National Geographic : 1963 Nov
Throngs Milling About the Palace Await a Glimpse of the Bridal Pair Nobles and farmers, diplomats and yak herdsmen, generals and traders, all guests of the Maharaja, partook of his bounty. Twenty cooks prepared a Gar gantuan feast that included mountains of rice prepared in scores of ways. Neighboring Nepal and Bhutan sent contingents of guests, as did India. Ref ugees from Red-held Tibet arrived in well-worn garments, and nearly 200 vis itors from the West flew and jeeped in. "Physically, the nation shows vivid contrasts," says the author. "The lower valleys lie only a thousand feet above sea level and grow rank with subtropi cal vegetation. A few miles away, Hi malayan peaks reach for the sky with fingers eternally gloved in ice." This photograph looks down from the temple roof. Bhutanese lent awn ings; stylized bats square the corners. Prayer wheel in one hand, rosary beads in the other, an old man pauses occasionally to drink chang-fermented millet steeping in a bamboo cup. Scarlet-jacketed Sikkim Guard, the kingdom's entire independent militia, musters 60 men. Each wears the royal crest and a plume of peacock and king-crow feathers. Hats are of cane. In all Sikkim, only one old Lepcha still weaves them.