While in Vizag (Visakhapatnam, that is), I popped in to one of its more unlikely tourist attractions: a submarine museum.
This is the INS Kursura, Soviet-built, commissioned in 1969 and in service for a remarkable 32 years, now hauled up alongside the beach at Vizag where it pulls in the punters at a very reasonable 40 rupees a head,
A complement of 75 submariners took to the sea in the Kursura - and as you walk through the vessel you marvel at how so many can have lived on board in such a cramped space for weeks at a time.
The submarine had a disastrous start in service. In 1970, it surfaced directly below an Indian naval ship and required substantial repairs. But it was back in service in time for the India-Pakistan war towards the end of 1971 and undertook patrolling duties.
The museum is well organised, and as long as you keep your head down, it's an enjoyable experience. Lifelike displays show how submariners would have spent their time - at work, in their bunks and eating their meals.
I better you never knew that this is where Tintin and Captain Haddock ended up! No sign of Snowy though ...
The 1971 naval war was quite bloody. On 4 December, a Pakistani submarine, the PNS Ghazi, went down off the Vizag coast with the loss of all 92 on board. The Indian navy said they had sunk an enemy submarine; Pakistan said it was the result of an internal explosion.
There's no mention of the fate of the Ghazi in the submarine museum.
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