Visisting a museum must have been a favourite pastime for many of us in childhood. It is entertaining as well as informative as the same time. Museums are like time machine. Usually museums contain artifacts, manuscripts, potteries, weapons, coins. paintings, musical instruments and thousands of such things of bygone era. There are several museums which display many modern inventions too. One such museum is situated in India also, in the state capital of Karnataka, Bengaluru. Being the first museum of it’s kind in India, the HAL’s Heritage Center and Aerospace Museum, Bengaluru.
The Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum was established in 2001, to showcase the tremendous growth of the Indian aviation industry and particularly HAL over six decades. The museum is sprawled over 4 acres of beautifully landscaped area. It is really a wonderland for aviation enthusiasts and aviation history buffs. It provides them an unforgettable experience that is simultaneously enlighting and entertaining. The museum displays various kinds of passenger and fighter aircraft and choppers, their engines, radar systems, and an exhibit of Indian aviation history.
The entrance fee to the museum is INR 50/- per head for adults. For students (upon showing ID card) and for children upto 18 years, it is INR 30/-, while there is no entrance fees for physically handicapped and children upto 3 years. You also have to pay INR 50/- for still camera and INR 75/- for video camera. Please keep in mind that ticket counter closes at 4.30 PM while the museum remains open from 9 AM to 5 PM on all days throughout the year.
The museum is divided into several sections. As you enter the gates, a beautiful garden with a fountain welcomes you. On the left of it, under shade, there are displayed various combat aircraft, helicopters and special purpose aircraft (such as for spraying pestisides in the field etc.) like Marut, Hansa, Canberra, MIG-21, Hindustan Jet Trainer (HJT-36), Dhruva, HPT-32, Kiran, AJEET, Lakshya (Pilotless Target Aircraft) etc.
The main building of the museum consists of a large hall in which various functions of an aircraft engine is being highlighted by displaying several cross sections of various models of aircraft engines. Some real engines can also be seen here. A real parachute and an ejection seat of a fighter jet is also displayed in the hall. Two aircraft namely ‘Pushpak’ and ‘Basant’ are also kept here on display.
On the first floor of the building, there is a gaming zone, which consists of two types of flight simulators, a basic simulator game and a motion simulator. A fee of INR 50/- and INR 100/-, is charged respectively to play on these simulators. The motion simulator is for adults only as it requires a lot of balancing.
If you get tired and feel hungry after hopping from one display to another, at the other side of the buidling, there is a souvenir shop and a cafetaria where you can purchase miniature models of various aircraft along with many other items like keychains and paper weights and relax while enjoying hot cup of coffee or tea.
There is a small pond near cafetaria where many colourful fish are kept. Watching them is very relaxing for youngs and adults alike.
Outside the cafetaria, there stands tall, an actual heat shield of a Polar Satellite Lanch Vehicle (PSLV). It constitutes the uppermost chamber of a spacecraft in which the satellite is kept safe from extream heat, resulting from friction of the outer surface of spacecraft and the dense atmosphere of the earth. It also provides the aerodynamic shape to the spacecraft. It is made up of two thin walled, aluminum alloy panels, in honeycomb styled mesh. At the final moment, it breaks into two halves, placing the satellite into it’s orbit.
There is also a ‘Hall of Fame’ displaying the photographs and prototypes of several aircraft, which helps you to trace the history of Indian aviation, starting from the 1940s till the 21st century. These photographs throw light on the advanced strides of our country in the fields of aeronautics and air defense sectors. These photograps and prototypes are arranged in separate halls, decadewise.
An orchidarium, herbal garden, children’s play area and a sustainability development park are also there in the premises. The sustainability park aims to educate visitors by displaying working models of solar systems, biogas plant, and hybrid wind mills.
The museum is situated at HAL Old Airport Road, Marathahalli, Bengaluru. It is 20 km from Yeshwantpur Junction and around 47 km from Kempegowda International Airport.