Situated in the Eastern Himalayas, this beautiful state of Sikkim is sandwiched between the kingdom of Nepal in the West and Bhutan in the East, Tibet in the North and the state of West Bengal in the South. With an area of 7,300 sq. kms, measuring 115 kms from north to south and 65 kms. From East to West, the elevation ranging from 244 mts to over 8550 mts., above sea level, approximately latitude of 27 degree North and longitude of 88 degree East.
This small state belies its richness of culture, customs, heritage, flora and fauna. Sikkim, once a protectorate of India with a monarchy government but metamorphosed as the 22nd state of the Indian Union in the year 1975. The population of the state is only 4,20,000 as per the last census. Amidst the grandeur of the mountain peaks, lush green valleys cascading waterfalls and fast flowing rivers, beautiful monasteries and terraced hills, Sikkim offers her visitor a rare and exotic experience.
The Sikkim Coronation book describes Guru Tashi as the 'first ruler of Sikkim who paved way for a regular monarchy'. Five generations later, it was Phuntsok Namgyal who was consecrated as the first Denzong Gyalpo or the king of Sikkim by the three great Lamas who came from the North, West and South to Yuksom Norbugang in West Sikkim in 1642 A.D. The event, predicted as it was by Guru Rinpoche, was the 'Naljor Chezhi' or the meeting of the four yogic brothers or the four saints or four sages. It was preordained that three saints of great repute from different parts of Tibet make their way to Bayul Demajong (Sikkim) to discharge their responsibility of upholding and propogating the essence of Dharma in the hidden land of Demajong. Thus it was that Lhatsun Namkha Jigme, Kathok Kuntu Zangpo and Gnadak Sempa Phuntsok Rigzin made their way to Sikkim separately, and through impenetrable routes. This historical congregation of the three holy Lamas is called Yuksom, which in Lepcha means the 'Three Superior Ones'.
Lhatsun Chenpo impressed on the other two that they were all Lamas and needed a layman to rule the kingdom righteously. He further pointed out that, 'In the prophecy of Guru Rinpoche, it is written that four noble brothers shall meet in Demajong and arrange for its government. We were three of those who came from the North, West and South'. As for the East, he quoted the oracular guide book Rinchen Lingpa which mentioned, 'One of my four avatars will be like a lion, the king among beasts, who will protect the kingdom by his bravery and powers'. The book also mentioned that, 'One named Phuntsok from the direction of Gang will appear'.
So Lhatsun Chenpo deputed a hermit called Togden Kalzang Thondup and a layman called Passang to lead a party to Gangtok in invite the person bearing the name of Phuntsog to come to Yuksom Norbugang. After several adventures, the party came to Gangtok where they met Phuntsog milking his cows. Phuntsog invited them in and bade them partake of fresh cow's milk and told them his name was Phuntsog. He saw the invitation of the three Lamas as a most fortuitous event and lost no time in setting out for Yuksom Norbugang with his entire retinue of followers, officers and household establishment. The coronation took place in the Chu-ta or water horse year in 1642A.D. Thus Phuntsog Namgyal was installed on the throne of Sikkim with the title of 'Chogyal' or king who rules with righteousness, with both spiritual and temporal powers. While the three Lamas spread Buddhism in Sikkim, Phuntsog Namgyal started consolidating his kingdom.
Twelve generations of Chogyals ruled over Sikkim for over 300 years. This tiny Himalayan kingdom however witnessed tumultuous change in 1972-73. In 1975 the institution of the Chogyal was abolished and on May 16th, 1975 Sikkim was formally inducted as the 22nd state of India.