Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Be our guest; return as a friend!!

I am a proud Sikkimese and whenever someone points out a finger to my Sikkim, it obviously hurts me.  Being blessed to be born in this serene land of Sikkim makes me more attached to the nature and its surroundings.
Since last seven years I had been blogging about Sikkim and sharing off my knowledge with the world. From my side, I am promoting my state and proving a point that a name called ‘Sikkim’ exists in a globe. Sikkim is a small and a young state….once an independent kingdom that later on became part of a mighty Indian Union.
Since last ten years, we (off our own) have been emerging…well growing in different sectors like tourism, education and others. Our state’s growth in the last one decade can be compared with any places in the world. We were in high spirits that global travel guide ‘Lonely Planet’ had named our state as the "best region to visit in 2014”. It was in-fact a matter of pride for us.
Few days back, a writer publishes an article ‘North Bengal, Sikkim & Manas National Park’ in different bird sites about his trip report. It was a well written family field trip and in places it was interesting, but I am sorry to say I found few sentences about Sikkim that could had been written in a better way.
Before going through his words, let me say about few things that make our Sikkim different from others. We are the first Indian state to outline an eco-tourism policy that helped in the development of the village tourism. Sikkim is the first state in India to make laws for conservation of forest and wild life. Ten minutes to Earth is a unique and pioneering initiative in the world. Sikkim has the highest road density in the country. Our state is encouraging adventure tourism in a larger scale and people are being individually self dependent. In Sikkim, tourism is trade and trade here means providing employment.
Well, the article reads the writer was on his first visit to Sikkim and he finds three districts in Sikkim. To the readers outside Sikkim, I would like to share that Sikkim has four districts. Since the state has sensitive borders with China, most of the areas are restricted to foreigners and others need official permit. Visitors can enter Sikkim through Rangpo and Melli but not without authorized letters, so beware of being caught.
I strongly advise the tourist to avoid what he writes, ‘Most tour operators will take clients to West Sikkim as it does not require a second permit and cars from West Bengal are allowed in too’.  In the past, it has happened that a foreign visitor was politely returned from Sikkim as he did not had a proper permit that too in West Sikkim. He had illegally entered through West Bengal route.

Birding is one such field in Sikkim that is closely gaining popularity with each passing days. About Kitam Bird Sanctuary, he writes  ...’This is the only bird sanctuary in Sikkim and its website promises much. However, the planted forest looks very unsuitable for birds. I believe the declaration of Kitam as a bird sanctuary was more politically motivated than actually a suitable place for birds and the only bird we saw after an hour was Red Junglefowl’.
Kitam Bird Sanctuary is first of its kind when it comes of birding in Sikkim and within couple of years we will have few more bird sanctuary in our state. I am just a year old in understanding birds. Whatsoever I have learned I believe those shy souls does take their own moments to play hide and seek in the greenery.
If you are in Kitam and want to catch the best birding experience, you should be here during September-October and April-May. Don’t expect those feathered beauties to spread their magic in winters.  
The planted forest as lines reads seems funny. With a forest area of 47.3 percent of the total geographical area; Sikkim is India's greenest state. Forest is our treasure and we are into preservation and not politically motivated. We are just spreading green messages!!
I am sure whatever nationality we belong whether German or British, whether a Goan or a Gujarati, we all love our place and acknowledge good hospitality to anyone who visit us. When we write in an internet, there are millions of people reading and watching it. A silly mistake can make a negative impact.
We, Sikkimese people are peace loving and we would like to share our world with others. 

Visit Sikkim- be our guest; return as a friend!!