INS Kursura, the out-of-service submarine that fought in the war of 1971, stands elegantly like a giant whale. In the black color on the famous RK beach of Visakhapatnam aka Vishakhapatnam, it is stationed as a museum. For the public to get a glimpse of the submarines. From a height, it appears like a fish out of the water. It is now one of its kind submarine museum in Asia.
Only the second in the world where you can go inside a submarine. And for some time feel the lives of those who live in them under the water. As they work towards securing our lives on land.
It was built by the Russians and first came to Visakhapatnam in 1970. After being in service for 31 years it was decommissioned. Now it is serving the tourism industry. While educating the general public about how the submarines work and look. More importantly how naval personnel lives inside that cramped space beneath the water for days, weeks, and months long.
INS Kursura Submarine Museum, Visakhapatnam
This is one of those rare museums in India that have ample documentation, maintained displays, and a guided tour of the submarine. Huge boards outside educate you on the basic principles on which submarines work. Like how they are pushed down the sea, and how they can remain there for up to 60 days. And how they are pulled out. The mental and physical strength required to be a submariner can only be imagined.
They have to live with limited water inside the giant machine with no windows to even look out. And cramped place shared by all on board. It also tells you about the history of Indian submarines. And the history and vital statistics of this particular ‘Foxtrot’ machine that you would see.
There is also a pictorial depiction of the construction of this museum. How the ground was laid and how the submarine was stationed here. Around the museum, they have displayed various important components of a submarine. Like a Torpedo, an Indicator buoy, huge batteries, oil coolers, valves, air coolers, etc. A neat board explains the functions of each of these for the technically inclined.
Inside the museum
You are taken inside in a group along with a guide who tells you in detail about the workings of the submarine. You get to see the actual Torpedoes and how they are fired. Inside, it appears you are inside a machine with some very small cabins for sleeping, toilets, and a kitchen for the crew. There are so many controls that you wonder how do they even remember what to use when and for what. Models display how these limited spaces were used. There is a board with the names of all the personnel who worked from this submarine. A proud display along with awards and diving gear.
There is a very cute display of steaming Idlis in the kitchen. And a dining room that looks too formal for that small space. At the fag end is the escape route through a small ladder, in case there is no other way left.
The visit can leave you overwhelmed and you feel a lot of gratitude for the submariners. It is a beauty to admire in its well-maintained surroundings, by the sea. As the waves hit the shore they seem to be yearning to take this fish-like creature inside with them.
If you are going to Vizag for any reason, you must take out time to visit this museum. Highly recommended, just to understand the tough life our naval forces live for us.
Recommend you to read the following Places to visit in Visakhapatnam or Vizag Tour.