Whether you’re a tourist or a local from the city, you just can’t miss the Submarine Museum. Located along the scenic RK Beach, this unique museum is the only one of its kind in Asia.
The INS Kursura began its journey in 1969 as India’s fourth submarine built in Russia. It traversed 73,500 nautical miles during its tenure, which translates to approximately thrice the circumference of the earth! During this time it visited the countries of Russia, Spain, Mauritius and Pakistan, both for the purposes of war and peace-keeping. Equipped with torpedoes, mines, snoop trays and other arsenal, it also participated in the 1971 war of India with Pakistan. It logged 3000 dived hours as well.
The submarine was decommissioned in 2001 after three decades of service, but that was not the end of its journey. The idea of creating a Submarine Museum started to take shape in 2001. The current Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu envisioned its conversion, and thus began the second leg of life for this mammoth giant.
Mammoth it is, as it occupies a pride of place along the Vizag’s RK Beach, stretching over 91 meters, and is longer than even the Boeing 747. But bringing it ashore was a daunting task; as the submarine resisted, perhaps wanting to remain home in the seas. It took a staggering eighteen months and over five and a half crores, to convince and cajole the beast ashore. It finally relented, and embraced the Vizag shore and its people.
After a lot of interior modifications, it was thrown open to the public on August 24, 2002 and attracts lakhs of visitors every day. A team of retired navy personnel serve as tour guides inside the museum. Visitors are taken in a group through the submarine and shown the amazingly confined spaces and trying conditions that the crew of 77 used to live in. Being the only museum of its kind that retains most of its internal equipment, it shows the tiny sections that made for kitchens and dining areas, toilets and sleeping spaces. It shows the tracking and attacking devices that packed power and aided in travelling great distances.
Today the INS Kursura Submarine Museum is the only such museum of its kind in the country, and happens to be the fourth such museum in the world. A trip through this is a must do, because only then will you get an inkling of what it’s like to be a submariner. Life goes beyond the crisp uniforms and the inherent style of the Navy, their life is tough and demanding. And a visit to the Submarine Museum will be an eye opener into how the Navy uses not just physical prowess, but also mental agility and nerves of steel, as they constantly put their lives on the line.