ANDHRA PRADESH

Submarine museum home to birds

Safe haven: A squirrel peeps out of its home, built on the outer shell of the corroded sides of the Kursura Submarine Museum at the Beach Road in Visakhapatnam.   | Photo Credit: - Photo: K.R. Deepak

Nivedita Ganguly

VISAKHAPATNAM: Her majestic presence, standing tall against the azure waters of the Bay of Bengal, bears testimony of the three decades of yeoman service she rendered underwater to safeguard the interests of the nation.

The Kursura Submarine Museum, one of its kind in Asia, now provides a unique experience on land for the public by giving a glimpse of the excitement of life under the sea. Even as it attracts hordes of tourists year after year, the museum is also a home to many birds and squirrels that have made their nests in the outer shell of the museum.

For the visitors, the sight of a baby squirrel peeping out of a hole from the museum or the loud calls of birds like mynahs protecting their small ones, is quite a delight.

While the small creatures find it a safe place to seek protection from predatory birds like eagle, the officials of the museum have given up all efforts to drive them off after the birds repeatedly kept returning to their nests.

The submarine displays its complete weapon package, including torpedoes, and gives the public an insight into the life of a submariner. Considered the Grand Old Lady of the Indian Navy, INS Kursura, India’s fourth submarine, was hauled on the beach with the help of the National Ship Design and Research Centre (NASDRC) in 2001. Over the years, the number of visitors registered a steady increase.

The number of visitors rose from 1.8 lakhs in 2002-03 to 2.39 lakhs in 2003-04. There was a marginal decrease to 2.38 lakhs during the next year but it again picked up and the number of visitors increased to 2.53 lakhs during the financial year 2005-06.

While in 2006-07 the number of visitors was 2.32 lakhs, it was 2.52 lakhs in 2007-08.