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Capt. Vijyant Thapar: He sacrificed his today for our tomorrow

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photo88By Ila Garg

Kargil War Heroes – Part 8

Carrying forward the family legacy, Capt. Vijyant Thapar joined the armed forces. His family had served in the Army for a long time. In fact, he was named after the name of the main battle tanks of the army. His great grandfather Dr. Capt. Karta Ram Thapar, his grandfather Mr. J.S. Thapar, and his father Col. V.N. Thapar all served the Army during their professional lives. Vijyant’s grandfather encouraged him to join the Army. Capt. Vijyant’s father retired after 37 years’ service in 1999 and in the same year that Capt. Vijyant was commissioned.

Capt. Vijyant then joined the 2 Rajputana Rifles at Gwalior. The battalion then moved to Kashmir to check insurgency. While still involved in this counter insurgency, orders were received for the unit to evict the enemy who had occupied Tololing, Tiger Hill, and adjoining heights.ima-friend

Capt. Vijyant with his troops moved to the Drass sector under Col. M.B. Ravindernath, commanding officer, and his company commander Major Padmapani Acharya. Initial attempts were no good. On the night of June 12, 1999, Capt. Vijyant Thapar led his platoon to capture a Pakistani post called Barbad Bunker. His diary notes show how in close combat he killed two soldiers but was disappointed at not being able to capture the two enemy soldiers alive.

After the victory of Tololing, he spoke to his mother on a V Sat telephone and proudly said, “Mumma, we have captured Tololing.” 2 Rajputana Rifles was then given the task of captaining Three Pimples, Knoll. Capt. Vijyant Thapar aka ‘Robin’ fought like a valiant and true soldier. These forbidding heights were held by enemy Northern Light Infantry (NLI). The troops of NLI (Pakistan) had all the advantages – well entrenched in strongly prepared familypositions, well stocked with precipitous slopes on both sides, while the Indian troops were devoid of cover. With almost vertical climbs at an altitude of 15000 ft and a temperature of -15 °C, it was indeed an impossible mission.

There were intense artillery shelling and heavy bombardment. Some brave soldiers lost their lives and some more were injured, causing the attack to be disrupted for a short while. However, Capt. Vijyant was a brave-heart. With his undying spirit, love to serve the nation, and tremendous urge to capture Knoll, he gathered himself and moved through a ravine to face the enemy with the remaining soldiers.helicopter

While the exchange of fire was going on, Capt. Vijyant, along with his platoon secured a foothold on Knoll. By this time, his company commander Major Padmapani Acharya had been killed. This further angered Capt. Vijyant and he surged ahead with his colleague Naik Tilak Singh. There were two enemy machine guns firing towards them. After about an hour and a half of fierce exchange of bullets, Capt. Vijyant moved ahead to kill the enemy. Suddenly, a burst of fire struck him on his head. He fell in the arms of his comrade Naik Tilak Singh and closed his eyes forever. The victory at Knoll on 29 June, 1999, is a saga of bravery unmatched, and unbounded grit and determination.

Capt. Vijyant was awarded India’s high military honour, the Vir Chakra by the President of India, for his acts of bravery during the Kargil War. In an exchange of mails, Capt. Vijyant Thapar’s father, Col. V. N. Thapar told NewsGram that he is grateful for the fact that the nation still continues to remember his son:

“Sixteen years after we lost our son in the Kargil war your mail was most thoughtful. Thanks. It is this support that has sustained us through these years. Young men like Vijyant did what the nation expected of them – their duty. Actually, the war at Kargil brought the best in the Indian nation – those like Capt. Vijyant, who fought bravely and fell honourably to redeem India’s sanctity and the countrymen who showered their love and their support for the brave hearts. We, of course, feel proud of what he has done, but losing a young son is painful and we go through it every day of our life.

Kargil is already a distant memory. We don’t want the legacy of the young men like Capt. Vijyant to fade and be lost to the coming generation of Indian, who have a right to know what their previous generation did and be inspired.”

kid-robin
Capt. Vijyant Thapar in his childhood days

Even as a child, the captain always thought about others more than himself. As a person, he was very warm hearted and considerate. He always wanted to be in the Army. His favourite toys were guns. He would wear his father’s peak cap, take his cane, and march around like an officer. At the age of four or five, he had already fired a pistol sitting in his dad’s embrace.

His brother, Tarun Thapar says, “Robin’s sacrifice has deeply moved us all. He will always remain in our hearts.”

During his training, Capt. Vijyant did very well and got the silver medal for standing second in the order of merit in the first term. He also got a Gold Medal in Water Polo. He was a very principled and disciplined person and nothing was more important to him than his nation, India.

At the age of 22 when life was still to come, he chose to battle with the enemy with utter disregard for his personal safety.

ima-swimmingMore in this segment:

Kargil War Heroes – Part 1
Kargil War Heroes – Part 2
Kargil War Heroes – Part 3
Kargil War Heroes – Part 4
Kargil War Heroes – Part 5
Kargil War Heroes – Part 6
Kargil War Heroes – Part 7
Kargil War Heroes – Part 9
Kargil War Heroes – Part 10
Kargil War Heroes – Part 11
Kargil War Heroes – Part 12
Kargil War Heroes – Part 13
Kargil War Heroes – Part 14
Kargil War Heroes – Part 15

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This Summer Visit 5 Most Incredible Places In Leh With Your Family And Friends

Check out a Leh Ladakh package for couple

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5 Incredible Must Visited Places In Leh
5 Incredible Must Visited Places In Leh, Flickr

Leh is a Himalayan village that expands over 45100 sq.kms. in the Jammu & Kashmir state of India. The expanse of the village is covered by three parallel mountain ranges, namely the Zanskar, Karakoram and the Ladakh ranges. Between these ranges flow three prominent rivers – Indus, Shyok and Zanskar. The valleys of these rivers are where the communities of Leh live in. Once a capital that housed the Royal family of Ladakh, Leh is now one of the prominent tourist attractions in India. It lies around 3500 metres above sea level, with a climate that is often paralleled to that of a cold desert. Being mountainous with the snow covered stretches, it is the most beautiful summer vacation spot in the North of India. If planning a vacation with your partner, you can check out a Leh Ladakh package for couple and enjoy a great trip without any hassle.

The Old Town of Leh was added to the World Monuments Fund’s list of the 100 most endangered sites due to climate change. The roads to Leh get blocked multiple times every year by snowfalls.

Snow-capped peaks and flowery valleys are the natural beauty of Leh, while colourful flags around the place lure in the most adventurous of travellers from all around the world. A trip to Leh is truly a getaway from the hustle and bustle of cities and into the wild isolation and peace that these mountain tops offer. It is perfect for those who are on a soul-searching journey or simply looking for a break from everyday life. Here are five destinations in Leh which you shouldn’t miss out when you are vacationing there. They account for the whole unique experience of Leh and Ladakh.

Khardung-la pass
Khardung-la pass, Flickr

 

  • Khardung-la Pass

 

Leh is snow covered during most parts of the year. It lies in the shadows of the great Himalayas. The Khardung La pass in Leh is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. It offers mesmerising views of the whole Leh Valley from a height of around 5359 metres above sea level. Surrounded by mountains, the road was opened in 1988 and is maintained by the Indian Army. The Kahrdung La pass is a gateway to two of the magnificent valleys in Leh – the Nubra Valley and the Shyok Valley. It is also a gateway to the famous Siachen glacier, one of the coldest places on Earth where entry is restricted to people due to its strategic prominence. It attracts tourists for the dangerous and exciting drive the pass offers. The most adrenaline driven of the riders go all the way up to the pass on motorcycles. The pass is mostly covered in snow, and it is not easy to be traversed at every time of the year.

Bike rider at Pangong lake
Bike rider at Pangong lake, pixabay

 

  • Pangong Lake

Pangong-Tso is the Tibetan name for the high grassland lake. Situated at an altitude of 4350 metres, it is 134 km long lake that extends to over both Indian and Tibetan Chinese lands. During winters it freezes completely, despite being saline in nature. Thus, the best time to visit the lake is during the summer when the waters are cool but flowing. It is home and breeding ground to a number of migratory birds such as the Bar-headed goose and the Black-necked cranes, seagulls and Brahmini ducks.

Pangong is an endorheic lake. It means that the lake does not flow out into rivers or oceans. Rather it forms a vast closed in water body which spreads over around 600 sq.kms. The lake is situated at a five-hour distance from the town of Leh. The journey itself can be a mesmerising experience for the travellers. You drive over the Chang La pass to get the first view of the shining waters that seem to stretch out limitlessly before you. It is a paradise for photography lovers. One of the most alluring things about the Pangong Lake is that it keeps changing colours. Adventure lovers also have the option to camp overnight along the shores of the lake.

Magnetic hills
Magnetic hills, flickr

 

  • Magnetic Hill

 

The Magnetic Hill or the Gravity Hill is located at a distance of 30 km distance from Leh.  It is a stretch of road in the Leh-Kargil Highway which is known to have magnetic properties that can pull cars uphill. However, in reality, the effect is an optical illusion. Stationary vehicles get pulled up in this part of the Highway. Warning boards placed along the road tell you what to do once you get closer to the road. The vehicle should be put in a neutral gear as you stop by the hill and then on you can move only at a speed of 20km per hour.

The hill lies at an altitude of 14,000 feet from the sea level in the Trans-Himalayan region. The river Sindhu flows along the Eastern side of the Magnetic Hills. The view thus provided by nature is nothing short of spell-binding.

Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley, flickr

 

  • Nubra Valley

 

The Nubra Valley in Leh is formed at the meeting point of the Shyok and the Siachen river. It separates Ladakh and the Karakoram ranges and lies at an altitude of 10,000 ft above sea level. The valley can be accessed through the Khardung La pass. The region is highly protected and requires special permits to be visited, for both Indian and Foreign nationals. The town of Diskit in Nubra Valley has 32 metres high Maitreya Buddha statue. The Diskit Buddhist monastery was built in AD 1420. The remote village of Hundar in Nubra Valley is the geographical border of India. It is restricted to tourists since 2010. Hundar is known for the dunes amidst the Himalayan ranges, where camels are seen to graze. The extremes of nature thus meet in the Nubra Valley.

Kargil
Kargil, flickr

 

  • Kargil

 

A historically significant place, Kargil is a land with great stories to tell, prominent of which is the Kargil war of 1999. It also happens to be the second largest town in Leh. The Central Asian Museum of Leh is located in the Kargil Valley. It offers a closer look at the history of the land, both ancient and modern. From the Museum, you can also enjoy the scenic beauty of the deep river valley of Kargil.

Also read: Manali-Leh reopens for motorists

Now that you are done reading, take your loved one on a journey to this magical land. Get a Leh Ladakh package for couple today and start packing! (IANS)