Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Century old British War Memorial at Gnathang in Sikkim

As always when i come across stories related to Sikkim history my feet has no boundaries. I had heard about a small war memorial at Gnathang along the Sikkim-Tibet border some few years back but due to unavoidable circumstances i was not able to visit that place. So when i set my foot at Gnathang this March i was very excited. Well there is a War Memorial in Gnathang but more than that a neglected one. Despite its historic importance, i believe it has lost its existence. The dry over grown grasses and the broken name plates of the memorial speaks of the negligence. The world history remembers the event as the Sikkim Expedition 1888.

There are around 15 graveyards in the War Memorial of those soldiers representing the British Expeditionary Force that fought war against the Tibetan Army in 1888 at Gnathang. The British Force stayed at this remote mountainous corner between 1888 to 1895 and the memorial reflects the determination and girt of those people most of whom are were in their mid 20s and died fighting at the height of 11000 ft above sea level.

What is more important that the impact of the defeat of Tibetan Army in Gnathang resulted in the transfer of administration power of the Sikkim towards the hand of British. We shall have more details of Sikkim Expedition 1888 in few days.