India: Sikkim

Situated within the Himalayan Mountains, the Northeastern State of Sikkim, India, is bordered by China to the North and the East, Nepal to the West and another Indian state of West Bengal to the South. Because of its unique location, it is a multiethnic state with 11 official languages: Nepalese, Sikkimese, English, Newari, Gurung, Tamang, Lepcha, Limbu, Magar, Rai and Sunwar. With 610,577 citizens, it is India’s least populous state. Sikkim is known for its biodiversity and environmentally conscious policies. Plastic and styrofoam have been banned in Sikkim for over a decade. Much of the territory in this small state is devoted to organic farming and Sikkim is the world’s second largest producer of cardamom (next to Guatemala). It is also home to over 5,000 types of flowering plants including multiple varieties of rare orchids, rhododendron and poinsettias. The Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Sikkim. The name means “treasure-house of medicines” and refers to the plethora of medicinal plants that grow within.