Sikkim is situated in the eastern Himalayas. Spread below the Mount Khanchendzonga at 8534 mts, the third highest mountain in the world, revered by the Sikkimese as their protective deity. With an area of 7,300 sq kms and measuring approx. 114 kms from the north to south and 64 kms from east to west, the elevation ranges from 300 mts to over 8540 mts above sea level. Amidst the grandeur of the mountain peaks, lush valleys, fast flowing rivers, hills, Sikkim offers her visitors a rare and singular experience. Within a matter of hours one can move from the sub tropical heat of the lower valleys to the cold of the rugged mountain slopes that reach up to the area of perpetual snow.
Sikkim was a kingdom for centuries before it becomes part of India about 40 years back. The tranquility of the place, its peace loving people and beautiful views of the mountains has made Sikkim one of the most attractive travel destinations of the region. The most widely accepted origin of the name Sikkim is that it is a combination of two words in the Limbu Su, which means "new", and Khyim, which means "palace" or house, in reference to the palace built by the state's first ruler, Phuntsog Namgyal. The Tibetan name for Sikkim is Denjong, which means the "valley of rice".
It is said that Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche has passed through the land in the 8th century. The Guru is reported to have blessed the land, introduced Buddhism in Sikkim, and foretold the era of monarchy in the state that would arrive centuries later. In the 14th century, according to legend, Khye Bumsa, a prince from the Minyak House in Kham in Eastern Tibet, had a divine revelation one night instructing him to travel south to seek his fortunes. His descendants were later to form the royal family of Sikkim. In 1642, the fifth-generation descendant of Khye Bumsa, Phuntsog Namgyal, was consecrated as the first Chogyal (king) of Sikkim by the three venerated Lamas who came from the north, west and south to Yuksom, marking the beginning of the monarchy. Sikkim witness a temperate climate, with the temperatures seldom exceeding 28°C (82°F) in summer or dropping below 0°C (32°F) in winter.