The Lepchas are the indigenous people of Sikkim. The Lepchas call their land “Nye-Mal-Ale”: “Heaven”. In their language, the Lepchas call themselves “Mutanchi” – “the most loving people on Mother Earth”. They are described in literature as peaceful and shy people. They have their own language & writing, practise agriculture and some of them are still gatherers & hunters today.
Shamanism still plays an important role among the Lepcha people today. The Bomthing (shaman) or the Mun (shamaness) is consulted for questions or problems. Every year, Lepcha shamans still gather at Kabi Lungchok to show their gratitude and reverence to nature, medicinal herbs and the patron god Mt. Khangchendzonga.
Self-sufficiency, agriculture, hunting, fishing and gathering are still an important source of livelihood for the Lepchas in the countryside. Today, most Lepchas are farmers and self-sufficient, including hunting, fishing and gathering. The heartland of the Lepchas lies in Dzongu, in the north of Sikkim. The people live scattered in small villages throughout Sikkim as well as in the area around Darjeeling & Kalimpong.We organize Lepcha village visits, folk dance performances and also overnight stays as house guests in Lepcha villages. On request, we integrate interaction with a Lepcha shaman.
Gompas (monasteries) and lamas (monks) play an important role in the daily life of the Bhutias. Most of the monasteries exist due to donations from the local population. Even today, some Bhutia families still follow the Sikkimese tradition of the second son entering a monastery.
They have their own language and script and their religion is a mixture of Buddhism and Shivaism. The rest of the Nepalese, with the exception of Sherpas, Tamang and Gurung, are Hindu. As a result of increasing immigration from Nepal, the population of Sikkim today consists largely of Nepali ethnic groups, while the Lepchas and Bhutias are a minority in Sikkim. Nepali is the lingua franca of Sikkim, although Bhutia and Lepcha are still spoken in certain areas.
Biharis, Bengalis and Marwaris
Biharis, Bengalis and Marwaris are other migrant communities in Sikkim. In addition, Sikkim has been a second home for numerous Tibetan refugees since China’s invasion of Tibet.Our cultural tours give you deep insights into the country and its people through our extensive personal contacts. Visit villages of different ethnic groups with us, meet farmers, craftsmen, lamas (monks) and shamans.
Visit schools, temples and monasteries. Our tour guides are locals, have in-depth local knowledge and are familiar with the needs of our guests, and on request we can integrate overnight stays in various villages as a house guest.