Note Making: Sikkim

This isn’t a mountain region of mere subjective beauty. Nor one, which claims its greatness, based on just an overwhelming opinion of a large majority. For Sikkim is a treasure that few know about. However, the facts of its remarkable geography bear enough testimony to pitch Sikkim in a slot that no other mountain region, anywhere in the world, could duplicate or rival. What Everest is to peaks, Sikkim is to the mountains. Tragically, a region so wild and exotic and with such geographic and climatic extremes, with its amazing wilds and not its unremarkable hill stations, ensure its accessibility to the adventurous only.

Just delve on these facts a bit. From the plains, in a mere 80 km as the crow flies, the altitude reaches 28,168 feet at the very top of Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world. Such a sharp elevation is unrivalled anywhere else and is the first geographical claim of Sikkim.

The second is an offshoot of the first. Nowhere else do so many 7,000 metre plus peaks crowd up in such a confined space. And the third is really a consequence of the first and the second with the sharp gradation, creating the most variegated flora and fauna possible anywhere in the mountains. The fourth uniqueness is also a consequence of the first and the second and lies in the extremes of the climate which ranges from the tropical to the typical arctic type. And the fifth claim is its thin permanent population and relatively fewer travellers by virtue of its remote far-eastern Himalayan location.

The startling facts about Sikkim never seem to end. For starters, all of Sikkim lies in a mere 110 kms by 65 kms of mountains, peaks, glaciers, rivers and forests. It is a little dot on the map at a latitude of 27 degrees North and at a longitude 68 degrees East. Its 7,000-sq kms make it about as large as the National Capital Region of India! To the North and extending to the East of Sikkim is Tibet/China and to the West is Nepal. To the South are the Himalayan and subHimalayan regions of West Bengal.

It is, in fact these geographical extremes and the resulting ambience, that makes mountaineers trek here, when they are not climbing, besides fuelling mountaineering dreams in the minds of trekkers, they watch with the closest possible proximity at the magnificent peaks while trekking.

On the subject of trekking here, it is strange but true that acclimatization is much tougher in Sikkim than elsewhere. It may have something to do with being closer in latitude to the Tropic of Cancer, besides the rather sharp stages involved in each day of trekking. The closeness to the Tropic of Cancer has meant that the snowline will always be much higher and therefore human settlements are seen even at altitudes of 16,000 feet!

Q. On the basis of your understanding of the above passage, make notes on it, using headings and subheadings. Use recognizable abbreviations and a format you consider suitable. Also supply an appropriate title to it.

Sikkim

  1. Remarkable Geography
    1. All of Sikkim lies in a mere 110 kms by 65 km of mountains, peaks, glaciers, rivers and forests
    2. A little dot on the map at a latitude 27 degrees N and longitude 88 degrees E
    3. From the plains, in a mere 80 km altitude reaches 28,168 feet
    4. Kanchenjunga-3rd highest peak in the world
    5. Its 7,000-sq km make it about as large as the NCER of India
    6. From N and extending to the E of Sikkim, is Tibet/China
    7. To the W is Nepal
    8. To the S are the Himalayan and sub Himalayan regions of West Bengal
  2. Unique Features
    1. 7,000 meter peaks crowd up such a confined space
    2. most variegated flora and fauna possible any where in the mountains
    3. extremes of the climate
    4. range from the tropical to the typical arctic type
    5. thin permanent population.
  3. Trekking in Sikkim
    1. acclimatisation is much tougher here
      1. being closer in latitude to the Tropic of Cancer
      2. sharp stage involved in each day of trekking
    2. snowline will always be much higher
    3. human settlements are seen even at altitudes of 16,000 feet

Abbreviations

  1. km – kilometre
  2. 3rd – Third
  3. sq – square
  4. NCER – National Capital Region of India.
  5. N’ – North
  6. E’ – East
  7. W’ – West
  8. S’ – South

Q. Write a summary of the passage in about 100 words.

Sikkim is a land of beautiful mountains and rich exotic scenery. Its location is remote and available only to the adventurous. Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world, is located here. It is a part of India, but shares its borders with Tibet/China and Nepal. Tall mountain peaks make up most of the landscape. Sikkim is home to the most variegated flora and fauna which can be possible anywhere in the mountains, ranging from tropical to the typical arctic types. Trekking is not easy in Sikkim as acclimatisation is much tougher here. Sikkim has a thin permanent population, but often human settlements can be found even at altitudes of 16,000 feet.


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