Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim rises above the northeast, on the ridge of a hillock at an altitude of 1,700 metres. A landscape of stark cliffs, which plunge into the valleys below, it is known both for its scenic beauty and striking views of Mount Kanchenjunga, which is the third highest peak in the world.
A more recently established Indian state, Sikkim became a part of India only in 1975. Before this, the state formed by the Namgyal kings in the seventeenth century was ruled by the Chogyal Buddhist priest-kings. Yet the Buddhist influence remains the strongest influence and continues to shape this state, which shares its borders with the Tibet Autonomous Region in China, Bhutan in the east, and Nepal in the west.