Sikkim's rich Buddhist culture attracts tourists

ANI, January 4, 2010

Gangtok,Sikkim (India) -- Sikkim which is situated amidst Himalayan Hills is a paradise for tourists. Now the state Government has stepped up its efforts to promote many Budhist sites and festivals as tourist's destinations.

Kagyad chaam is the one of the four forms of masked dances in the state.

Performed by Lamas of Buddhist monastery on the every 28th and 29th day of Tibetan calendar, the dances symbolize exorcizing of evil spirits of previous year and welcoming the good spirits at the dawn of New Year.

During the dance costumed Lamas with gaily-painted masks holding the ceremonial swords jump and swing to the rhythm of resounding drums.

The vibrant dance not just enthralls locals, but foreign tourists as well.

Kagyad dance enacts various themes from the Buddhist mythology and culminates with the burning of effigies made of flour, wood and paper.

A congregation of local Buddhist followers and tourists gather once a year to witness this extraordinary dance.

The Buddhist festivals, which reflect centuries-old tradition of Buddhism in State also contribute to the growth of tourism industry.

According to Sikkim Travel Agent Association general secretary Lukendra Rasily, "Tourists finds it very very interesting, very different and when they come to Sikkim they go back with lot of memories which are not available easily anywhere in the world."

"The tour operator is marketing; the Government of India is also marketing through their Incredible India slogan," he added.

Sikkim has a lot more to offer to the visitors, snow clad mountains, thick green forests and monasteries.

Peace and normalcy have brought in many visitors to the state. Over 300,000 tourists visited Sikkim this year alone.