Administrative Divisions of Sikkim
In administrative point of view, Sikkim is divided into four districts each with a District
4226 sq km
750 sq km
954 sq km
1166 sq km
Sub-Divisions: The state has 9 sub-divisions (Gangtok, Pakyong, Rongli, Namchi, Soreng,
Gyalshing, Rabongla, Mangan and Chungthang.
No. of Zilla Panchayat: 92 wards.
No. of Gram Panchayat: 152 units.
No. of Revenue Blocks: 453
No. of Assembly Seats: 32
No. of Lok Sabha Seats: 1
No. of Rajya Sabha seats: 1
Name of Constituencies:
Soreng, Martam, Daramdin, Damthang, Rumtek, Rhenock, Dentam, Dzongu, Assam Linzey,
Gyalshing, Ralang, Bermiok, Pathing, Ranka, Wak, Yoksam, Chakung, Pendam, Regu, Melli, Khamdong, Jorethang, Rakdong,
Rateypani, Temi, Tashiding, Sanga, Mangshila, Kabi, Pachekhani, Rinchenpong, Gangtok. (Total 32 Constituencies)
Other Important towns: Jorethang, Singtam, Rangpo, Rhenock, Ranipool, Melli.
Like any other state of the Indian Union, Sikkim has a Chief Minister,
Council of Ministers and MLAs chosen through the electoral process.
The Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers are in charge of various departments.
Some of the departments and a few of the Government undertakings have the ruling party MLAs appointed
as their Chairperson. The Bureaucracy in the state is headed by the Chief Secretary. Each department or a
group of them is put in charge of a Secretary or Commissioner who is usually an Indian Administrative
Service Officer. (Refer the link www.sikkim.gov.in for details)
The various Department in the Government of Sikkim are :
- Animal Husbandry, Livestock, Fisheries & Veterinary Services Department.
- CM Secretariat.
- Commerce & Industries Department.
- Co-operation Department.
- Cultural Affairs & Heritage Department.
- Department of Personnel Administrative Reforms Training P G, Career options & Emp,Skill Dev & CM’s Self employment Scheme.
- Development Planning Economic Reforms and N.E Council Affairs Department.
- Ecclesiastical Affairs Department. (deals in the management of the affairs of the
monasteries of the state; is unique to Sikkim and is not found elsewhere in the country)
- Election Department.
- Energy & Power Department.
- Excise Department.
- Finance, Revenue & Expenditure Department.
- Food Security & Agriculture Development Department.
- Food & Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs Department.
- Forest, Environment & Wild Life Management Department.
- Health Care, human Services & Family Welfare Department.
- Home Department.
- Horticulture & Cash Crops Development Department.
- Human Resourced Development Department.
- Information & Public Relation Department.
- Information Technology Department.
- Irrigation & Food Control Department.
- Labour Department.
- Land Revenue & Disaster Management Department.
- Law Department.
- Mines, Minerals & Geology Department.
- Parliamentary Affairs Department.
- Printing & Stationary Department.
- PWD Roads & Bridges Department.
- PWD Building & Housing Department.
- Rural Management & Development Department.
- Science & Technology Department.
- Sikkim Police Department.
- Social Justice, Empowerment & Welfare Department.
- Sports & Youth Affairs Department.
- Tourism Department.
- Transport Department.
- Urban Development & Housing Department.
- Water Security & Public Health Engineering Department.
- Raj Bhawan (not a department in the real sense of the world but has a Secretary).
History of Sikkim
Sikkim was inhabited in pre-historic times by three tribes
namely Naong, Chang and the Mon. The Lepcha
who entered Sikkim sometimes later absorbed them completely. The origin of
Lepchas is shrouded in mistery but it seems that they belonged to the clan of
the Nagas of the Mikir, Garo and
Khasia hills which lie to the south of the Bramaputra
valley. Some believe they came from somewhere on the borders of Tibet and Burma.
According to their own tradition they came to Sikkim from the east in company
with Jindaxs, who went to Nepal and shared their tradition. The Lepchas were a
very peace loving people, deeply religious and shy, which characteristics they
still have retained. They were in fact the children of nature, and worshipped
nature or spirits of nature. These Lepcha lived quite close to the nature by way
of leading sustenance. Some of them practiced shifting cultivation and raised
grains like maize and millets. They led a tribal life at the beck and call of
their tribal leader.
The credit of organizing them into some sort of a society
goes to a person called Tur ve pa no. He was
eventually elected leader of king called "Punu"
sometimes in A. D. 1400. He was killed in a battle and was succeeded
by three Kings - Tur Song Pa No, Tur Aeng Pa No and Tur
Alu Pa No. The monarchy came to an end with the death of the last
king. The Lepchas now resorted to the practice of electing a leader whose advice
and counsel was sought on crucial matters and followed. The Tibetan migration in
early 17th century led the Rongs to shift their habitats so as to avoid
conflict. Meanwhile the struggle and conflicts among the followers of the
"Yellow hats" and the "Red hats" in Tibet forced the latter to seek refuge in Sikkim, where they attained the
status of aristocracy. Being aggressive they occupied lands, which was not
registered by the docile Lepchas. These Tibetan migrants (the Bhutias as
they came to be known) who were followers of the sect of 'Red Hats' now
tried to convert these Sikkimese "Worshippers of nature"
to Buddhism. They succeeded to some extent, though the
Lepchas tried to keep themselves aloof as far as possible. In order to avoid any
possible opposition from the Lepchas, these immigrants now chose one venerable
person Phuntsok as the temporal and spiritual
leader of Sikkim, whose ancestry they traced from a legendary prince, who
founded the Kingdom of Minvang in eastern Tibet in 9th
century A.D. This dynasty ruled in the Chumbi and Teesta valley for a
Somewhere in the Thirteenth century a prince named Guru Tashi of Minyang dynasty in Tibet had a divine
vision that he should go south to seek his fortune in "Denzong- the valley of rice". As directed by the divine
vision he along with his family, which included five sons, headed in the
southern direction. The family during their wandering came across the Sakya Kingdom in which a monastery was being built at
that time. The workers had not been successful in erecting pillars for the
monastery. The elder son of Guru Tashi
raised the pillar single handedly and thereby came to be known as
"Kheye Bumsa" meaning the superior of ten
The Sakya King offered his
daughter in marriage to Khye Bumsa. Guru Tashi
subsequently died and Khye Bumsa
settled in Chumbi Valley and it was
here that he established contacts with the Lepcha Chieftain Thekong Tek in Gangtok. Khye Bumsa
being issueless went to Sikkim in the 13th century to seek the
blessing of Thekong Tek who was also a
religious leader. Khye Bumsa was not only
blessed with three sons by the Rong chief but he also prophesied that his
successors would be the rulers of Sikkim. Out of gratitude Khye Bumsa visited Thekong Tek a number of times. In due course of times
the relationship ultimately culminated in a treaty of brotherhood between the
two Chieftains at a place called Kabi
Longtsok.This treaty brought about new ties of
brotherhood between the Lepchas and the Bhutias.
Mipon Rab the third son of
Khye Bumsa assumed the Chief-Ship after the
death of his father. He had sons and the four principal clans of Sikkim are said
to have sprung from these four sons. The fourth son Guru Tashi succeeded Mipon Rab
and shifted to Gangtok. On the other hand after the death of Thekong Tek the Lepchas broke into minor clans. They
also gradually turned to Guru Tashi for
protection and leadership. Guru Tashi
appointed a Lepcha, Sambre as his chief adviser and lieutenant. Guru Tashi's rule marked the absorption of the
foreign ruling house into the native soil and also paved a way for a regular
monarchy. This way Guru Tashi became the first ruler of Sikkim and was crowned
as such. He was followed by Jowo Nagpo, Jowo Apha and
Guru Tenzing who pursued the policy creating progressively amicable
relation with Lepchas.
Phuntsok (or penchu) Namgyal
was the next ruler. He was Guru Tenzing's son (great grandson of Guru
Tashi) and was born in 1604. Phuntsok Namgyal's
crowning was charged with all the vivid fantacy and miraculous phenomenon
that is befitting to so important an occasion. Three venerable lamas are said to
have entered sikkim from three different direction direction at the same time.
They met at Yoksam (meaning three wise men)
and began a debate on the desirability of having a temporal and religious head
to rule over pagan Sikkim. Two of the lamas furthered their own claims but the
third lama reminded them of the prophecy of Guru
Padamsambhava that a man coming from east and Phuntsok by name would rule Sikkim. It was also told
that none of them came from east hence the real man must be looked for.
Messengers were sent to seek Phuntsok. Near
Gangtok the desired youngman was found and lamas lost no time in crowning him
the king. They seated him on a nearby rock slab and sprinkled water on him from
the sacred urn. He was given one of Lhatsun
Chenpo's (the lama told about prophecy) names, Namgyal, and the title of Chogyal or religious king. It happened in the year
1642. The Namgyal dynasty ruled over Sikkim as
hereditary kings for about 332 years.
Phuntsok Namgyal, the
first consecrated ruler ruled over a vast territory, many times the size of
present Sikkim. His kingdom touched Thang La
in the Tibet in the north, Tagong La near Paro
in Bhutan in the east and the Titalia on the
borders of West Bengal and Bihar in the south. The western border Timar Chorten on the Timar river in
Nepal. Phuntsok though a distant descendant of
Indrabodhi was now a Bhutia by his domicile.
He was persuaded by the lamas enthroning him as Chogyal
(Heavenly king or king who rules with righteousness) to seek
recognition from Dalai Lama of Tibet. The Dalai Lama recognized Phuntsok
Namgyal as the ruler of the southern slopes of the Himalayas
(Sikkim) and is also credited to have sent ceremonial present such as the
silken scarf bearing Dalai Lama's seal, the mitre(hat) of
the Guru Rimpoche, the devil dagger (Phurpa) and the
most precious sand image of the Guru. Consequently, the newly established Bhutia
principality of Namgyal Dynasty was
tied to Tibetan theocracy. Since then up to 19th century, the Bhutia rulers of
Sikkim looked up to Tibet for protection against political foes. Phuntsok Namgyal proved to be an efficient and capable
administrator. He divided his kingdom into twelve Dzongs i.e. districts and appointed Dzongpana i.e. governor
for each. He also declared Mahayana Buddhism as the state religion,
which continued to be the state religion under all the Namgyal rulers. He very tactfully kept the lepchas,
Bhutias and Limbus together. The Governors were appointed from the lepchas who
were then in majority. Since Yatung
the greatest commercial Tibetan center being nearer to Gangtok
posed some danger, he shifted his capital to Yoksom.
Phunstok Namgyal and the
three saints immediately got to the task of successfully bringing
the Lepcha tribes under the Buddhist fold. Politically, sikkim expanded its
borders, which include Chumbi valley, the present
Darjeeling district and a part of present-day Nepal and Bhutan. The
capital of sikkim was established in Yoksam
Tensung Namgyal succeded his father Phuntsok
Namgyal in 1670 and moved his capital to Rabdentse. He had three wives - a Tibetan, a Bhutanese and Limbu girl. The latter was the
daughter of the Limbu chief Yo Yo-Hang. The
chief's daughter brought with her seven girls who were later on married into
important families of Sikkim. Many of them rose to the rank of councilors to the
King. These councilors later on came to be known as Kazis who enjoyed immense
power and privileges.
Chador Namgyal a minor son
from Tensung's second wife succeeded on the death of his father. Pedi the daughter from the first wife who came from Bhutan
challenged the succession and invited Bhutanese intervention. Having come to
know about this secret move Yungthing Yeshe a
loyal minister took the minor king to Lhasa.
During his asylum in Lhasa, Chador Namgyal
distinguished himself in Buddhist learning and Tibetan literature. By
dint of his acumen and scholarship he rose to the position of state astrologer
to the Sixth Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama was so
much pleased with the erudition of this young scholar that he bestowed high
honors and titles on the young king. The young king also received an estate in
central Tibet with sovereign rights. On the other hand Bhutanese forces had
captured the Rabdentse palace and imprisoned the son of Yugthing Yeshe. But on
the intervention of Tibet, King Deb of Bhutan withdrew. Chador Namgyal came back and drove out the rest of
Bhutanese forces. The south-eastern tract was, however, lost to sikkim as it had
been heavily colonized by then. The Bhutanese after a short while made a second
attempt to capture Sikkim territory. Chador Namgyal
gave a tough resistance but areas now called as Kalimpong and Rhenock were lost forever. Chador was himself religious and took steps for the
propagation of Buddhist religion in his territory. He commanded that the second
of every three sons of Bhutia family must be ordained a monk of the Pemiongchi Monastery, which was also open to the
Tsongs. He not only built the Guru Lhakhang
Tashiding (1715) and patronised the sacred places but also adapted the religious
dances (mystery plays) to keep alive the martial and native traditions and
invented an alphabet for the Lepchas. However, Pedi
the half sister of the ruler did not reconcile. She conspired with a
Tibetan man of medicine and caused Chador
Namgyal's death by way of blood letting from a main artery while the
king was holidaying at Ralang
hot water spring in 1716. A force was sent to Namchi, the doctor was executed
and Pedi was strangled to death
by a silk scarf.
succeeded his father Chador. Consequently upon
a Mongol (Dzungar) invasion on Tibet to persecute Nyingma sect, the Mindoling
Abbot's sister. In his times the people were forced to work on the fortification
of Rabdentse in the fear of Gurkhas and
Bhutanese raids. Many Tsongs who
were not prepared to yield to forced labour fled to Limbuana, which became a
rebel district and broke away from Sikkim even earlier to Gurkha expansion. A
boundary dispute with Bhutan also arose. The Magar Chieftain Tashi Bidur also
revolted, though he was subdued. Limbuana was, however, lost to Nepal. Gyurmed had no issue but while on his death bed at the
age of 26 (1733) gave out that a nun in Sanga
Choling was carrying his child. But some people do not
believe it. It is said, he was impotent and generally shunned his wife.
Therefore, the story goes that in order to keep the Namgyal Dynasty going, the lama priest of Sikkim
concocted a story that a nun was carrying the child of the King. Fortunately the
nun delivered a male child and he was accepted as heir to Gyurmed. He was named as Phuntsok after the first temporal and the spiritual
head of Sikkim.
Phuntsok Namgyal II was
opposed by many people including some Bhutias on the plea of illegitimacy.
Tamdang a close confident and treasurer of
Gyurmed not only opposed the succession but
assured the powers of the ruler and continued to rule Sikkim for three years
inspite of the opposition by pro-king faction. The Lepchas backed the baby king
and fought the pretender under the leadership of Chandzod
Karwang. Tamdang was defeated and fled to Tibet to seek guidance and
help. But to keep Sikkim under their Tutelage the Tibetan authorities favoured
the minority of the king. A convention representing all shades of Sikkimese
population was held which defined the functions, powers and responsibilities of
the Government. The system of annual taxation was also introduced to augment the
state treasury. The Magar tribe, lost its chieftain during this time and asked
the regent to appoint the deceased's son as chieftain. But the regent expressed
his inability to comply with their demand. This act enraged the Magars who
sought the help and protection from Bhutan. This way Sikkim lost Magars
allegiance forever. In the year 1752 the Tsongs rose in arms, but were subdued
and won over by tactfully by Chandzod Karwang.
The rise of Gurkhas also posed a
threat for Sikkim. The later years of Phuntsok
II witnessed Gurkhas inroads in
Sikkim under the leadership of Raja Prithvi Narayan
Shah of Nepal who formented the rebellious elements in Sikkim. Bhutan
also invaded Sikkim and captured all area east of Tista, but withdrew to present
frontiers after negotiation at Rhenock. The
Gurkha inroads were beaten back seventeen
times. A peace treaty with Nepal was signed in 1775, and Gurkhas promised to
abstain from further attacks and collaboration with Bhutanese. But the Gurkhas at a later stage violated the treaty and
occupied the land in western Sikkim. Phuntsok II
had three queens but had a son Tenzing Namgyal
from his second queen in 1769.
succeeded Phuntsok Namgyal in 1780.
During the reign of Tenzing Namgyal, Nepali
forces occupied large chunks of Sikkim territory. They attacked Rabdantse and the Chogyal had to flee to Tibet. The Nepalis excursions
emboldened them to penetrate even into Tibet. This led to the Chinese
intervention and Nepal was defeated. In the Sino-Nepal treaty, Sikkim lost some
of its land to Nepal, but monarchy was allowed to be restored in the country.
Tenzing Namgyal died in Lhasa and his son
Tsudphud Namgyal was sent to Sikkim in 1793 to
succeed him as the monarch. Rabdantse was now,
considered too insecure because of its proximity to the Nepal border and Tshudphund Namgyal shifted the capital to a place
The defeat of Nepal by the Chinese did little to weaken the
expansionist designs of the Nepalese. They continued to make attacks into the
neighbouring British territories and Sikkim. British India successfully
befriended Sikkim. They felt that by doing so the expanding powers of the
Gorkhas would be
curtailed. British also looked forward to establishing trade link with Tibet and
it was felt that the route through Sikkim was the most feasible one. War between
Nepal and British India broke out in 1814 and came to an end in 1816 with the
defeat of the Nepalis and the subsequent signing of the Treaty of Sugauli. As a direct spin-off, British India signed another treaty
with Sikkim in 1817 known as the Treaty
in which former territories, which the Nepalis captured, were
restored to Sikkim. H. H. Risley writes in the Gazette of Sikkim, 1894, that by
the Treaty of Titalia
British India has assumed the position of Lord's paramount of Sikkim
and a title to exercise a predominant influence in that State has remained
The British became interested in Darjeeling both as a hill resort and an outpost from
where Tibet and Sikkim would be easily accessible. Following a lot of pressure
from the British, Sikkim finally gifted Darjeeling
to British India on the understanding that a certain amount would be paid
as annual subsidy to Sikkim. The gift deed was signed by the Chogyal Tsudphud Namgyal in 1835. The British appointed
a superintendent in the ceded territory. The British however did not pay the
compensation as had been stipulated and this led to a quick deterioration of
relation between the two countries. There were also difference between the
British Government and Sikkim over the status of people of Sikkim. Because of
the increased importance of Darjeeling, many citizens of Sikkim mostly of the
labor class started to settle there as British subjects. The migration disturbed
the feudal lords in Sikkim who resorted to forcibly getting the migrants back to
Sikkim. This annoyed the British Government, which considered these as acts of
kidnapping of British citizens. The relations deteriorated to such an extent
that when Dr. Campbell, the
Superintendent of Darjeeling and Dr. Hooker visited Sikkim in connection with the latter's
botanical research, they were captured and imprisoned in 1849. The British
issued an ultimatum and the two captives were released after a month of
detention. In February 1850, an expedition was sent to Sikkim, which resulted in
the stoppage of the annual grant of Rs. 6000/- to the Maharaja of Sikkim and
also the annexation of Darjeeling and a great portion
of Sikkim to British India.
Sikkim resorted to making attacks into British territories and
it was in November 1860 that the British sent an expeditionary force to Sikkim.
This force was driven back from Rinchenpong in
Sikkim. A stronger force was sent in 1861 that resulted in the capture of the
capital Tumlong and the signing of a Treaty
between the British and Sikkimese the same year.
His son Sidekeong Namgyal
succeeded Tsugphud Namgyal in 1863. The
British Government started the payment of annual subsidy of Rs. 6000/- in 1850
for Darjeeling. In an attempt to keep good relation with Sikkim, the British
enhanced the subsidy to Rs. 12000/- per annum.
Chogyal Sidekong Namgyal
defied in 1874 issueless and was succeeded by his half brother
Thutob Namgyal. There were serious difference
between the Nepalese settlers and the original inhabitants of Sikkim and this
led to British intervention. The settlement went in favour of the Nepali
settlers and made Thutob Namgyal have ill
feeling for the British. He retreated to Chumbi
and became more aligned towards the Tibetans.
The British meanwhile were making concerted efforts to
establish a trade links with Tibet and also imposed their influence. A
delegation led by Colman Macaulay, Financial
Secretary to the Bengal Government of British India was sent to Sikkim in 1884
to explore the possibility of establishing a trade route with Tibet through the
Lachen Valley. This delegation visited
Tumlong the capital where it met the
The Britishers started building of roads in Sikkim. This was
viewed with suspicion by Tibet and in 1886,
some Tibetan militia occupied Lingtu in sikkim near Jelepla
pass. In May 1888, the Tibetans attacked Gnathang below Jelepla
but were driven away. In September of the same year the British called for
reinforcements and the Tibetans were pushed back from Lingtu. A memorial was built at Gnathang for the few British soldiers who died in the
The Britishers appointed Claude
White as the first political officer in Sikkim in 1889 and Chogyal Thutob Namgyal was virtually under his
supervision. Thutob Namgyal
shifted the capital from Tumlong to Gangtok
in 1894. The Sir Thutob Namgyal
Memorial (STNM) Hospital built in 1917 is named in the memory of
Thutob Namgyal who died in 1914.
Alarmed by the growing Russian
influence in Tibet and also to assert itself, the British sent an
expedition led by Col. Younghusband to Lhasa via Jelepla in
1904. The expedition met with resistance from the Tibetan army, which was
defeated, and a treaty was dictated by Younghusband
on Tibet. The Treaty secured monopoly-trading privileges in Tibet for the
British. Thutob Namgyal was succeeded by his son
Sidekong Tulku in 1914. Unfortunately he did not live
long and died in the same year. He was succeeded by his half brother Tashi Namgyal who promulgated many reforms in the
In 1947 when India became independent, Tashi Namgyal was successful in getting a special
status of protectorate for Sikkim. This was in face of stiff resistance from
local parties like Sikkim State Congress who wanted a democratic setup and
accession of Sikkim to the Union of India. between India and Sikkim
ratified the status of Sikkim as a protectorate with Chogyal as the Monarch. Tashi
Namgyal died in 1963 and was succeeded by his son Palden Thondup Namgyal. By the beginning of 1970 there
were rumbling in the political ranks and file of the State, which demanded the
removal of Monarchy and the establishment of a democratic setup. This finally
culminated in wide spread agitation against Sikkim Durbar in 1973.There was a
complete collapse in the administration. The Indian Government tried
to bring about a semblence of order in the state by appointing
a Chief administrator Mr. B. S. Das. Further events and election led to Sikkim
becoming transformed from a protectorate to an associate State. On 4th September
1947, the leader of Sikkim Congress, Kazi Lendup Dorji
was elected as the Chief Minister of the state. The Chogyal however still remained as the constitutional figure
head monarch in the new setup. Mr. B. B. Lal was the
first Governor of Sikkim.
Events leading to the confrontation between the Chogyal and the popular Government caused Sikkim to become
a full-fledged 22nd state of the Indian Union on 16th may 1975. The institution
of Chogyal was subsequently abolished.
Since then Sikkim has been a state of the Indian Union like
any other state. The 1979 assembly election saw Mr. Nar Bahadur
Bhandari being elected as the Chief Minister of Sikkim. He has been
returned to office in the election held in 1984 and 1989. In 1994 assembly
election Mr. Pawan Kumar
Chamling became the fifth Chief Minister of Sikkim.
courtesy: N.I.C. Gangtok, Sikkim.