Reviving the lost glory of Loharu aerodrome in Haryana

A filmmaker from Haryana, Aditya Sangwan has revived the discussion of restoring Loharu aerodrome as a heritage site. Aditya has made an expository documentary on Loharu aerodrome and has urged the Haryana chief minister, Manohar Lal to declare the site as heritage of Haryana. Brief history of Loharu

“Loharu Airdrome was built in 1931 by Last Nawab of Loharu Aminuddin Ahmad Khan. Willingdon Airfield (today’s Safdarjung Airport, the first airport of Delhi) was established in 1929, just after two years of this Loharu Airdrome was established,” informs Aditya. Though the first plane touched down Loharu was in 1931 by Chief Pilot Instructor of Delhi Flying Club, Bhagat Bihari Lal, at that time the aerodrome was not operational. British govt also declared Loharu Aerodrome as emergency landing strip for the Royal British Airforce posted in New Delhi. So, very often Royal Airforce’s plane land their at the time of weather disturbance in New Delhi. Loharu Airdrome had an Tiger Moth Aircraft. “There was some kind of tradition in Loharu that each year on the first day of January there happens to be a Joy Ride on Airdrome in which any person can ride the aircraft with pilot after paying a fee, and many people of that time enjoyed it,” he says.

Vallabh Bhai Patel also came to Loharu by this aerodrome at the time of Loharu state’s merger with India. “This aerodrome was the first in Haryana (Eastern Punjab of British India) and was most probably the fifth or sixth oldest flying station of India. This aerodrome was in use till the the 60’s. Two Buildings were also there on Airdrome for some sort of Control, a tunnel was also made from aerodrome to Loharu Fort, to escape from the fort at the time of trouble. Today, this Airdrome is in complete ruin,” rues Aditya, adding, “I have explored this aerodrome more widely and thus made an expository documentary on it.”

Aditya, who has researched the subject well says that this aerodrome was also the escape route for Loharu ruler in times of trouble. From the fort to aerodrome there was a tunnel and it was used as the safest way to escape, not just for humans but even for horses who also went by that tunnel to the aerodrome. Now it is blocked from both the sides. The aerodrome was built in Fartia Taal village which is close to Loharu, about one and half kilometer away. “Now, the two buildings of the aerodrome are in complete ruin and the special field is now the farm of farmers and a crop of cotton has flourished there with pink followers. Even today, villagers find debris, rubble and wreckage of aerodrome in their fields at the time of crop rotation.”

Aditya argues that, “If the aerodrome remained till now, Loharu and Southern Haryana would surely generate employment by this as well as wealth. I have also explored the ruins of the building of aerodrome in my documentary besides a video series on the historical places, titled, ‘Loharu Tales’. So, people can know more about this place. My main aim is create a tourism sector in Loharu and recognize Loharu globally.”