The Most Obscure Airports In India

Photo of Mehak Siddiqui
9 February 2017

Airports are a major part of a country’s infrastructure, and they support the economy by enabling international commerce, encouraging tourism, and generating employment. If you take a moment to look beyond size and modernity, you’ll find some Indian airports that stand out for their own unique charms.

Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh

At an altitude of 3,256 meters above sea level, this is the eighteenth highest commercial airport in the world. Previously operated by the Indian Air Force, this airport is named after the statesman and monk, 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche. The Airports Authority of India took over as of February 2016, with a view to expand the airport for civilian purposes. Flights can only operate in the morning due to the presence of strong mountain winds in the afternoons.

, India

Lengpui Airport, Mizoram

Located 32 kilometers from Azawi, the capital of Mizoram, Lengpui is a tabletop airport, meaning that the 2,500-meter-long runway lies on top of a plateau, with either end hanging over deep gorges. This creates an optical illusion that requires extra precision when landing. There are only two other such airports in the country: Mangalore and Kozhikode.

Jubbarhatti Airport

This tiny airport is located 22 kilometers from the popular tourist destination of Shimla. It has just enough space to hold two small aircraft at a time. The now defunct Kingfisher Airlines was previously the sole carrier to operate flights to and from Jubbarhatti. The airport was revived in November 2015 after lying unused for over three years due to safety issues caused by soil erosion that had shrunk the runway.

Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport

CSIA is India’s first airport to house a museum, following the likes of France’s Toulouse Airport and Espace Musees. However, Jaye He far surpasses all other airport museums in scale and ambition, what with nearly 7,000 artifacts, a three-kilometer-long art wall, and works by over 1,500 eminent artists and traditional craftsmen. The museum showcases both invaluable historic pieces as well as new works. Located in the bustling international Terminal 2, Jaye He is arguably the most visited museum in the world.