Home Institution

Yale University

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


During the Chogyal (Tib. chos rgyal1) reign, the first and last monarchy in Sikkim, land and various forms of taxes derived from land ownership were powerful instruments of the ruling class, namely the Chogyal family, the aristocratic clans, and the royal lamas. It is the objective of this paper to examine the institution of land ownership and taxation as a reflection of the deeply seated and potent clan politics of Sikkim. Through available records and literature as well as interviews with head lamas, monastic affiliates and the Sikkimese public, using a combination of narratives and analysis, this author hopes to present a balanced, yet personal treatment of the subject. The research took place in West Sikkim, of which monasteries and heritage sites stood witness to the birth and development of the Chogyal government, making it an ideal location for this historical inquiry.


Demography, Population, and Ecology | Growth and Development | Place and Environment | Social and Cultural Anthropology