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Sikkim is a state in northern India, situated at the foot of the Himalayas. It was an independent kingdom until 1975 and benefits, even today, from specific political rights. The inhabitants are particularly friendly, joyful and welcoming mountain people. In Sikkim the roads are scarce and some places are to be reached only by narrow winding stone-paved footpaths. Earth is often the only available building material, together bamboo and wood. The pictures were taken during a five-day hike in South Sikkim during April 2009.