IN PICTURES: India’s 100th airport is picturesque, tourism destination on its own
Inauguration of Pakyong airport in India’s state of Sikkim reflects the tiny state as a veritable tourist paradise.
India’s 100th airport ensconced in a verdant environs is touted as country’s most beautiful airport.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated Pakyong airport, 33km from state capital Gangtok, putting the tiny Himalayan Northeastern state on India’s aviation map and further boosting the business and tourism prospects.
The airport is equipped with a 3,000 sq meter terminal building, has 1.75-km runway with a width of 30 meter and has the capacity to handle 50 in-bound and as many out-bound passengers.
Perched on a hilltop sheathed in lush greenery the airport is located about two km from Pakyong village, at 4,500 feet above sea level, 60km from India-China border. While landing or taking off the aerial views are bound to astound the visitors.
The landlocked Sikkim sans rail link was sanctioned an airport under the previous Indian government in 2006. Visitors to Sikkim are now set to use the nearest airport in West Bengal’s Bagdogra, which is 125 km away.
Built at a cost of cost of Rs 6.05 billion, over a period of time the airport will connect Sikkim with other countries in the region like Bhutan, Kathmandu and Bangkok where visitors from the state usually go on vacations.
The greenfield airport is an engineering wonder for its soil reinforcement and slope stabilization techniques keeping in view the altitude it was built at.
Integrated structures comprising an ATC tower-cum-fire station, two sophisticated CFT, one terminal building for passengers, high-intensity runway lights, and parking for over 50 vehicles are some of the salient features of the airport.
The picturesque Northeastern state with its spectacular views of the snow-capped Himalayas, celebrated monasteries, gurgling brooks, quaint cafés, rural home stays, endless alpine meadows, organic farms, and one of the highest lakes in the world, will be now looking for a surge in tourism.