Museums are an integral part of any tourist destination across India. But, it is even more important to include it in your itinerary when the Museum stands as a memorial for all the unsung heroes of our nation. The Hall of Fame Museum is one such attraction among the Leh Ladakh Tourist Places.
The museum is located on the Leh-Kargil highway which is at a distance of 4 kilometers from the center of Leh town. From the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh, the museum is only at a distance of 2.1 kilometers.
You can visit from 9:00AM to 1:00PM in the morning and 2:00PM to 7:00PM in the evening. The museum is open for visitors throughout the year. So you can always include this in your Leh Ladakh itinerary whenever you plan to visit. The entry fee is as low as 50 Rupees per head and an additional 100 Rupees in case you wish to capture the glory of Indian Army in your camera lenses.
The Hall of Fame museum is divided into different sections spread across two floors. A Buddha statue lightens up the entrance with a beautiful thought on War – “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”
The first section is primarily about the cultures, traditions, cuisines of Ladakh’s local people and their lifestyle. The history, flaura and fauna of the region can be explored here. There is a wall about the Namgyal Dynasty of Ladakh which was founded by the Basgo King, Bhagan.
A complete section is dedicated to the Sino-Indian War which took place between India and China around the Siachen glacier. The war was fought at a height above 4000 meters on the disputed Himalayan border shared between the two nations in the year 1962. However, China declared a ceasefire and returned back to its declared ‘Line of Actual control’.
Another wall named as the ‘Lest we Forgot’ has pictures of many martyrs who have fought in various wars across the border and lost their lives while protecting the nation. This wall is a reminder of all the brave soldiers who laid down their lives while protecting the nation from foreign aggressions.
Indians are well aware of the Kargil War which took place in the duration of May to July 1999 between India and Pakistan. A large part of the museum is dedicated to the Kargil war. There is a wall displaying the images clicked in the Kargil war-fields of 1999. It will give you a feel of the real scenarios in which the Indian army must have fought.
The upper floor is dedicated to the arms and ammunitions used by the Indian Army during wars. Also the large number of weapons of the Pakistan Army recovered from Kargil war-zones are displayed in this museum. It is a reminder of the Indian Army’s bravery on the battle-fields and a sense of pride for all Indian nationals indeed!
You will also get to see the conditions in which the Indian army soldiers have to survive in harsh mountainous locations like the Siachen region. The section displays the type of apparel, the temporary accommodations and different gears used by the army troops to survive in the cold frontiers of the Siachen and Karakoram borders. Some images and models display how the troops are trained to climb ice walls and fight in areas of lowest oxygen availability.
Another section on the ground floor screens a documentary film for the visitors. The film is based on the “Operation Vijay” of the Kargil war and is screened on a projector inside the museum. Operation Vijay was a mission of the Indian Army to clear the Kargil valley of all kinds of infiltrations and Pakistan Army’s invasion beyond the LOC.
A special mention in the film is that of Captain Vijayant Thapar who was martyred during the war and also received the Vir Chakra, an Indian gallantry award presented for acts of bravery on the battlefield. A letter written by the officer to his family before going to the war has been displayed on a wall labeled as ‘The Last Post’. The courageous words in that letter will definitely give you goosebumps.
A corner of the ground floor has a souvenir shop where visitors can shop for mugs, T-shirts, shawls, etc as a memory from the museum. You can even rent a traditional Ladakhi attire to strike a pose like a local.
Outdoor area of the Museum premises has a play setup in the pattern of a military camp for the little visitors to explore and enjoy. It would add to some amusement of the kids visiting here.