Gulmarg’s special museum exhibits gears used in high altitude warfare

May 24th, 2009 - 10:44 pm ICT by ANI  

By Bilal Butt

Gulmarg, May 24 (ANI): A museum has been set up inside the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) in Gulmarg to display old and modern warfare equipment and gears used by the Indian Army during high altitude warfare or by mountaineers during expeditions.

The Kanchenjunga Museum in Gulmarg has war-related climbing and mountaineering equipment used by Indian army from 1947 till date.

Initially started as a 19 Infantry Division Ski School in 1948, the High-Altitude Warfare School has over the years become the Army’s nodal agency for “specialised training and dissemination of doctrines” in high-altitude, mountain and snow warfare.

According to HAWS instructor Major S.S Negi, the museum was established to commemorate 1997’s first summit of Indian Army to Kanchenjunga.

Thereafter, other expeditions like first successful Everest expedition of 2001 were given a due place in the museum.

“In this portion of the museum, we have got two sand models which are related to the Kanchenjunga museum of 1977 and 2001 Everest expedition. Thereafter second position is dedicated to the equipment which is being used presently and which was used earlier by the mountaineering fraternity of Indian Army,” said Major S.S Negi.

The High Altitude Warfare School housing Kanchenjunga Museum draws young breed of soldiers, who are eager to see the equipments used by Indian army in high altitude warfare including Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield in the earlier days.

The soldiers undergoing training at the school are fascinated having watched some of the age-old equipments and the eminent mountaineers who used them.

“When I first visited this museum in 1998, I learnt the history about which I never had any idea. A thought came to my mind that what I could do for this history. During that procedure, I did a mountaineering course in 2001. I learnt about all the mountaineering equipments. I also came to know about all the eminent expedition mountaineers of India,” said Karma Singh, an Indian Army soldier.

The High-Altitude Warfare School was initially set up at Gulmarg, as a Formation Sickly School. The training imparted consisted mainly of skiing techniques, mountain lore and patrolling on skis.

On April 8, 1962, the School was designated a Category A Training establishment and renamed High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS).

The training instils confidence and stamina. The men are taught to integrate with the environment so that they can guard the Himalayan frontiers effectively. (ANI)

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