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|Elevation||1,120 m (3,670 ft)|
|• Official||Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Tamang and Sunwar|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (IST)|
Pakyong (Nepali: पाक्किम) is a town in the East Sikkim district of the Indian state of Sikkim located in the foothills of the Himalayas. The small town is also Sub Division of East District and holds many government offices. Pakyong used to be a small settlement until the central government approved a new greenfield airport to be constructed by Punj Lloyd.
The town has a missionary run school called St. Xavier's, which ranked as one of the top two schools in Sikkim during the 1990s. Notable among its alumni are the Padmashri awardee footballer Baichung Bhutia. The "National Research Centre for Orchids", (ICAR Institute) is also located in the town.
Not much is known about the historical past of this little town. But the existence of old British bunkers at British Killa suggest the presence of armed bunkers sometime in the past.
The name pakyong comes from the lepcha word "pa yong" meaning "bamboo of the bow". As was a common practise of the lepcha's to name a place after the essential items found at the place.
The local economy is confined to the school and minor businesses run by the locals. Ginger is cultivated and floriculture is popular, the geographical location makes these a very viable sector. Goondruk, Kinema, Sinki are popular fermented foods sold in the local market. "Dalle Khorsani", the red hot chilli is also popular among the local vegetable cultivators. The villages surrounding the small town are Namcheypong, Raigoan, Pachey, Samsing, Dikling, Pachak, Pacheykhani, Dugalakha, Karthok etc. Cow milk, Curd, Churpi(residue of boiled buttermilk) are other means of earning income for the villagers.
The town is well connected to all major parts of Sikkim and its neighbouring states. Good number of taxi services to Gangtok, Kalimpong, Rhenock, jorethang and Siliguri are available. Direct taxis services to Kalimpong and Siliguri are available usually before 9:00 AM and they usually ply back home by evening; hence the early timings. However, taxis to local destinations like Gangtok and Ranipool are available all day at nominal fees. For a more personalised and comfortable option, taxis could be reserved to go to other non-serviced towns such as Darjeeling, Kurseong, Changu etc.
Pakyong is connected to the rest of India by an all-weather metalled highway, NH-31A which runs from Siliguri to Gangtok. The NH-31A can be accessed from Pakyong at Ranipool (18 km) or at Rangpo (26 km).
The total distance from Pakyong to Siliguri is 120 km. The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport, 16 km (9.9 mi) from Siliguri. Although Sikkim does not have an airport yet, it is linked to Bagdogra airport, near Siliguri, via a regular helicopter service, the Sikkim Helicopter Service from Gangtok. Pakyong Greenfield Airport is currently under construction.
People and Culture
Ethnic Nepalis, who settled in the region during British rule, comprise the majority of the population of Pakyong. Lepcha, native to the land, and Bhutias also constitute a sizable portion of the populace. Immigrant resident communities not native to the region include the Marwaris who form the backbone of the business community and own most of the shops; the [Biharis], people from State of Bihar, who are engaged in different trades owing to their talents,good number of Begali peoples involved in carpentry work, like any other parts of India. Thanks also to the school, the town has attracted quite a cosmopolitan population with sprinkling of people from as far down south as Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Nepali is the most widely spoken language. English and Hindi are also widely spoken and understood in most parts of the state as a whole. Other languages spoken include Bhutia (Sikkimese), Tibetan and Lepcha.
Being secular, all major Indian festivals, such as Diwali, Holi, Christmas, Easter Id, and Makar Sankranti (the popular Hindu festivals) along with the Buddhist festivals like Losar, Loosong, Bhumchu, Saga Dawa, Lhabab Duechen and Drupka Teshi are celebrated in with most government offices and schools remaining closed.
Hill people are by nature sports and music lovers and it is common to see school kids scurrying home with guitars strung on their backs. Western Hip-Hop music being played in homes,restaurants and in school concerts is common. Football (soccer) and cricket are the two most popular sports and the St Xaviers School ground serves as the venue for enthralling battles for various tournaments most notably the Independence Day Cup which have in the past featured teams as far as from Calcutta, Nepal and Bhutan. The school ground is a very popular cultural venue with public functions like Independence Day celebrations being held here on grand scales.
Local favourites like momo, thukpa, chowmein, gyathuk and wonton are available in the most of the small restaurants in Pakyong. The momo is a popular snack, beef, or pork filling, which is steamed and served with a soup. The hills traditionally have quite a liberal attitude towards drinks and in many of the local functions like marriages etc., alcohol plays an important role.Local beverage commonly sold is raksi.
The attractions in Pakyong are the Dikling mane-lakhang, Shivalaya temple, Pacheykhani cave, Changey monastery, Devi Mandir,Karthok monastery and Monks’ Retreat Centre.Wednesday Bazar 'hart' is a popular local attraction.The construction of greenfield airport is also another site that people from outside come and see.
RDD complex is the best place to visit in winter with pine trees surrounded and a small park with a frost chilling cold.Also one can go for treeking to Jhandi dara,which is located at top most part of Pakyong and see the amazing view from there.It is around three hours journey by foot from main town. Noab gaon a place near pakyong is also called the virgin valley and is the hill whose top is british killa. The rdd complex also lies in the area of virgin valley.
St. Xavier's School, JNV ,Dikling Sr. Sec School are popular educational institutions. Pakim Palatine College, Pakyong is providing higher education to the local students and students from outside town such as Gangtok, Rhenock, Ranipool. Also number of students are studying from Bhutan. Puspanjali school located in Pakyong is one of the best developing autonomous educational institution in the town. There are education facilities for children in village areas too. Various villages that are far from main town has junior high school or at least primary school in their places, like the Raigoan, Damlakha, Pacheykhani, Pachey, Ahu Santi etc. Government Senior Secondary School Mamring was established in 1952. Government Primary School Takchang too