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INS Vikrant – the naval museum

March 2, 2007

A legendary ship, the first aircraft carrier of Indian Navy, now a naval museum.

The INS Vikrant

It was with a sense of awe that I stood on its decks. I knew the aircraft carrier was huge but it was only when I stood there that I got a sense of it. We had gone there the previous Sunday, a whole bunch of us cousins. It is not open to the public every day…only on specific days (like Navy week) and sundays. Usually when one is living in the same city one usually neglects to see the important places…and this museum is certainly important - from the historical point of view. In fact when I stood there it almost seemed as if the history would rise up and consume me. The liberation of Goa in December 1961. The Indo-Pak war of 1971. Vikrant earning two Mahavir Chakras and 12 Vir Chakras. I had heard the stories from my dad and my uncles (all service officers) but this was the first time that I actually saw the ship first hand.

The museum, which was opened to the public a few years ago has beautiful black and white photographs with descriptions of air operations and landings as well as exhibits on the 1971 war. The ship’s forward engine room displays the propulsion system powered by huge steam turbines and technically inclined people would find this very interesting. There are aircraft on display here too, the very ones like Sea Hawk and Chetak helicopters, which have taken off and landed in action from the Vikrant’s flight deck. Besides there are also submarine models, diving equipment, bombs and mines which are on exhibit. Plus on certain specific days (Navy Week) a documentary film is screened. People are also drawn to the flat, expansive length and breadth of the flight deck, deck-landing mirrors costing crores each, a giant hanger lift which can lift hundreds of persons at one time, the ski jump arrangement and arresting gear on the flight deck. And for a bit of shopping, there is a curio shop which sells mementoes like caps with the Vikrant logo (Rs 60- each), key chains (Rs 25 each) and even large coffee mugs (Rs 120- each). And yeah, a cafe where you have a bite on on tables shaped like propellers! We didn’t visit the cafe, but it sure sounded like fun! Well, the musuem happens to be a big hit with families and children. School visits are common. Entry tickets are Rs 40/- each, for adults and a half ticket for children under 14. There is extra charge for carrying a camera.

Vikrant (Sanskrit vikrānta = “stepped beyond”, i.e. “courageous”, “victorious”) was India’s only carrier for over two decades. It has an interesting history and you can read news reports about how she was procured and what she did during the war here and here and get some more information from this Bharat Rakshak site.

The great ship has traveled or rather, steamed, a total of 4,99,066 nautical miles, about 15 times around the world. Interestingly, the carrier might be preserved for posterity – the only wartime constructed British aircraft carrier to be under possible preservation.

The ship is docked near the Gateway of India, at the naval docks and entry is through the ‘Tiger Gate.” If you are in Mumbai, check it out.

An update: February 28th was a big day on board the Vikrant. The soundtrack of an upcoming film, 1971: The Prisioners of War was released on board the Vikrant. The film is about 54 missing POW’s and stars Manoj Bajpai. Vice Admiral Sangram Singh Byce (quoted in the TOI) said about the film:

No country can claim to be a nation unless it honours its war heroes. I congratulate the makers of the film for accomplishing this noble aim.

The TOI report also goes on to report that the invite for the event, sent from the office of the commander-in-chief, Western Naval Command, is in the form of a handwritten postcard sent by Major Ashok Suri to his father, RS Suri, from a jail in Pakistan.

Update 2: Due to the valued contribution of a Hrishikesh I am adding this:
1. INS Vikrant is not open for Civilians except on the last weeks of November & December.
2. If you still wish to go, you would require a special pass which can be arranged provided you know any employee working inside.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2007 11:53 am

    can u tell me in detail how do i visit the ship?
    What time is the entry allowed and other things

    thnks

  2. March 2, 2007 1:01 pm

    Diagonally opposite Regal cinema you will see the Naval Docks. If you are coming from Fountain, you will pass Jehangir Art Gallery and the Prince of Wales museum and you turn left here. You can in fact ask anyone here where Lions Gate is. Its a huge landmark…Lions Gate is one of the large gates that gives entry into the Naval Docks. However you will not be allowed entry through here but through the Tiger gate. The musuem as far as I know is only open on Sundays (but I could be wrong, some people say on saturdays too) and we went there around noon. I wish I had read the timings, but when I went there I had no idea that I would write about it! In fact I regret I did not take my camera because I love to take pictures too.
    On certain days the Navy tends to keep it open the whole week. Actually if you know someone who works in south mumbai you can perhaps ask him to check it out. Wish I could help you more!

  3. VIKRANT VINOD GUPTA permalink
    March 28, 2007 2:16 pm

    I THANK U PAPA & MAMA FOR GIGEING ME SUCH PRESTIGEOUS NAME…

    THANKS FOR PROVIDEING ME THE BEST OF PRISED POSSESSION & THATS MY NAME…

  4. Prasad Ranade permalink
    December 4, 2007 5:06 pm

    I want to visit INS vikrant on this saturday (08-12-2007)
    Can i visit? is it open? if you don’t know pl. tell me source of information about museum timings.

  5. December 4, 2007 5:11 pm

    @Prasad Ranade:

    whatever information I have, is already in the post.I got most of it because I went there myself.

  6. Yogesh Nandvikar permalink
    December 15, 2007 7:53 pm

    Thanks for the info

  7. SK VERMA permalink
    November 25, 2008 12:43 pm

    Here no body has mentioned the slogan of INS Vikrant, that is :-
    “JAYEM SAM YUDDHISPRADHAH” , taken from Srimadbhagwatgeeta. Which means “WE WIN OVER THOSE WHO DARE TO FIGHT”.

  8. Shaleen.Sreekumar permalink
    December 8, 2009 2:37 pm

    Can you please tell me when can i visit INS Vikrant before 14th dec,2009.

  9. k.r.balasubramanian. permalink
    December 24, 2009 2:22 pm

    I would like to visit INS Vikrant with my kids on 27th or 28th December. Will it be open for public. Kindly reply.

    I have no idea. – Nita

  10. November 9, 2010 9:24 pm

    Hi,… I am Karunakar Das , Vikrat is proud of Indian Navy And also India .it serve in indian navy for somy years.Now it serves indian public.

    • ashish permalink
      December 8, 2010 12:15 pm

      i wish to see this beauty on saturday or sunday i.e 11/12 of december 2010 can i have details whether it is open for general public or the timings..

  11. santanu sarkar permalink
    December 7, 2011 11:05 am

    i want to visit ins vikrant but no information on it.Where can i get information about it? in some newspaper it is given that during navy week 1dec to 9dec it is open for general public but what are the timing for it? pl.let me know soon.

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