. The second largest city of Andhra Pradesh is today famous for its software and film industries, but it has an even longer-standing reputation as a hub of steel manufacture and shipbuilding. Of relatively recent years, it has added another feather to its cap of naval attractions in the form of a submarine museum.
Located at Rama Krishna beach of Visakhapatnam, the submarine named INS Kusura was painstakingly beached and de-commissioned with all official honour and gallantry in 2001. It is the only submarine museum in Asia and only the second of its kind in the entire world.
This undersea vessel boasts a long history of service reaching back to the Cold War. One of the very first foxtrot submarines imported from Russia after the undersea defence initiative of Indias coastline was launched, the INS Kusura was among the vessels purchased by Defence Minister Chavan on his trip to Leningrad in 1969. During his inspection of the subs on this trip, he had been told by the USSRs Naval Commander-in-Chief that this was the first time a non-Russian civilian had been invited into a Soviet submarine. The submarines bought at the conclusion of this trip were specially outfitted to suit the heat, humidity and salinity of the Indian coastal climate, and were required to be refitted every six years. The INS Kusura was one of the eight submarines that still remained in reserve with the Indian Navy during the early 1990s.
Once the time for decommissioning the vessel drew near, the Eastern Naval Command was inspired to open the inactive submarine to the public. This was conceived in order to bring the average civilian closer to the type of lifestyle led by Indian soldiers required to travel and fight undersea in this kind of craft. Visakhapatnam being the home station for the Indian Navys submarines held in reserve as well as the site of its first submarine operational facility, it was naturally decided that the INS Kusura would be beached upon the citys coastline. This task of dragging the vessel inland, undertaken by the Naval Ship Research and Design Centre of Visakhapatnam, was no mean feat. The Museum was finally inaugurated in August 2002.
The length of the submarines spans 90 metres and is powered by 3 engines. The vessel is built to hold up to 75 crew members and withstand the water pressures of the sea at 280 metres. Inside the submarine can be seen the main weapons of an undersea craft of this nature the torpedoes. The vessel is equipped to carry 24 of these lethal charges on a one of the regular 3 month assignment.
Interspersed among the confusion of meters, gauges and displays are basic accommodation facilities packed into a compact space such as kitchen, control room and barracks. Fresh water is a valuable commodity on these long journeys and there are provisions to make sea water drinkable in case of emergency. These primitive conditions are but a small aspect of undersea warfare, where interception of the enemy and destruction of the enemy targets is daily routine, and failure to protect ones vessel would mean certain death.
For those thinking of travel to Andhra Pradesh, this submarine museum is a thrilling must-see venue. The Gateway Hotel Beach Road Visakhapatnam is one of well-reputed Visakhapatnam hotels in the area which affords value for money service and accommodation during your tour of the city.