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India - Sikkim
Once an independent kingdom that feuded periodically with Nepal and the British, Sikkim is a landlocked state in the Himalayas that is India's second-smallest (after Goa). Because of its location and history, Sikkim is predominantly Hindu and Buddhist; its residents are descended from both Nepalese and Tibetans, with a small community of migrant residents who work in various commercial pursuits. Given its isolation from the world, Sikkim retains much of its natural beauty, in the form of clear rivers, thick, evergreen forests, meadows of wildflowers, and sharp, imposing mountains. Indeed, within Sikkim, natives still herd yak, tend their fields, and lead lives little changed from centuries before.