A total of three tourism festivals are organized by the government of Sikkim to attract more visitors to the state and celebrate its culture and tradition.
The most popular among them is the Lampokhari Tourism Festival or the Sikkim Summer Carnival held at end of March or early April every year.
The next most well known celebration is the Heritage and Tourism Festival held every year in the second week of March. Winter is welcomed in Sikkim by inaugurating the Gangtok Food and Culture Festival held in December every year.
Here we take a look at the features and celebrations of all three Sikkim Tourism Festivals.
Legends behind the Lampokhari Tourism Festival
This summer fest has been arranged by the Department of Tourism of Sikkim since 1981. Beginning just at the onset of summer, the celebrations continue for one month in the White Hall of Gangtok. Every section of the Sikkim community is encouraged to take part in the celebrations and entertain the visitors.
Customs and Traditions of the Lampokhari Tourism Festival
It is customary to time this festival with the celebrations of Ramnavmi of the Hindus. Though cultural performances are staged, the prime attraction of the festival, since its inception, has been adventure sports on the hills and rivers of Sikkim. Horse riding, paragliding, white water rafting and the offbeat yak safari draw crowds in millions.
Cultural Importance of Lampokhari Tourism Festival
Sikkimese art and craft stalls and flower shows are arranged amidst the breathtaking natural view of the state. A month long food festival selling only traditional Sikkim cuisine prepared by locals is another major attraction of the festival.
Legends behind the Heritage and Tourism Festival
This festival, also held during summers, is set in a hamlet of West Sikkim called Hee Bermiock. It is organized by the Cultural and Heritage Conservation Society of the tourism development unit of the hamlet. The festival is staged very close to the legendary Khangchendzonga peak.
Customs and Traditions of the Heritage and Tourism Festival
Visitors can actually go to the houses of locals if in Sikkim during this festival. The government makes arrangements for community songs & dances and lunch & dinner to be held in the houses of the locals so that visitors can get a feel of the local culture. Do not forget to taste the local alcohol.
Cultural Importance of Heritage and Tourism Festival
The aim of the festival authorities is to give tourists a feel of the Sikkim that existed three decades ago. It was during this time that community song & dance routines were introduced by the field workers of Sikkim who had no other source of entertainment. So this is perhaps the most culturally rich festival of Sikkim.
Legends behind the Gangtok Food and Culture Festival
This is a winter carnival of Sikkim set by the tourism department of the state government. The celebrations are held at the Titanic Park of MG Marg and in the premises of the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim.
Customs and Traditions of the Gangtok Food and Culture Festival
It is compulsory for the celebrations to begin with a procession across Gangtok town. The ethnic sets that host the cuisine and cultural programs of Sikkim are a reflection of the rich tradition of this East Himalayan state.
Cultural Importance of the Gangtok Food and Culture Festival
This winter festival of Sikkim is culturally vibrant because it plays host to not only traditional dance and music performances but also live band performances by youngsters. It also gives tourists the opportunity to experience mouth watering local dishes and the beautiful winter morning sunrise.
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