Sikkim: Hope-la in Gangtok

There is usually little zest to life in Sikkim, India's tiny protectorate in the Himalayas. For day-to-day kicks, some citizens can only contemplate the crags of majestic Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain, marvel at the gay flowers that grow in profusion beneath its peaks, or laugh gaily at the frolicking wild pandas of the region. But last week excitement galore gripped the populace as chic photographers, starchy diplomats and perfumed post-debs from abroad suddenly inundated the charming little capital of Gangtok.

The occasion was the long-postponed coronation of His Highness Chogyal (King) Palden Thondup Namgyal, Sikkim's own maharajah. Squatting...

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