War Heroes Museum to come up at Gonikoppal

Image: A collage of some of the retired and fallen Indian Army soldiers from Coorg

Cauvery College Gonikoppal to hand over required land

Madikeri: After the resounding success of Sunny Side, General Kodandera S. Thimayya Museum and War Memorial in Madikeri that once housed the residence of the celebrated General that is now attracting a steady stream of visitors, thanks to its brilliant collection of war relics and armaments in all the three battlefields — land, water and air — a new War Heroes Museum will come up at Gonikoppal in South Kodagu.

This Museum will be dedicated to all war heroes of Kodagu as it is the land of warriors where the district has contributed largely to the Indian Army. There is at least one person serving in the Army from every family in Kodagu and the tradition continues, though not many youngsters enter the Defence Services now. The proposed Museum will trace the military history of this tiny district and an attempt will be made to showcase the glorious past, inspiring the present and future generations. The Museum will come up at Cauvery College Gonikoppal where two bronze statues of Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa and General K.S. Thimayya have already been installed and inaugurated in November 2018 by the then Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat who rose to be Chief of Defence Staff (now late). The management of Cauvery College has already agreed to hand over the required land.

A new trust in the name of War Heroes Memorial Trust has been established and Major (Retd.) Biddanda Nanda Nanjappa is its President and Convenor. He is also the Convenor of Field Marshal K.M Cariappa and General Thimayya Forum that played a critical role in establishing the Sunny Side Museum and War Memorial in Madikeri. Other patrons of the Trust are Maj.Gen (Retd.) Kuppanda P. Nanjappa, Lt. Gen. (retd.) Pattacheruvanda C. Thimmaiah and Field Marshal Cariappa and General Thimayya Forum President Col. (Retd.) Kandrathanda C. Subbaiah.

There are over 20 known war heroes from Kodagu who have dedicated themselves for the cause of the nation and there are many more unknown faces and only their names exist in records. Efforts will be made to have each and every war hero from Kodagu featured in this museum and initially, there will be 20 rooms, one each dedicated to every war hero.  Each room will be dedicated to a particular regiment from which the war hero hails and the regiments would take the responsibility of filling up the room with defence paraphernalia that symbolise the distinctive character of the regiment where the war hero hailed from. The regiment will also supply photos, weapons and equipment used in the wars.

“Efforts will be made to secure details and memorials of each war hero irrespective of the rank and communities. The only criteria would be that the war hero must be from Kodagu. There are many war heroes who have been awarded Vir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra and Paramvir Chakra and the Museum intends to disseminate information on such heroes hailing from various regiments,” Forum Convener Major (Retd.) Biddanda Nanda Nanjappa told SOM.

“We are planning to construct the museum in the shape of a ‘Mundhu Mane’ (large ancestral house of Kodagu) and rooms will be dedicated to the war heroes,” he added.

The Trust aims to complete the museum by 2024 and will be constructed with the help of donors and also the Defence Services. In the past too, the Indian Army has contributed funds to set up the Sunny Side Museum and has pooled in money for the bronze statues installed at Cauvery College.

In fact, CDS late Bipin Rawat had wholeheartedly welcomed the War Hero Museum at Gonikoppal and had assured all help. He had opined that a vibrant museum with a wide range  of military equipment and war machines would definitely inspire more and more youths to join the Defence Services.

20 IDENTIFIED WAR Heroes

  • Brigadier Keethyanda Ganapathy             (Military Cross)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Kodanda Devaiah      (Military Cross)
  • Gen. Kodandera S. Thimayya       (Distinguished Service Order)
  • Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa     (Order of the British Empire)
  • Air Marshal Cheppudira D. Subbaiah        (Vir Chakra)
  • Subedar Nadikeriyanda N. Bheemaiah    (Vir Chakra)
  • Squadron Leader Ajjamada B. Devaiah    (Mahavir Chakra)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Anjaparavanda T. Ganapathy               (Vir Chakra)
  • Major General Kuppanda P. Nanjappa    (Vir Chakra)
  • Colonel Mandetira M. Ravi           (Vir Chakra)
  • Flight Lieutenant Mandepanda A. Ganapathy      (Vir Chakra)
  • Squadron Leader Ballachanda C. Karumbaiah       (Vir Chakra)
  • Company Havildar Major Paradanda J. Thimmaiah             (Shaurya Chakra)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Puttichanda S. Ganapathy     (Mahavir Chakra)
  • Captain Chambanda M. Thimmaiah          (Shaurya Chakra)
  • Major C.M. Ganesh         (Shaurya Chakra)
  • Baleyada M. Cariappa     (Vir Chakra)
  • Mangerira C. Muthanna (Shaurya Chakra)
  • Major B. Ranjan Chengappa        (Shaurya Chakra)
  • Mahesh               (Shaurya Chakra)

[NOTE: Names in the photos have not been mentioned as some of them have not been confirmed yet. But all the photos are of Kodagu war heroes]

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