National Geographic : 1963 Mar
ness will make the journey safe and short. Can she desire more?" She died one rainy night, and I, snug in my monastery room, heard drums and trumpets and the chanting of the lamas announce her passing. Over the pass, out of rain, into a new world of sunshine, propped up by prayer and rejuvenated by the great lama's blessing could an old woman desire more? India Watches Over Kingdom Sikkim has shrunk considerably over the centuries. It once included the eastern tracts of Nepal known as Ilam, the Chumbi Valley in present-day Tibet, and the Ha Valley in Bhutan. Southward, Sikkim reached to the plains beyond Kalimpong and Darjeeling, un 422 KODACHROMESBY DESMOND DOING(ABOVE) ANU UKOWNYKINGEYALUtN IHUNUU Y WAMUT til India took this region during British rule. That the country survived at all testifies to the character and determination of its people and rulers. In 1947 India took over the re sponsibilities of the British in Sikkim, and in 1950 entered into a new treaty with the pres ent Maharaja. Today Sikkim has an Indian Dewan, or Chief Minister. With generous aid from India, Sikkim has made great strides. It offers free education and free medical treatment in rapidly multi plying schools and hospitals. Indian experts run demonstration farms and distribute hardy new varieties of grain, fruit, vegetables, and livestock. Jersey cattle from Australia have raised the milk yield; milk, rather than chang, can now be fed to children.