Tour The World's Most Beautiful Kingdom, Nestled In The Highest Region Of The World

Himalayas Sikkim (Haystack 4x3)

Photo: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division. Dr. Alice S. Kandell Collection of Sikkim Photographs

The kingdom of Sikkim sits tucked away high in the snow-capped Himalayas, hugging the border of Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan.Formerly an independent monarchy, Sikkim became a state of India in 1975. 

The small, mountainous community was well-documented in 1963 when Hope Cooke, an American student from Sarah Lawrence College and former debutante, married the last ruler, Prince Palden Thondup Namgyal.

The following images, which were snapped by Dr. Alice S. Kandell during her visits to Sikkim between 1965 and 1971, offer a poignant look at the culture and landscape of the mystic land, including Buddhist monks, lamas, ancient monasteries, and ceremonial dances.

Couple of North Sikkim at home drink millet beer

Two brothers and a horse

Young lamas learn to play horns

Smiling schoolchildren

School children at the Paljor Namgyal Girls School

Coronation 1965, Queen accepts traditional white scarf

Palden Thondup Namgyal, King of Sikkim, and Hope Cooke, Queen of Sikkim, in brocaded dress, walking to the palace temple during the King's birthday celebration

King and Queen of Sikkim and their daughter Hope Leezum watch birthday celebrations

Prince Palden (second from left) making silly faces with friends

Princess Hope & Queen Hope in the palace

Performers at New Year's ceremony

Monks burn effigy of evil in religious ceremony

A clown dancer participates in ceremonial masked lama dances

A Nepalese woman works with blue-dyed wool

Two villagers making paper

A young girl cans oranges

People carrying wood on their backs as they walk along a mountain road

Woman and a boy farming in a field

Shinglay Lama and grandchildren sit in a haystack near Singhik, Sikkim

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