Mysore Airport – Down Memory Lane

The Princely state of Mysore had developed an airstrip on the outskirts of Mysore by 1940, providing for landing of small aircraft. However, with the city being reckoned as the second fastest growing city in the State, the need for a modernised airport, providing inter-state connectivity is increasingly being felt.

CREDITS : Krishna Vattam, Deccan Herald

The Princely state of Mysore had developed an airstrip on the outskirts of Mysore by 1940, providing for landing of small aircraft. However, with the city being reckoned as the second fastest growing city in the State, the need for a modernized airport, providing inter-state connectivity is increasingly being felt.

Back in the Sixties and Seventies, no civic address presented to visiting Indian prime ministers, presidents or Union ministers by the City Municipal Council was complete without a request to the Centre to upgrade the airstrip. The then tourism and civil aviation minister Raj Bahadur, who participated in the Dasara celebrations in 1976, opined  that Indian Airlines could run small aircraft. He also held out a promise to discuss with the State government the possibility of having a subsidiary agency to the Indian Airlines to operate aircraft from Mysore. However, the State government’s emphasis was more on interconnectivity of tourist centres  within the State and had proposed the development of airstrips in Hassan, Bijapur and Ginigeri (near Hampi).

Airstrip history

The princely state of Mysore had developed an airstrip on a 290-acre plot at Mandakalli village, about eight kms from the city on Mysore-Ooty highway, way back in 1940. But, there were no scheduled services and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and later Ms Indira Gandhi were among the dignitaries who had used this air strip for landing. Small aircraft like Dorriers could land too. The Civil Aviation Department took over the management of the airstrip from the State government in 1950. In 1985, Vayudoot services were introduced between Mysore and Bangalore with three flights a week. However, the services were discontinued soon for various reasons, including misgivings abut its economic viability. The Airlines opened its online offices in Mysore and appointed authorised agents for issuing tickets to Bangalore and other centres.

In the last two and a half decades, Mysore has transformed itself beyond recognition. It has shed its pensioners’ paradise and sleepy city image. More importantly, during the last two decades there has been a phenomenal upward trend in the income levels of some sections of society, and they have been increasingly patronising air traffic.
The Karnataka government and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) signed an MoU on Oct 7, 2005, in what was seen as a Dasara gift to the people of Mysore, to upgrade the airstrip, so as to operate in the first phase 50 to 60 seater ATR 42 type aircraft. Later plans were made to handle operations of Boeing 737 and A 320 aircraft. However, there were some modifications in the project report and two run ways, instead of one, were planned and more land was sought to be acquired and a total of 174 acres has been allotted. With the first phase of the project having been completed at a cost of Rs 60 crore, the modernised airport is now functional. During Dasara, the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation commissioned chartered flights from Bangalore bringing tourists on package trips to Mysore. Another private airliner also operated flights during Dasara.

For time being, Mysoreans need to be content with mere chartered flights and have to wait for commercial operations to commence.


Eravikulam National Park, Kerala

The Neelakurunji flower is indeed one of Mother Nature’s most precious creations. It blooms once in a blue moon, 12 years to be specific, but when it does, it takes over every nook and corner of the Eravikulam National Park in Kerala.

Kerala is blessed to have more than 40% of its landscape as mountains and ranges. The boundaries it shares with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is through the infinitely beautiful Nilgiri ranges, Brahmagiri Mountain Ranges,  Satyamangalam Forest and Bandiur forest. It is part of the beautiful and sensitive western ghats and has number of tiger reserves and national parks.

To the south of Kerala, amidst the the mighty Nilgiri range and on the National Highway 49  is a small town of Munnar. It is a popular hill station with wide spread tea estates across the mountains with  Tata Tea having the monopoly in this region. Few kilometers from this town towards Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) is the Anamudi Mountain . It is the highest peak in South India at 8841 ft. Its also home to one of the rarest types of national parks perched on top of this mountain.

Anamudi Valley View

Eravikulam National Park was established in the year 1978 at Devikulam Taluk, Idukki District of Kerala. It is spread on an area of 97 Sq.Km. The mean highest point is 2000m above sea level. It has a unique vegetation called Shola Grasslands which are seen at high altitudes.  It is home to some of the rare Flora and fauna which can be seen in the western ghats. Endangered species such as Nilgiri tahr have made their home. The Neelakurunji flower is indeed one of Mother Nature’s most precious creations. It blooms once in a blue moon, 12 years to be specific, but when it does, it takes over every nook and corner of the Eravikulam National Park in Kerala.

Animals on top of the park

Once the base camp is reached, visitors are taken in a mini bus to the peak from which one needs to trek. It gives an opportunity to  have a glimpse of mother nature’s creation at its best. One even encounters animals happily grazing on the lanes. It also gives a spectacular view of the Anamudi mountain and its ranges.