Saturday, December 29, 2012
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Saturday, November 03, 2012
Sunday, October 28, 2012
21 Years old Sangey Udenla who held from Gangtok had been selected for Doordarshan Primetime Television Serial “Ek Tha Rusty” based on Ruskin Bond famous author. Shooting for the serial will take place at Mussorie, Dehradun. She is one of the findings of Sikkim Model Hunt 2012. She is a final year student of Political Science (Hons) in Daulatram College, New Delhi.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
It has been a wonderful response from different places of the state including Darjeeling District regarding my findings on the Postal History of Sikkim. I am happy that my readers found information that they have less heard. Continuing to the previous article I here share about the Postal System of the British Expedition of 1888 that played an important in turning over of Sikkim of what it is today.
Geoffrey Flack in “Sikkim Field Force 1888-89; Precursor to the Younghusband Expedition” published in Postal Himal (No.78, 2nd Quarter 1994) writes ……. on March 20th 1888 Brigadier General T Graham was send with a force of 2000 men to retake the lands of Sikkim that was invaded by the Tibetans. The Tibetans offered little resistance, crossed the Jalepla and attacked Gnatong, The British men forced the Tibetans to drive them to the frontiers.
Brigadier General T Graham requested for the extension of the telegraph line towards the Tibetan side of Jalepla that was later sanctioned making the entry of Arthur Edmund Sandbach to the land of Sikkim. Sandbach was a Royal Engineer to the Bengal Sappers and Miners. Arrival of Sandbach to Sikkim plays an important role in the early development of postal systems in Sikkim. It was due to his letters send from the frontiers of Sikkim and Tibet during his 11 months staying with the British Field Force that had surfaced new addition of the long forgotten postal history of Sikkim.
Sandbach and his unit arrives at Sikkim and immediately makes into Tibet frontier, camping at a place called “Byutan”, an unknown place name till now east of Jalepla frontier near Bhutan border on November 9th, 1888. Sandbach and his unit stays at Tibet for three weeks before returning to Gnatong on December 3rd, 1888. Along with the telegraphs, EXPERIMENTAL P.O. C-7 of the British Forces was also with the Sandbach’s unit at Tibet.
EXPERIMENTAL P.O. C-7 was established at Gnatong and it might had travelled with Sandbach’s unit to the Tibetan frontier cannot be denied. The website Invaluable.com states the description of an auctioned Post Card as “1889 (3 Dec.) 1/4a. brown stationery card from Private John Sullivan of the Connaught Rangers at Sikkim to Bombay, cancelled with a good strike of the "experimental po/c-7" c.d.s. and with Market Bombay arrival c.d.s. alongside; the contents requesting the addressee to send a catalogue to the writer at Sikkim; most unusual. The card with a couple of small faults though a rare item of mail from this obscure military operation.”
Sandbach’s correspondence provides a great deal of information about the postal history of Sikkim Field Force. Another remarkably cancellation received from the Sandbach’s correspondence used inside Sikkim are the ‘EXPERIMENTAL P.O. C-3’ and ‘EXPERIMENTAL P.O C-22’.
‘EXPERIMENTAL P.O C-3’ is the rarest of the cancellation of the Sikkim Field Force of 1888-89. Only 3 covers had been found dated October 3rd and 5th, 1888 used most probably at Rangpo where Sandbach had stayed on his visit. Ten covers from ‘EXPERIMENTAL P.O C-22’ had been found cancelled at Rhenock Ridge. The covers was used between December 16th, 1888 to late May 1889.
For a stamp sized state of Sikkim, 6th November 2006 hold a moment of glory and recognisation in terms of world philately. Indian Postage had featured a postal stamp on Changu Lake in a group of five lakes from different part of India. The Changu Lake stamp with Rs 5 denomination features among the five Himalayan Lakes of India that include Roop Kund, Sela, Tsomo Riri and Chandra Tal. The stamp and First Day Cover had been designed by Bharati Mirchandani and Cancellation designed by Alka Sharma. The stamp is printed in photogravure process and printed at India Security Press, Nasik. It was for the first time in the history of Indian Postage, an individual theme from Sikkim got introduced in Indian postage stamp. For the last few years efforts were made on to feature individual theme from Sikkim. Along the lines various tourist destinations including Rumtek Monastery, Changu (Tsangu) Lake, Guru Dongmor Lake, Nathula Pass and cultural diversity of Sikkim were discussed but it was the more popular Changu (Tsangu) Lake that made the history. Truly no doubt Changu Lake has been one of the major tourist attractions over the years and its incomparable scenic beauty reflects the charisma of the small state of Sikkim.
More than thirty years since the state of Sikkim joined the Indian Union, Sikkim has been struggling for its presence in Indian postal stamps. Apart from four Mt Kanchenjunga stamps on three separate occasions (1955, 1978 and 1988), Red Panda (1955), Blood Pheasant (1963), and Flora and Fauna of North East India (2006), a single illustration of Yumthang valley in 1982 Himalayan Flowers First Day Cover and handful of Sikkim Special Covers, it was a long wait for Sikkim Philately to rejoice.
Despite the fact that Sikkim first made its presence felt in the world of philately way back in 1935 when in this small Himalayan Kingdom a unique postal experiment was conducted by a man named Stephen Hector Smith. The postal experiment got popular with the name Sikkim Rocketmail Experiment 1935.
Although few people know or remember that Sikkim was home to a unique experiment in mail delivery. In fact Sikkim was one of the very few countries ever in the world during the reign of the Chogyal, the Sikkim king, to perform this ambitious achievement. The parcels along with letters and other items were sent from the rockets to the confined destinations. Rocket mail was being sent across the rivers. In fact, there are many covers sent successfully that actually has signature of the late Sir Tashi Namgyal, the Chogyal. In the book “From the diary of Stephen Smith” written by Stephen Smith relating to rockets mail experiments, it has been mentioned that the Sikkim experiment was the most successful among all the pioneering efforts in rocket mailing the world over. The five places where the experiments were conducted were Gangtok, Sarumsa, Ray, Singtam and Rangpo.
Stephen Hector Smith, a pioneer in Indian Rocketmail history chooses Sikkim for his experiment because of its geographical features and mountains. Sikkim is also the first country in the world to successfully dispatch by means of a rocket, a parcel containing small quantities of such useful articles as medicine, tobacco, tea, sugar, etc. Those people who helped Sikkim Rocket experiment succeed included Chogyal Tashi Namgyal, CE Dudley, General Secretary to the Chogyal, Tashi Dadul Densapa, Private Secretary, Rai Sahib Faqir Chand Jali, the state engineer and F Williamson, British Political Officer.
This note on history of Philately in Sikkim shall not be completed without the mentioning of the Revenue Stamps of Sikkim that has been continuing prior to 1917. The oldest found cancellation on Sikkim Revenue Stamp dates back to 8th October 1928 dispatched from Mangan B.O to Gangtok. The central design of the stamp has the south-east face of Mt. Siniolchu, in the north of Gangtok. The Photograph was taken by Hoffmann in the illustration of Claude White’s book “Sikkim and Bhutan”.