Sunny Side Museum to showcase a slice of Indian Military history
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Sunny Side Museum to showcase a slice of Indian Military history

January 31, 2021

President Ram Nath Kovind to open General Thimayya Memorial Museum in Madikeri on Feb. 6

Madikeri: ‘Sunny Side’, the residence of General Kodandera S. Thimayya that has been converted into General Thimayya Memorial Museum, will be dedicated to the nation by President Ram Nath Kovind on Feb. 6 at 3.45 pm. The museum is located on G.T. Road and the building earlier housed the office of RTO that has been shifted now. 

The works on the museum was delayed as there was shortage of funds and a lack of concrete plan to convert the house of the celebrated General from Kodagu into a museum though the Government had in 2006 announced the museum plans.

There was a huge tussle for the land and the building as it housed the RTO Office and its guest house. Thanks to the efforts of Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa-General K.S. Thimayya Forum and its office-bearers, the place has been converted into a national memorial with many attractions.

It is a must-visit for all tourists who come to this tiny district that has contributed immensely to the Indian Defence. The highest position in the Defence has been occupied by Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa and there are innumerable Lieutenant Generals, Brigadiers, and Air Vice Marshals, Air Marshals, Commodores and Admirals who have served the nation and who are known for their daring acts.

Himmat and MiG-21

The main attraction of the museum is an Army Tank “Himmat” that was transported by road from Kirkee War Cemetery at Khadki near Pune in Maharashtra. It was used during the India-Pakistan war in 1971. When the then Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat visited Kodagu to unveil the statues of Field Marshal Cariappa and General Thimayya on Cauvery College premises in Gonikoppal a few years ago, he had promised to send the war tank to the museum.

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Another attraction in the museum is MiG-21, a supersonic jet fighter and interceptor aircraft that had played a vital role in the India-Pakistan war of 1971. The aircraft was not being used for the last 15 years and the estimated cost of the aircraft is Rs. 45 lakh.

Art works featuring the valour of Indian soldiers on the battlefield have now occupied the centre stage at ‘Sunny Side’ and the articles used by Gen. Thimayya, military uniforms, books and information on Indian Army, Navy and Air Force have been displayed. Over 24 arms used by the soldiers, 50 to 60 Light Machine Guns, Medium Machine Gun, and Self Loading Rifles. 7.62, .38 rifle, and 303 Bore rifles, rocket launchers, 32 mm rifle and 38 mm riflesand others find a place in the museum.

A daring move that scared Pak army

Gen. Thimayya served as the Chief of Army Staff from 1957 to 1961 in the crucial years leading up to the conflict with China in 1962. He inspired his soldiers to carry parts of Army tanks up to a height of 12,000 feet snow-clad mountains of Zojila Pass — one of the highest Passes in the world — when Pakistan planned to annex Kashmir by force during their offensive of 1947-48. 

It was a daring move and the Pakistan army ran away after seeing the tanks pointing guns at them. The parts of tanks were carried up the mountains overnight and were assembled by early morning of Nov. 1, 1948. The very appearance of the tanks utterly dampened the morale of the bewildered Pakistanis who either fled or were vanquished. Once Zojila was taken, the road to Kargil was reopened and Ladakh was safe. Ultimately, on Nov. 24 Kargil was re-taken. Thus, the unofficial 1st Indo-Pak War (and perhaps the longest and toughest of them all) ended in success owing to the bold, shrewd and relentless pursuit led by Gen. Thimayya.

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