Sikkim at the Delhi Durbar of 1903

Photograph of one of the Sikkim tents at the Delhi Durbar in 1903. 
The earlier Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim was a secluded one until it made her contacts with the British East India Company. The Anglo- Gurkha war has provided her a bigger platform to maintain a cordial relation with the British. Though, she pleased the East India Company by transferring the Hilly tracts (that also includes plains of south of Teesta) of Darjeeling in 1935, she was frequently victimized by the mercantile policies of the Company. The whole reign of Maharaja Sir Thotub Namgyal can be regarded as a period of “Dissatisfaction” in Anglo-Sikkim Relations. The appointment of Political Officer in Sikkim was indeed a new measure taken up by the British Indian Government to maintain a status-quo at the buffer zone; on the contrary, it led the British Indian Government to have an Upper Hand in the Administration of Sikkim. She was kept in a ‘Political Seclusion’ by the British Political Officer, who designated himself as the de-facto ruler of the Kingdom.
It can be said that Sikkim had broken its political slumber only after attending the Delhi Durbar of 1903. The Durbar was an event organized by the then Viceroy of India Lord Curzon, (1898-1905). The main motive for the grand ceremony was to celebrate the coronation of newly crowned King Edward VII who was declared Emperor of India on New Year’s Day, 1903.
The programme of events lasted over 10 days. It began with the grand opening procession on 29th December, where the Viceroy, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, other British VIPs and Indian Princes paraded through the streets of Delhi on elephants.
Sikkim tents at the Delhi Durbar, 1903. A Sketch of  Beryl White
The ruler of Sikkim, Sir Thotub Namgyal was also invited in the event to attend the Grand Celebration. The Maharaja contentedly accepted the invitation, and deputed his son and successor, Sidkyong Trulku, the Maharaj-Kumar, to be his representative. The native Ruling chiefs were allotted camping sites along with the others Sikkim also got a place to build its camp to be the witness of the huge Extravaganza. The whole of India was then delighted; Sikkim also got a chance to be a part of it.
The Sikkimese tents were delightfully picturesque and unusual, made after Tibetan fashion with an elaborate design in appliqué cloth of many colours on the roofs, while the sides were decorated with the eight lucky signs: The Wheel of Life; the Conch Shell, or Trumpet of Victory; the Umbrella; the Victorious Banner; the Golden Fish; the Lucky Diagram; the Lotus; and the Vase: so constantly reproduced in Buddhist ornamentation. The camp attracted many visitors, amongst them Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. In the absence of the Maharaja, the Maharaj-Kumar was allowed to represent his father and was accorded his salute of fifteen guns, Cavalry escort, and military guard on the camp. He also took his place in all the great State functions, riding an extremely fine elephant lent for the occasion by the Betiah Raj, in the Chiefs’ Procession, beside the Mahraja of Cooch Behar, and presenting his address to the King-Emperor through the Viceroy at the great Durbar.
The speech of Maharaj Kumar Sidkyong Trulku was very distinguishing  : ‘May His Majesty King Edward VII, from the time of occupation of this Golden Throne, exercise power over all these worlds; may be live for thousands of cycles and ever sustain all living creatures in joy and happiness.’ 
It was the Kumar’s first attempt at playing host to a number of European guests, and he did it very nicely with Mrs. White’s help, looking carefully after the comfort of the eight or ten guests staying in the camp and always delighted to welcome people to lunch or dinner. He was most appreciative of any assistance we could give him, and constantly said he would have been quite unable to carry out any of his arrangements alone.’
The Sikkimese representatives headed by the heir apparent to the throne Sidgyong Trulku reached Delhi to attend the celebration on December 16th 1902 in a special train. It is to be noted here that the delegation had to board itself from the Siliguri Junction to reach Delhi. They were also accompanied by the Bhutanese representatives. According to Beryl White who also prepares a sketch of the Sikkimese Tents during the event-The Sikkimese camp is horse shoe shaped, with a round grass centre. On the right entrance are the tents for the guests. The left side is wholly Tibetan in design and material. A row of tall masts with prayers printed on red, green and blue cloth lead to the entrance of a large courtyard formed of Tibetan cloth, emblazoned with the emblems of good luck, interlaced circles being conspicuous. 
The centre of the court yard is occupied by the same signs worked in flowering plants, while the walls are adorned with ancient portraits of saints painted on large banners.
The main room is surmounted by a roof literally covered with conventional signs in which the head and hands of the protecting Sikkim demons are conspicuous, while eight emblems of happiness are worked in colours on four of the front tents and four of the back. 
 The interior displays a complete Lama altar, with magnificent specimens of ecclesiastical work in gold and silver plate.
On the walls are ancient specimens of embroidered priestly robes, surmounted by unique aprons and carved human bones, with a magnificent deep fringe of deep embroidered silk; while a canopy of silk covers the space where the visitors are received.
Scattered about are quaint swords, handsome rings, enormous trumpets, and various curios. A covered way leads to the dining room, where the Kumar, who talks English, takes his meals with his guests.
The interior is draped plainly in scarlet, but the outside of the tent is also covered with Tibetan insignia. The whole has been designed by and carried out under the immediate supervision of the Kumar. It took some months to complete. Beyond is another smaller Tibetan enclosure for purely business purposes. 
This is the first occasion on which a complete Tibetan camp has been seen in the plains of India. The elephant which carried the Kumar is a magnificent tusker, one of the finest in Delhi, while the howdah and trappings are wholly of gold-plate embroidery.’ 

 Information about the events in the Delhi Durbar of 1903 and Photographs are taken from