Sikkim Statehood Day 2023: To recognise its merging with India and its birth as the 22nd state in the nation, Sikkim observes its statehood day every year on May 16. Sikkim, a former monarchy in the Himalayas, saw several changes on the way to becoming a state. Examine how the area became a part of India as Sikkim Statehood Day is observed.

History of Sikkim

  • Three years after India gained its independence, in 1950, Sikkim and the Republic of India signed a pact. The former maintained its position as a "protectorate" state within the Union of India under the terms of the agreement. A smaller country known as a protectorate state is one that is guarded by a larger, sovereign state. A state in this situation is free to conduct its own internal affairs, but a larger nation oversees matters like communications, defence, and foreign policy.

  • By the 1970s, Sikkim's Chogyals had lost most of their support, and there were growing calls for India to annex the erstwhile kingdom.

  • The Chogyals called for a referendum in September 1974. Following a request by the Sikkim Prime Minister, the Indian Army entered the country in April of the following year and seized power.

  • As many as 97.5% of participants in the ensuing referendum supported joining India, while only 2.45% opposed it. 

  • The status of the Chogyal was also dissolved after then-Indian President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed approved a constitutional amendment on May 15, 1975, making Sikkim the country's 22nd state. 

  • With its capital in Gangtok, Sikkim now has a population of more than 610,000. It celebrates its statehood day every year with a holiday and a number of activities.

Important Facts about Sikkim 

  • Sikkim is a totally organic state, which means that all of its agriculture is either natural or organic. Sikkim became the first entirely organic state in India in 2016.

  • The towering Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world, is situated in Sikkim on the boundary between India and Nepal. The peak is 8,586 metres above sea level.

  • Religious travellers make up a large portion of the visitors to Sikkim. In Sikkim, there are numerous renowned Buddhist and Hindu monasteries, including the Rumtek Monastery, the Char Dham Temple, and the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple.

  • Sikkim has 3,341 square kilometres of total forest cover, or 47.08% of the state's total land area. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Khangchendzonga National Park accounts for 1,784 sq km, or approximately half, of Sikkim's total forest area.

  • Teesta river, an important river of India and Bangladesh originates in Sikkim.