National Geographic : 1963 Mar
DEN THONDUPNAMGYAL ) NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY courage it. His Highness personally performed such prayers when the Dalai Lama passed through Sikkim in 1956." "And when Mr. Nehru was on his way to Bhutan via Tibet?" I asked. "Maybe." I remembered that a strange coincidence surrounded the Indian Prime Minister with sunshine and clear skies while the rest of Sikkim was drenched with monsoon rain. I had reached Natu Pass ahead of Mr. Nehru in heavy mist and freezing drizzle. When his caravan approached the pass, the clouds rolled away. For half an hour sunshine warmed us. Then the mists returned and rain fell relentlessly. But by that time Mr. Nehru was well on his way into Tibet, and the Ma haraja was motoring back to Gangtok. The funeral of the saintly lama impressed me deeply. He had died six months before, but Princess Kukula told me that his body was still pliant and fresh, though it had Terraced Rice Fields Cover a Hillside in the Tista Valley Industrious Nepalese immigrants have revo lutionized agriculture in Sikkim. Now form ing 75 percent of the population, they have discarded old slash-and-burn techniques for intensive wet farming of rice. Cardamom plants get a pruning from a Lepcha family. A natural forest under growth, the spice proves a prime source of income for the woods-loving Lepchas. Car damom, whose seeds flavor cookies, bread, curry powder, and coffee, brings more ex port cash to Sikkim than any other crop.