The Lepchas – a tiny Himalayan community spread across Sikkim, the Darjeeling Hills, the south-western parts of Bhutan, and the Ilam District of Nepal have succinct stories illustrating moral values and tales about their inhabitancy of these regions since time immemorial

The beauty in the culture of the Lepcha people lies in its simplicity. Known as ‘born botanists’ and ‘pure naturalists’ they are intensely aware of the surroundings they live in. 

In Sikkim, they can be found across all four districts, from the north to south, and from the east to the west. But, they are mostly confined to Dzongu- a Lepcha reserve in North Sikkim where only a Dzongu-born Lepcha is entitled to own land. A four-hour drive from Gangtok – Sikkim’s capital, a large part of Dzongu is the core part of Khangchengdzonga National Park. The park was also included in the Unesco World Heritage Site’s list in 2016 and has been declared a ‘mixed heritage’ site, the only one of its kind in India. 

Kritika sarda
lonely planet writer

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