If you’re planning an itinerary for your upcoming trip to Kodagu, you have one more place to add to your list – General Thimayya Memorial Museum. The landmark museum is all set to get inaugurated on at 3.15 pm on 6 February 2021 by the President Ram Nath Kovind
General Kodendera Subayya Thimayya, one of the most notable Indian soldiers from Kodagu, gets a befitting honor for his valuable services to the country.
After years of restoration work, General Thimayya’s mansion, ‘Sunny Side’, has been converted into a beautiful war museum.
Spread across 2.6 acres on G T Road in Madikeri, Kodagu district, the war memorial will feature a variety of antique weaponry and war relics, including a canon and a decommissioned MiG-21 fighter jet.
Read: Madikeri Fort, Coorg
General Thimayya Memorial Museum: Quick Facts
- Address: Mahadevpet, Madikeri, Karnataka – 571201 (Map)
- Timings: 10 AM to PM
Who Is General Thimayya – An Eminent Soldier
General Thimayya was one of the most eminent soldiers of the Indian Army. Lovingly called Timmy by his colleagues, he served the Indian Army from 1926 to 1961. He had many successful missions, including the time when he commanded the 19th Infantry Division in Jammu and Kashmir in 1948.
He led the surprise attack from the forward-most tank and was instrumental in driving the Pakistani army out of Kashmir. He also served as the Chief of Army Staff from 1957 until he retired in 1961.
General Thimayya Memorial Museum, Coorg – Major Attractions
When you enter the premises of General Thimayya Memorial Museum, you’ll notice the famous battle tank ‘Himath’ strategically placed at the entrance. This was one of the war tanks used by the Indian army during the India-Pakistan war in 1971 and was donated by the Army Training Centre in Pune for the museum.
As you enter the residence, you’ll find stunning pieces of art depicting the bravery of the Indian infantry on the battlefield. The museum has a varied collection of art and books on the Indian armed forces as well as military uniforms and articles used by General Thimayya.
Arms And Ammunitions At General Thimayya Memorial Museum
One of the major attractions of the General Thimayya Memorial Museum is the assortment of arms and ammunition, which are over 50 to 60 years old.
You will find light and medium mission guns, self-loading rifles, rocket launchers, 32 mm and point 38 rifles, 7.62 barrel rifles, and 303 barrel rifles which have been previously used by Indian army soldiers in many operations.
But one weapon that stands out from the lot is the famous Bofors gun, a huge canon which has been transported and installed by the Madras Regiment of the Indian Army.
All the weapons you see in the museum have been restored using state-of-the-art techniques and have had their parts reassembled by experienced restorers. Most of the weapons were donated by General Bipin Rawat, the current Chief of Indian Army.
He had asked the museum forum members to choose any 24 weapons out of a whopping 1,200 arms. Additionally, you’ll find many personal weapons used by soldiers for one-on-one combats.
Another major attraction of the memorial is a decommissioned MiG-21 fighter jet and interceptor aircraft, which again was used in the India-Pakistan war in 1971 by the Indian Air Force. Three concrete platforms have been used to support the enormous jet!
You can learn about fighter jet, weaponry, and articles placed inside the museum through audio and video recordings. The museum forum members would allow visitors to feel the weapons to instill a sense of pride amongst them and to motivate the young generation to pursue a career serving their motherland.
You will also find a mural of Field Marshal Claude John Eyre Auchinleck, the British Army commander during the Second World War at Sunny Side. The museum also has a war diary which has handwritten stories of different wars fought by the Indian soldiers.
Nina Cariappa – The General’s Pillar Of Strength
Nina Cariappa, General Thimayya’s wife, was also an achiever in her own right. Nina had accompanied General Thimayya to Quetta after they got married in 1935.
The same year, a devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.7 had occurred in Quetta, killing around 60,000 people. Nina was deeply affected by this and had taken up a lot of philanthropic work to help families who suffered in the calamity.
She was later awarded the prestigious ‘Kaiser-e-Hind’ award for her social work.
How Sunny Side Became A War Memorial
The mansion was bought by the transport department in 1972 for Rs 2 lakhs. The residents of Kodagu have been requesting the state government to convert the mansion into a memorial for years.
It was only decades later, in 2005, that the Karnataka state government took major steps for the conversion to commemorate General Thimayya’s achievements and keep his memories alive.
The project was sanctioned only in 2013 with a budget of 5 crores and the initial renovation work started in early 2019. The project was delayed in the next few years due to fewer funds, space issues, and the pandemic situation.
To make up for the less space, some of the land of the RTO quarters situated near the site was given for expanding the memorial. Enough funds have been allocated too.
All the restoration work is now complete, and the museum will be inaugurated on 6th February by President Ram Nath Kovind.
To enhance the aesthetic appeal of the museum, the state government is planning to convert a 2-acre plot into a park and have a statue of General Thimayya installed in it.