age of thirty five. Buddha, the Enlightened One, left for his heavenly abode at the age of eighty one at Kusinara on attaining Nirvana or deliverance into bliss.
Lhabab Dhuechen: This festival symbolises the Descent of Buddha from the heaven of the thirty three gods after visiting his mother. Dhuechen means festivals, Lha means heaven and Bab means descent.
Legends goes that Queen Maha Maya, the mother of Lord Buddha, did not live long after his birth and took rebirth in Trayastrimsa or the heaven of the thirty Gods. After attaining Enlightenment, Lord Buddha through spiritual powers came to know about the whereabouts of his mother and at the age of forty one ascended to the heavens along with thousands of his followers. Lord Buddha stayed in heaven for three months during which he delivered sermons to his mother and other celestial beings. Lord Buddha had left behind on earth one of his disciples, Maudgalyayana, as his representative. This disciple and other devotees of the Lord could not bear the long separation and longed to hear his preaching, Maugalyayana, who possessed miraculous powers, was exhorted to go up to the heaven to request the Lord to return back to the earth. The gods were not willing to let Lord Buddha return back to earth but Maugalyana suggested that as the earthly beings did not have the powers to visit heaven, the celestial being could come to the earth to attend his preaching. Lord Buddha finally relented and descended to the earth at a place called Sankasya along a triple ladder that was prepared especially for the occasion by Viswakarma, the God of Machines.
Drukpa Tsheshi: This festival is observed by the Buddhists to mark the event when Buddha first turned the Wheel of Dharma (His first sermon to five disciples at Sarnath). This festival celebrates Buddha's first preaching of the four Noble Truths to his first five disciples in a deer park at Sarnath. The first is the Noble Truth of suffering. The Second Noble Truth is the truth of the origin of suffering Karma and Delusion and their causes. The third Noble Truth is the cessation of the suffering or the attainment of Nirvana. The fourth Noble Truth is the truth of the Eight Fold Path leading to Nirvana. The day falls on the fourth day (Teshi) of the sixth Tibetan month (Drukpa).
This festival is held on the 4th day(Tsheshi) of the 6th month(Drukpa) of the Tibetan Calendar around July or August every year.. In Gangtok, Drupka Tsheshi is marked by prayers at the Deer Park and at a secluded place called Muguthang in extreme North Sikkim. The festival is celebrated by holding a Yak race.
Phang Lhabsol: This festival is unique to Sikkim. It was popularised by the third Chogyal of Sikkim, Chakdor Namgyal. In this festival the snowy range of Khangchendzonga is worshipped for its unifying powers. This festival also marks the signing of the treaty of blood brotherhood between the Lepchas and Bhutias by Khye Bumsa and Tetong Tek when the local deities were invoked to witness the occasion.

In fact Phang means witness. On this day, the guardian deity is portrayed by masked Lama dances as a fiery red-faced deity with a crown of five skulls, riding a snow lion. To lighten the mood of the spectators, jesters called 'Atchars' play antics during the Chaams. The third Chogyal of Sikkim, Chakdor Namgyal is credited for choreographing the Pang-Toed dance performed by monks on this day.

This festival is held on the 15th day of the 7th month around the end of August.
  Losoong: Losoong marks the end of the harvest season and also the end of the tenth month of the Tibetan Year. Taking cue from a good harvest and praying for even better prospects for the next crop, the festival is marked by Chaam dancing's at the monasteries at Palace (Tsu-La-Khang), Phodong and Rumtek. The dances symbolize the exorcizing of the evil spirits of the year and the welcoming of the good spirit of the new year. It is best observed in rural Sikkim. Archery competitions and festivities mark the event. Men become gods during the dances and don attires with mystical symbols.  
Losar: The Tibetan New Year is shared also by the Sikkimese and marked with lot of gaiety and festivity. It falls normally in the month of February.The Tibetan youth take to the streets on the day performing the Yak dance and throwing sampa as a way of greeting and welcoming the new year with shouts of "Tashi Delek". The Tibetan community exerts itself in the more than week long festivity with their brocades, jewelry, songs, dances and picnics.
Bumchu: Bum means "pot or vase" and chu means "water". This festival is celebrated at the monastery at Tashiding in the month of January or February. During the festival, the pot containing the Holy water is opened by the lamas of the monastery. The level of water in the pot foretells the future for the forthcoming year. If the water is to the brim, it foretells a year in which peace and prosperity will prevail. If the water is over the brim and is spilling signifies a year with natural disaster and flood , it prophesies bloodshed and disturbances. If the water lever is low or almost dry it signifies famine. A part of the holy water is distributed amongst the gathering of devotes and the pot is replenished with river water and sealed at the end of the festival to be opened only in the next Bumchu...more
Guru Rimpoche's Trungkar Tshechu: On this day, Sikkimese Buddhist pay homage to the master who first blessed Sikkim as holy land, Guru Rimpoche. The master is believed to have firmly establish Buddhism in Sikkim and introduce his form of Tantric Buddhism to the Himalayas after vanquishing ‘demons’ obstructing the growth of dharma in Tibet. The day commemorates his victory over these demons and the devout believe that virtues accrued by recitation of mantras on this day are two-fold.
Kagyed Dance: It is performed on the 28th and 29th day of the 10th month of the Tibetan Calendar, around December. This dance is performed symbolizing the destruction of the evil forces and hoping for peace and prosperity to flourish in every Sikkimese home. The dancers of this is extremely popular Chaam are always monks who are accompanied liturgical music and chanting. The solemn nature of the dance is interspersed with comic relief provided by the jesters. Kagyed dances enact various themes from the Buddhist mythology and culminate with the burning of effigies made of flour, wood and paper.
Kalchakra Puja: A mention of the two bodies of Buddhism, Hinayana and Mahayana has been made at the beginning of this chapter. To attain Nirvana or Enlightenment and freedom from suffering one of the paths offered is Tantrayana which emphasizes the Tantric or mystic aspect of Buddhism involving complex and esoteric rituals.
Dasain / Dusshera/ Durga Puja: One of the most important festivals for the Nepalese Hindus, this fortnight long festival usually falls in the month of October. While Hindus around the world celebrate Durga Puja, the Nepalese observe the days as Dasain or Bijaya Dashmi. This festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It is widely believed that on this day the evil Mahisura was slain by Goddess Durga who is the embodiment of Goodness and Shakti, in a fierce duel fight.

On the first day barley seeds are sown in the soil and their growth a few inches foretells a good harvest. The next important day, a week later is Fulpati meaning the "day of flowers". Maha Astami and Kala Ratri follow Fulpati. The next day is Navami. The 10th day of the festival is known as Vijay Dashmi and also marks the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana. During this day people smear their foreheads with coloured rice and the barley sprouts which were sown on the first day of Dasain are picked and place over the ears.
  Tihar or Tyohar/ Diwali: This festival of lights also know as the Deepavali means "a row of lights". This festival is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama, his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana, to their kingdom after 14 years of exile. To celebrate their return, the people of Ayodhya are believed to have lit up their houses and streets with lamps and the tradition is followed till date. People also conduct Lakshmi Puja to please the Goddess of Wealth.

It falls on the last two days of the dark half of Kartik (October-November). For some it is a three-day festival.

In Sikkim the festival honours certain animals on successive days. The first day known as "Kak(crow) Tihar" is dedicated to crows and they are offered rice and some if caught are even garlanded. On the second day, which is known as "Kukkur(dog) Tihar", dogs are garlanded. On the third day the cows are honored with garlands and their horns are painted in bright colors. It is the turn of the bullocks on the fourth day. The fifth day is also known as Bhai Tika in which brothers visit the homes of their sisters and they apply tikas vermilion to each other foreheads. It is also an occasion for exchanging gifts. During Tihar, traditional carols called Bailo or Deusi are sung.
Saraswati Puja: This festival falls in the month of January and honors the Hindu Goddess of knowledge "Saraswati". School children place their study books in front of the statue and seek blessings for doing well in their studies.

Janmastami: Also known as Krishnastami or Gokulastami is a festival dedicated to Lord Sri Krishna and commemorates his birth. This festival occurs on the eight day (Astami) of a lunar fortnight hence the name (Krishna+astami). Krishnastami which comes sometime in August is celebrated over two days. The first day is Krishnastami or Gokulastami. The second day is called Kalastami or more popularly Janmastami.

This festival associated with Lord Krishna’s birthday and is a combination of religion and celebration together. Mathura, the ancient north Indian town, is Krishna’s birthplace, and it is one of the most sacred places in the entire country. People celebrate this festival with fun, frolic, and merrymaking. The raasleelas, bhajan, kirtan, and various local functions are the special attractions of the place.

The festival of Janmashtami is celebrated during the month of August or September depending on the Indian calendar. The celebration of this festival is followed according to the Indian calendar and hence the month in the English calendar varies every year. This day also falls on the day of Shravan Poornima when the monsoon season is at its high in most of the part of India.
Vishwa Karma Puja: This festival takes place on 17th September every year and honour Vishwa Karma - the God of Machines, statues of this deity are put up in temporary sheds called pandals and worshipped especially by those who are involved in handling machines like drivers and mechanics.
Maghe Sankranti : One of the important festivals of Hindus, Maghe Sankranti known as Makar sankranti in other parts of India is celebrated on the first day of the month of Magh (of the Vikram Sambhat calendar) and is observed for three days. This day is believed by the Nepalese as the day that marks the division of the Winter and Summer solstice. It marks the beginning of the lengthening of days. Bathing in rivers, especially in the confluence of rivers, is prescribed for this day followed by feasting. Huge fairs are organized along the river banks and confluence of rivers. The prayers begin with dawn and the fairs draw people from surrounding areas in thousands. It is an occasion for villagers to gather, meet each other and make purchases. The most colourful introduction to the Sikkimese milieu as people from all communities patronize these fairs. Although just about every district has its fair, the bigger ones are seen at Jorethang (south Sikkim) and Saramsa (East Sikkim).
Holi: This Hindu festival of colors takes on a new meaning in the colder climes of Sikkim. All night revelry, songs and dances brings the business community (which is largely Hindu) to the streets and also observed is the (Matki) competition in the heart of the town. A good example of the communal harmony prevalent in Sikkim as even the ethnic Bhutias and Lepchas can be seen scrambling with their Hindu friends to take a crack at the pot hung high in the air.
The festival of Holi symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It also marks the advent of spring and people celebrate it joyously with a splash of color.
It is the most boisterous of all Hindu festivals, observed all over India, especially the North. It heralds the end of winter and the beginning of spring. People throw colored water with pichkaari (a traditional device to spray coloured water), gubbare (balloons filled with coloured water) and gulal (colour powder) at each other and make merry. Singing and dancing add to the gaiety of the occasion.
  Ramnavami (Chaite Dasain): This festival is dedicated to the memory of Lord Rama. It occurs on the ninth day (navami). The festival commemorates the birth of Rama who is remembered for his prosperous and righteous reign.  
Other Festivals:
Namsoong: An Indigenous festival of Lepchas. It is celebrated as a mark of welcoming the new year which begins from the first day of first month (Kurnyit Lavo) of the year which continues for seven days. It is celebrated all over Sikkim, Darjeeling district, Ilam of Nepal and some parts of Bhutan...more

Sakewa: Festivals of the Rai community. The day is observed with offerings of a variety of sweets and food grains to the deity of food and wealth, Kubera.

Bhanu Jayanti: The Nepalese poet, Adhikavi Bhanu Bhakta, enjoys a demi-God status in these areas and his birth anniversary is marked with processions, poetry recitations, and seminars. Bhanu Bhakta was the first Nepalese to translate the Hindu holy book, Ramayana, into a Nepali version.

Tendong Lho-Rum-Faat: This Lepcha festival is observed by the Lepchas to pay obeisance to the Tendong Hill which saved their tribe from annihilation in the great flood.
Teyongsi Srijunga Sawan Tognam:
Tamu Lochar:
Nyempa Guzom:
›› Sikkim General Info
›› Business & Economy
›› Sikkimese Cuisine
›› Government
›› Educational Institute
›› Hospitals
›› Visas
›› Flight Information
›› Getting There
›› Sikkim Map
›› Places of Interest
›› Rules & Permits
›› Sikkim Statistics
›› Do's and Don'ts
News and Publications
News and Publications History Of Sikkim