Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state located in the Himalayan mountains. The state borders Nepal to the west, China's Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and east, and Bhutan to the southeast, while the state of West Bengal lies to the south. With around 607,000 inhabitants as of 2011, Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa in total area, covering approximately 7,096 km² (2,740 sq mi). Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas; the climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine, and Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim's border with Nepal. Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity. It also has the only open land border between India and China. Sikkim's capital and largest city is Gangtok.
Sikkim is the only state in India with an ethnic Nepali majority. Sikkim has 11 official languages: Nepali (which its lingua franca), Bhutia, Lepcha, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Tamang and Sunwar. English is taught in schools and used in government documents. The predominant religions are Hinduism and Vajrayana Buddhism. Sikkim's economy is largely dependent on agriculture and tourism, and as of 2011 the state has the fourth-smallest GDP among Indian states, although it is also among the fastest-growing.
Nestling as it does in the Himalayan mountains, the state of Sikkim is characterized by mountainous terrain. Almost the entire state is hilly, with an elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to 8,585 metres (28,000 ft). The summit of Kangchenjunga - the world's third-highest peak - is the state's highest point, situated on the border between Sikkim and Nepal. For the most part, the land is unfit for agriculture because of the rocky, precipitous slopes. However, some hill slopes have been converted into terrace farms. Numerous snow-fed streams have carved out...