The INS Vikrant Museum

A legendary ship, the first aircraft carrier of Indian Navy, now a naval museum.

It was with a sense of awe that I stood on its decks. I knew the aircraft carrier was huge but it was only when I stood there that I got a sense of it. We had gone there the previous Sunday, a whole bunch of us cousins. It is not open to the public every day…only on specific days (like Navy week) and sundays. Usually when one is living in the same city one usually neglects to see the important places…and this museum is certainly important – from the historical point of view. In fact when I stood there it almost seemed as if the history would rise up and consume me. The liberation of Goa in December 1961. The Indo-Pak war of 1971. Vikrant earning two Mahavir Chakras and 12 Vir Chakras. I had heard the stories from my dad and my uncles (all service officers) but this was the first time that I actually saw the ship first hand.

The museum, which was opened to the public a few years ago has beautiful black and white photographs with descriptions of air operations and landings as well as exhibits on the 1971 war. The ship’s forward engine room displays the propulsion system powered by huge steam turbines and technically inclined people would find this very interesting. There are aircraft on display here too, the very ones like Sea Hawk and Chetak helicopters, which have taken off and landed in action from the Vikrant’s flight deck. Besides there are also submarine models, diving equipment, bombs and mines which are on exhibit. Plus on certain specific days (Navy Week) a documentary film is screened. People are also drawn to the flat, expansive length and breadth of the flight deck, deck-landing mirrors costing crores each, a giant hanger lift which can lift hundreds of persons at one time, the ski jump arrangement and arresting gear on the flight deck. And for a bit of shopping, there is a curio shop which sells mementoes like caps with the Vikrant logo (Rs 60- each), key chains (Rs 25 each) and even large coffee mugs (Rs 120- each). And yeah, a cafe where you can have a bite on tables shaped like propellers! We didn’t visit the cafe, but it sure sounded like fun! Well, the musuem happens to be a big hit with families and children. School visits are common. Entry tickets are Rs 40/- each, for adults and a half ticket for children under 14. There is extra charge for carrying a camera.

Vikrant (Sanskrit vikrānta = “stepped beyond”, i.e. “courageous”, “victorious”) was India’s only carrier for over two decades. It has an interesting history and you can read news reports about how she was procured and what she did during the war here and here and get some more information from this Bharat Rakshak site.

The great ship has traveled or rather, steamed, a total of 4,99,066 nautical miles, about 15 times around the world. Interestingly, the carrier might be preserved for posterity – the only wartime constructed British aircraft carrier to be under possible preservation.

The ship is docked near the Gateway of India, at the naval docks and entry is through the ‘Tiger Gate.” If you are in Mumbai, check it out.

Nehru Science Centre

Nehru Science Centre,(NSC) Mumbai is India’s largest interactive science center, located in Worli. The centre is named after India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The centre started with the ‘Light and Sight’ exhibition in 1977 and then a Science Park was built in 1979. It was opened to public on November 11, 1985 by late Rajiv Gandhi at that time the Prime Minister of India.Nehru Science Centre, first conceived as a Science & Technology Museum in late sixties, took final shape as India’s largest interactive science centre in 1977 to match the world trends in such public institutions. The centre opened its first semi-permanent exhibition `Light & Sight’ in 1977 followed by the world’s first ever Science Park in 1979, during the International Year of the child. The full- fledged science centre was finally opened to public on November 11, 1985 by late Shri Rajiv Gandhi the then Prime Minister of India. Nehru Science Centre, the largest Science Centre in the country has a sprawling 8 acres (32,000 m2) of science park with varieties of plants, trees and shrubs. More than 50 hands-on and interactive science exhibits on energy,sound, kinematics, mechanics, transport, etc. are installed in the science park. The NSC building with its unique architecture houses several permanent science expositions on various theme.Nehru Science Centre is visited by over 600,000 people every year who experience and enjoy the basic principles and marvels of science & technology. Situated on Dr. E. Moses Road, Mumbai – 400018, in between Worli Naka and Mahalaxmi Railway Station and spread over 14 acres (57,000 m2) of land, the Centre provides a natural and free environment for students to learn, familiarize and spend creative holidays and for professionals in the field of science education to have a glimpse of innovations in science education. Close to 1,20,000 school children alone participate in the activities of the Centre.

Nehru Science Centre incorporates innovative ways to communicate science to enthuse, entertain, initiate, excite and bring the developments of science & technology to the doorstep of common people for prosperity, awareness, and improving the quality of life. The centre attempts to enhance public understanding of science and spread scientific literacy.

More than 50 hands-on and interactive science exhibits are based on various aspects of science and technology, and there is a collection of some historical artifacts of science and technology. The 3D Science Show is also organized at the centre.
NSC is famous for its Distinct shape

Existing galleries

Dynamic Earth
Hall of Computing
Human & machine
Light & Sight
Our Technology Heritage
Pre-historic Animal Life
Science for Children
Sound & Hearing[2]

How to Reach

The Centre can be reached by public transport i.e. train, bus, taxi or private vehicles. It is situated on Dr. E. Moses Road between Mahalaxmi Rly. Station on the South and Worli Naka on the North at a distance of about 1 km from either end. The nearest bus stop is Jijamata Nagar. The nearest railway station – Mahalaxmi (Western Rly.), Byculla (Central Rly.); Bus Routes – 50, 80 (Ltd.), 91(Ltd.), 124, 154, 164, 165, 168, 172, 351.

The Science Centre is open to the public every day including Sundays and public holidays throughout the year except two: the next day after Holi and on the day of Diwali.

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Soon, guided tours at Byculla Zoo

If everything goes as per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) makeover plan for the Byculla zoo, then soon, the 150-year-old zoo would be getting a new lease of life.

Thick glass fences would be added around enclosures, so that visitors
have an uninterrupted view of the animals in the Byculla zoo

It’s been a while since the zoo authorities and the civic body have been at the receiving end for their lackadaisical approach in maintaining the zoo and its flora and fauna.

The Rs 150 crore makeover plan is in the final stage of approval with the Central Zoo Authority (CZA).

Guided tours
According to Anil Anjankar, director of Byculla zoo, “Since the makeover is on the cards, we are planning to introduce guided tours for visitors, on an hourly basis.

We’ll be hiring experts zoologists and botanists once the renovation concludes. These experts can then explain the importance of having flora and fauna to the visitors.”

He further stated that currently, a botanist has been helping the zoo to maintain its flora and has been organising botanical tours for groups of interested students. Anjankar added that once the makeover was complete, the service would be extended to all the visitors.

“We are paying him (botanist) Rs 1,000 for conducting tours and seminars. These seminars are organised once a week, depending on their demand.”

The proposal
Commenting on the makeover, Anjankar said that once the proposal is approved by the CZA, the renovation of the zoo will be carried out in three phases and would be done by August 2014.

Explaining the Phase I, the director stated that it would include filling up existing empty enclosures and setting up eight new ones.

“Once the CZA approves the measurements for the enclosures and gives its nod, HKS Consultant will start working on the technical details of the master plan,” added Anjankar.

The zoo management is now eagerly awaiting the final blueprint and is likely to commence work in a month’s time. “There are a few minor changes and we are waiting for the final blueprint.

We are planning to install a glass fence for animal enclosures so that visitors can have a clear view of the animals.

Moreover, the glass that will be utilised for the purpose will be sturdy so that animals like hippos and elephants won’t be able to break it,” stated Anjankar.

Helping hand
The Save Rani Bagh Committee is already preparing informative booklets and are busy numbering enclosures and trees on the zoo’s premises. These booklets will have information on each enclosure and tree depending on its number.

Post-makeover attractions
The zoo will have a total of 340 animals and birds
Ten pairs of exotic Humboldt penguins, emus and zebras will be added
Indian species: hyena, jackal, wolf, wild dog, sloth bear, porcupine, mouse deer, gaur, sambar, swamp deer, Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, leopard, jungle cat, common otter, palm civet cat
An interpretation centre, the heritage structures on the premises would be restored
Additional toilets, resting places, rain sheds, drinking fountain and car parking

Revamped proposal
Earlier, the CZA had turned down BMC’s Rs 480-crore makeover proposal on May 11, stating that it was impractical and that the civic body had overlooked the heritage committee’s objections. Following its rejection, the BMC reworked on the proposal (Rs 150-crore) in accordance with the CZA norms.