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No Eyesore in Mysore; Part II: Mysore Memories; HAL Museum

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:56 am    Post subject: No Eyesore in Mysore; Part II: Mysore Memories; HAL Museum Reply with quote

No Eyesore in Mysore; Part II: Mysore Memories; HAL Museum
This report covers the second part of my Mysore December, 2011
trip. The first part,
`No Eyesore in Mysore; Part I: Mysore' can be found at the
following URL:

This report (the second part), can be found at the following URL:

The sweet Sambhar that I had mentioned in the last part,
though I have had it in coastal Andhra Pradesh (Tuni in the Vizag
District), is possibly more of a Mangalorean trend, rather than
the usual Udupi-style Sambhar.
So says a friend who loves intricacies in food.
And food, of course.
I will start from where I had left off.
This was a pre-paid auto-rickshaw from the Bengaluru City Railway
Station, to Thubrahalli. I had got lost in thoughts, and memories
of the place. The last part of the trip report had documented
those related to food. As I had written there, separating
food-related thoughts from places visited, is a difficult job,
for me. It was much like putting blobs of water colour nearby,
on a moist drawing sheet, and expecting them to stay separate.
Even if the sheet dried out, my eyes moistening with sweet
memories of times before, would ensure that these memories would
drop from my eyes, and moisten the paper canvas.

Places in Bangalore!
My 1998 trip had started off my me roaming all around the IISc
campus, and seeing from outside, the Sankey Tank, The High Grounds
region, the Vidhana Soudha, and the High Court, the last
being the scene of many an eye ball-to-eye ball confrontation
between the executive and the judiciary, located across a nice
road. Of course, I had also seen the botanical gardens at Lal
Bagh, as I had written. My 2000 trip had seen me try a few more
tourist destinations. A friend and I had set off to see the
Ulsoor lake. When we reached there, one sight at it prompted him
to dub it the `ulcer lake'. The stink was quite unbearable. Our
next stop was the City Palace of the Wodeyars. We were told at
the gate that this was off-bounds for visitors. Indeed it was. I
remembered that my brother had also paid a visit to this place
with his batch-mates, and been told the same at the gate.
But of course.
This was private property of the descendants of the Maharaja.
They were more resourceful than this duo. They figured out that
the palace lay behind some thick woods, from where they entered
the compound, and exited from the main gate, much to the
amazement of the same guards. What were they to do if there was
no demarcation of the property on the other side?
Naughty, naughty...
The usual trip to the M. G. Road, and the Brigade Road followed,
accompanied by a customary visit to a pub.
We had also roamed about the Cubbon Park, and visited the
extremely impressive Visveswaraya Museum, which had many a
fascinating science exhibit.

It was actually quite strange that while I have been to Bangalore
quite a few times, my only other trip to Mysore had been in 2010. This
was with The Wife and Junior in tow. We had stayed in the
extremely impressive Hotel President, and were fascinated by the
city. What had we seen? We had actually driven from Bengaluru,
with the hope of seeing both Halebidu and Belur on the way.
The Wife's Aunt lives in Bengaluru.
We had set out in their car for...Bellur, and not Belur.
By mistake, of course.
Off-course, I mean.
By the time we had rectified our mistake, it was quite late
already, and we were enchanted by the fine carvings at Halebidu,
by the time we got there. From there, we rushed towards Belur,
where we were able to see the Chinnakeshava temple and its
magnificent fine carvings, albeit when it was well after dark.
If Hampi was all about sheer scale, Halebidu-Belur are all about
minuscule detail. There is a stone image of a dancer at Halebidu,
where one of her feet is just off the ground, with clearance just
enough for a thin sheet of paper to pass through the minute gap
between her foot and the ground. The fine detail in the carvings
has to be seen to be believed.
The Mysore Palace was interesting, and so was Tipu's Summer
Palace. On the way back, we visited Srirangapattana (where we saw
the place where Tipu's body was found), gave the bird sanctuary a
miss, just to be able to see the sand-buried temples near the
Cauvery before sunset. At Mysore, we had earlier visited the famous Vrindavan Gardens, and saw the light-and-sound (son-et-Lumiere) show at
night. The drive back took over two hours as we spend along the
road in the darkness, but inside Bengaluru, it took another
two-and-a-half hours to reach our destination. It was the infamous
Bengaluru traffic which was to blame, of course!

Our small family also remembers this trip for another reason -
the two memorable flights. I had taken both of them on my
frequent flyer points. The itinerary for the flights was as

Set out 22 Jan 2010 (Fri) for Bengaluru from New Delhi
IT 205: Kingfisher Airlines (A321)
New Delhi (DEL) - Bengaluru (BLR)
[05:25 pm - 08:05 pm]

Set out 26 Jan 2010 (Tue) for New Delhi from Bengaluru
IC 903: Air India (A319)
Bengaluru (BLR) - New Delhi (DEL)
[04:30 pm - 07:20 pm]

We had enjoyed the nice ambiance of the IGI Airport, T1-D.
(Kingfisher operated from Terminal 1-D in 2010). I had chosen
Kingfisher Airlines for the onward journey for The Wife to see
Terminal 1-D for the first time (she was more familiar with the
environs of Terminal 1-A at that time), and see the renovated
Terminal 1-C, for the arrival. Of course, the Bengaluru
International Airport at Devanahalli was an added attraction,
42km away from the city, and even beyond the closest township,
Yelahanka. This trip was also memorable for the return journey.
Jr had fallen asleep on the way back, and we took a bit long to
pick up all our belongings, and make our way out of the aircraft.
The captain was coming out then, we saw him giving instructions
to the cabin crew and the ground-staff. After the cockpit crew
had left in their vehicle, we noticed a similar vehicle coming in
for us! This was not the usual passenger bus - it was a cockpit
crew vehicle, so that the three of us could be seated
comfortably, with Jr fast asleep on The Wife's lap.
The driver carefully drove us to the left gate of Terminal 1-C
(which was not in operation then, only the right gate was
operational) - this was literally far from
the madding crowd, so that we would be able to enter in a less
crowded area. Our priority-tagged baggage also came out very
quickly. This was very impressive, Air India!
The admiration for the national carrier, from the three of us,
had increased many-fold that night.

I woke up from my reverie as the auto-rickshaw reached the
Kundalahalli Gate, from where I would have to direct him to my
brother's place. We had a nice dinner, and I hit the bed. The
next day would turn out to be quite hectic. Yes, hectic for the
three of us. Due to my fuss, precisely.

24 December, 2011.
I did not have too much time on my hands, the next day.
There was some essential (read, `essential oils') shopping to be
done from the Cauvery, the Karnataka State Emporium on M. G.
Road. After that was over, as we were coming back towards the old
HAL airport bus stop (from where I was to take BIAS-4 to the
Devanahalli airport), I saw that I still had some time on my
hands, and insisted to my brother and his wife, that I just had
to visit the HAL Museum. The duo was surprised for a moment, but
then realised that everyone need not be oblivious to old aviation
beauties. I rushed in.
No, even Angels would not have feared to tread in, here.

The number of aircraft on display, was small, but it was nice.
We were welcomed by the HAL's first light fighter, the HF-24
`Marut' (`Wind Spirit'), which was designed by the legendary Dr.
Kurt Tank, of the Fokke-Wulf fame.

Has this experiment succeeded, India's aircraft manufacturing
capability would have really gone up, and the learning curve to
the LCA would not have been that steep. The Marut had some design
flaws, and was never utilised to the fore. There were problems
with the choice of the power-plant (the Rolls Royce Orpheus) as
well, and its suitability with the airframe.

Next in line was `the Divine Delta', the Mig-21.
In my opinion, this is perhaps the best-looking interceptor ever
designed. What was once designed as an interceptor with limited
qualities, went on to become perhaps the most widely produced interceptor
ever, with the `Bison' version with the IAF being the
technologically most advanced. It is still a very capable plane
in the hands of a skilled pilot, but is quite an unforgiving
aircraft in inexperienced hands. The bird on display, was
the `Mongol', the NATO code name for the two-seat trainer version
of the Mig-21.

There is a wooden mock-up of the LCA `Tejas'. The LCA is an
excellent fourth generation fighter aircraft. In this age where
the FGFA are being talked about (the Fifth Generation
Indo-Soviet Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA made a successful test flight some
time back), the `Tejas will perhaps make up squadron strength,
but will still be a force to reckon with. This is an excellent
design, which India should be proud of.

The Advanced Jet Trainer, the AJT-36 `Sitara' was one plane which
I missed taking a picture of.

The HAL Ajeet was displayed in an open area. The Ajeet was a
modification of the original Folland Gnat, which the HAL modified
to have integral fuel tanks, among other developments, which led
to this tiny plane (only the Messerschmitt-designed HA-300
fighter was possibly designed to be smaller than the Gnat, but
this never saw production).

Here are two pictures of the `Ajeet', the `Invincible'. The Gnat
earlier, had already earned itself the sobriquet of `Sabre
Slayer', when IAF pilots got many kills over the PAF Sabre jets.

As an aside, the HA-300 project saw an interesting cooperation
due to the Nehru-Nasser connection. The German design team under
Prof. Willy Messerschmitt was not open to having an Indian test
pilot for its pet project, perhaps the smallest fighter ever
designed, and that too, with revolutionary characteristics. It is
interesting to know that when the German team could not get any
willing European test pilot, they had to turn to
Gp Capt Kapil Bhargava, who in turn refused to fly the aircraft
until the list of flaws which he and Wing Cdr Suranjan Das (HAL)
had enumerated. It was interesting to note that an IAF officer
stood up to a design team that had dared him, stood up to perhaps
the World's best-known aircraft designer at that time, who had
even under sever pressure and odds stacked against him,
pointed out serious flaws in the design of the aircraft.
The legendary designer took note of the
objections personally, which led to the re-design, and the
subsequent test flight. The memoirs of Gp Capt Bhargava have been
on the bharat-rakshak website for quite some time. It is also
interesting to know that the HA-300 prototype is just next to an
HAL HF-24 Marut in an air museum in Munich. The Marut connection is
interesting, since a Marut was used as a test bed for the
HA-300's engine. I remember pouring through editions of Jane's
All The World's Aircraft, trying to find out more about the
HA-300 (it was a very good-looking aircraft) - `what, an Egyptian
aircraft with an Indian connection?', and its relation to the
very good looking (and fascinating for me as a little child)
HF-24 Marut. As a child growing up in Delhi, I used to look
forward to the Republic Day flypasts, to see the Marut in action.
It was perhaps the only time Maruts were put on flying display
till they were phased out, given their limitations.

There is an old Westland Sea King parked near the Ajeet.

Somewhere close-by is the ALH `Dhruva'. This was a helicopter
that as touted to be the topmost in its class, but has since had
a few problems, though it is back in service. The IAF display
team `Sarang' has the ALH `Dhruva'.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a De Havilland Devon parked
there! (I had initially mistaken it to be the smaller De Havilland Dove,
before my eyes fell on the sign beside the aircraft.)

On the other side of the pathway, a few nice planes were on
display, in the shade. First was the `Hansa'.

The HT-2 is quite a impressive aircraft in appearance.

The more modern version of the HAL piston-engined trainer was the
HPT-32 `Deepak' (Hindustan Piston Trainer), which was grounded in
the late 2000s for being too outdated and best with flaws. At the
time of writing this report (October 2012), the IAF is looking
around at a Pilatus Porter variant as a possible replacement for
the basic trainer role.

The Kiran Mark-1 and 2 are planes which have been the backbone of
the basic jet training at the IAF for a long time, now. The
aerobatics display team, the `Surya Kiran' was disbanded after
the accident at Begumpet, and the aircraft were re-claimed as
trainers, as the IAF was short of them.

There is a somewhat large building, which houses two prominent aircraft.
One of my pet passions on seeing a volume of the Jane's All The
World's Aircraft in my childhood, was to open the pages
corresponding to India, and check out Indian planes. One plane
that had caught my attention as one of the first `indigenous'
planes (it was actually not indigenous: it was a version of the
American Aeronca Chief)

I was looking around for a development of the Pushpak, the
Krishak, but was disappointed at not seeing one. Here is another
view of the Pushpak basic trainer.

The `Basant' (`Spring') was designed as an agricultural aircraft.

I was now heaving from the exercise, due to the incredibly short
period I had taken to go around, and take pictures of the planes
on display. People around me wondered what the tearing hurry was.
My brother and his wife dropped me to the Vayu Vajra stop in
front of the old HAL airport, from where the route BIA(S)-4
starts. The time set was 1pm, but on reaching the stop at two
minutes to one, I sat down, and the bus started moving. The bus
was quite full by the time it had taken the Hebbala flyover turn,
as I drifted in and out of sleep. I had tried to work for a
while, but the motion did not go too well with me, and created a
funny feeling in my tummy. (No, this feeling is certainly not
hunger - it is almost on the other side of the scale, as far as
the discomfort level goes.) I reached the airport in about two
hours' time, and checked in. A complaint I have always had with
the Bengaluru airport is the lack of an adequate number of
power-ports. This number has increased a bit, but the
inadequateness still remains. Boarding was announced in due time,
and I boarded one of the 4 new A320s in the Air India fleet.
This was `DE', the `German Plane'.
VT-EDE was to be my ride for the day, with Captain Gaurav Nath in
command. The plane was 100% full in economy. Yes, full to the
brim. There were some Americans on the plane, who would be
connecting in Delhi to the Air India New York flight, as I could
figure out from their (loud) conversation. Captain Nath made a
take-off from the west side to the east, on the runway 09-27. A
Silk Air A320 had taken off before us, and an Air India A319 in
the old `Indian' colours had just come in. There was a nice
yellow B757 cargo aircraft in DHL colours on a remote stand.

The food (`a snack') came in a bit late.
However, the quality more than made up for the delay.
There was a brown bread vegetarian sandwich, with a coleslaw
filling, replete with shredded green salad vegetables.
The main meal box (no guesses, non-vegetarian, as usual) was a
bit late in coming in. Till then, I admired the dessert box, and
emptied my sugar and milk sachets into a cup, hoping for a good
coffee to round it all, after the dessert. I looked all around.
What if the pretty stewardess missed serving me, by the time she
got her requisite supply of boxes? No, people behind me had not
been served as yet. The boxes came in the hands of a steward, and
went behind my row. The cabin crew went about their tasks -
all behind my back. My pulse rate grew, and the stomach's
expectation followed suit.
Oops - my heart missed a beat, and stomach, a peristaltic movement.
The pretty lady suddenly looked behind as if she had forgotten
something (or someone, rather).
The main course. Me.
My heart leaps up, when I behold...a meal tray in the sky.
The left of the box had a two pieces of cauliflower, which had
been dipped in batter, and fried lightly.
The middle part had a small round pie.
This had a soft and moist nice baked base, holding a lovely
concoction of molten cheese, mushrooms and spinach.
The right side had two chicken mince meatballs, and some boneless
roasted chicken.
I was all set up for the dessert, now.
I was travelling back on Christmas day, and Bengaluru - a city
with a large number of Christians who celebrate their primary
festival (among others) in style, had a very sweet surprise for
me - something I had been eyeing ever since the tray had come in
on my table. This was a lovely chocolate cake, with a nice white
semi-hard topping, with a white base. The dense cake had a fruity
taste - plums and bananas, I guessed.
Absolutely heavenly.
I had mentioned `coffee', but the pretty lady heard me
incorrectly. How could I refuse the tea she served me?
Completely bland and devoid of any flavour.
The tea, that is.

Captain Nath made an absolutely feather-touch landing on the new
runway 29-11 from the east- many people were asleep, and we
hardly felt anything. I was one of the last to exit the aircraft,
and the cockpit door was open, with a good view of the Captain,
and the First Officer completing their paperwork. I thanked both
for the wonderful landing, and went towards the baggage claim. My
bag came out relatively fast, and I headed home into a 16 degree
Celcius Delhi, which was to dip to 3.3 degrees that night!
Links to my previous trip reports:

28. No Eyesore in Mysore; Part I: Mysore

27. Hampi Hamper, Part 2: Hampi!

26. Hampi Hamper, Part I: Banashankari, Badami, Pattadakal, Aihole

25. JAI Ho! Jaipur, Sep'12, My Double Standards?
(This is out of sequence, only to report on something that is
very recent, circa Sep'12)

24. PNQ: PeNning Queued Reports, Dec 2011

23. Little BHO-Peep, Nov 2011

22. The Call of the Vaigai! Madurai, Oct 2011

21. Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: Beijing, 2011 Part 3

20. No Panda-monium: Beijing, 2011 Part 2

19. North By, AI and CA: Beijing, 2011 Part 1

18. Going Bananas over Oranges: Nagpur, Aug'11

17. To the City of Joy and back, on Air India: Aug'11

16. To Chennai, Mar'12 with a Celebrity Captain!
(This is out of sequence owing to sheer excitement, and nothing

15. Marble Rocks, Marbles Rock; Jul 2011

14. The Fish-Eye Beckons! Madurai, on Air India. Jul 2011

13. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 3: Monino!

12. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 2: The Central Museum
of the Armed Forces

11. To Russia, with Awe: Moscow, 2011, Part 1: The Overall Trip

10. The City of Lakes: Mother's Heart, Heart of the Motherland

9. Mostly Indoors, in Indore:

8. Inter-metro Shuttling on AI: DEL-BOM on AI810, BOM-DEL on AI888

7. On the cusp: DEL-BOM on IC863, BOM-DEL on AI660

6. DEL-BOM on IT308, BOM-DEL on IC166

5. DEL-MAA on IC439, MAA-DEL on IC802

4. DEL-PNQ on IC849, PNQ-DEL on IC850

3. DEL-MAA on IC429 (A321), MAA-DEL on IC7602 (CRJ7)


1. IGI T3, AI 314 DEL-HKG and AI 311 HKG-DEL
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Location: New Jersey/CCU

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Sumantra again a very nice trip report with memorable pictures. But have you seen any example of Toofani ( Mystere ) and Avro 787 over there. The history of IAF is incomplete without these two birds! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Sabyasachi. I have seen a nicely-preserved Dassault Ouragan (Toofani) at the Air Force Museum at Palam, Delhi. As for the HAL 748 - you make a nice point. It would be nice if the HAL Museum could have one, but there may not be enough space for it (there is an empty field behind the museum, but how would a large plane be taken there is not clear). The 748 represented some limited self-reliance for India as a small transport aircraft, which was robust, easy to construct, and yet could be operated in many roles.
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great TR. The HAL museum is always a treat. On the top floor is the mock up of ATC and had good views of the HAL airport in its hay days.

Today you should be lucky to be there and spot some rare bird - LCA or Saras - if it flies !

Overall enjoyed reading ! The BLR city desc and the food !

Cheers !
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot, Ameya - I hardly had any time on my hands, though I did not miss much as the HAL airport was as silent as it could get, that day. Otherwise, I would have loved to see the HAL airport in operation, yes, as you point out, more os if a Saras or a Tejas was in operation! Ameya: is there any city or airport in India (or aircraft, for that matter) which you don't know about? Wink
Cheers, Sumantra.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sumantra wrote:
Thanks a lot, Ameya - I hardly had any time on my hands, though I did not miss much as the HAL airport was as silent as it could get, that day. Otherwise, I would have loved to see the HAL airport in operation, yes, as you point out, more os if a Saras or a Tejas was in operation! Ameya: is there any city or airport in India (or aircraft, for that matter) which you don't know about? Wink
Cheers, Sumantra.

Ohh c'mon, please dont pull my leg !
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