Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan
Body Measurement40′ (Chest) – 34′ (Waist) – 14′ (Biceps)
Body typeAthletic
Height5 feet 10 inches
Weight85 kilograms
Hair ColorBlack
Eye ColorBlack
Shoe Size10 (US)
Full NameMajor Sandeep Unnikrishnan
Date of Birth15th March 1977
Date of Death28th November 2008
Age at Death31 Years
ProfessionArmy Personnel
BirthplaceCheruvannur, Kozhikode District, Kerala, India
HometownCheruvannur, Kozhikode District, Kerala, India
Zodiac SignPisces
FatherK. Unnikrishnan (retired ISRO officer)
MotherDhanalakshmi Unnikrishnan
SpouseNeha Unnikrishnan
IMDbSandeep Unnikrishnan
Alma materThe Frank Anthony Public School, Bangalore
major sandeep unnikrishnan

Childhood & Early Life

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan Childhood

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s father was a retired officer of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

Originally from Kozhikode, Kerala, Sandeep Unnikrishnan was born into a Malayali family that had relocated to Bangalore.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan has always nurtured the desire to join the military since he was a child.

He attended Bangalore’s Frank Anthony Public School for 14 years.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan
Sandeep with parents
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan
Sandeep at a birthday party

After his schooling, he graduated in the Science stream in 1995. Along with participating in school activities, he excelled in athletic competitions.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan
Sandeep Unnikrishnan in school – The Frank Anthony Public School, Bengaluru

Additionally, he participated in the school choir and enjoyed watching movies.

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Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan

In 1995, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan joined the National Defense Academy (NDA) in Pune, Maharashtra.

He was an Oscar Squadron member and a 94th Course NDA graduate (No. 4 Battalion).

He had a degree in the arts.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan attended the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, and was enrolled in the 104th regular course.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan
Sandeep Unnikrishnan passing out ceremony from IMA, Dehradun

On June 12, 1999, he got his IMA degree and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion of the Bihar Regiment of the Indian Army (Infantry).

He was well-liked there even though Pakistani forces opened heavy artillery and small weapons fire at the forward positions during Operation Vijay in July 1999.

On the evening of December 31, 1999, he commanded a party of six soldiers as they established a station 200 meters from the opposing side and immediately under observation and fire.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan received a substantive promotion to captain on June 12th, 2003.

He was elevated to major on June 13th, 2005.

At the Infantry Wing Commando School in Belgaum, he twice won first place in the Ghatak Course, where he received both an Instructor Grade and a Commendation.

major sandeep unnikrishnan

The Gulmarg High Altitude Warfare School provided further instruction for Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan.

After serving in a number of locations, including Siachen, Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat (during the Gujarat Riots in 2002), Hyderabad, and Rajasthan, he was selected to join the National Security Guards.

He participated in several NSG operations after receiving his training and was assigned in January 2007 as the training officer of the 51 Special Action Group (51 SAG) of the NSG.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan wife
Sandeep with his wife Neha

In 2008, Sandeep married his long-time lover Neha (Neha Unnikrishnan).

Neha and Sandeep got married years after dating each other. But soon after the marriage, they began to face issues in their personal life.

It was mainly because Sandeep’s first priority was to serve his country.

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major sandeep unnikrishnan

The 26/11 Taj Attack (Operation Black Tornado)

major sandeep unnikrishnan
A visual from the 26/11 Taj attack

On the night of November 26, 2008, Mumbai witnessed a series of terrorist attacks at several important buildings in South Mumbai.

The renowned Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which has been around for 100 years, was one of the structures where hostages were held.

The 51 Special Action Group (51 SAG) squad leader that was sent to the hotel to free the captives was Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan.

He entered the hotel with a squad of ten commandos, using the stairwell to go to the sixth story.

As the squad climbed the stairs after freeing captives from the sixth and fifth levels, they feared terrorists were hiding in a room on the fourth floor that was sealed from the inside.

The terrorists’ volley of fire struck Commando Sunil Kumar Yadav in both legs as the commandos tore open the door.

Yadav was saved and evacuated by Unnikrishnan, but the terrorists vanished after detonating a grenade inside the room.

For over 15 hours, Unnikrishnan and his colleagues kept removing captives from the hotel.

Unnikrishnan and his crew made the decision to ascend the hotel’s main staircase on November 27 at midnight since it was their only route to the captives and terrorists.

They made the decision to go on despite the possibility that doing so would expose them to enemy fire from all sides.

But as destiny would have it, Commando Sunil Kumar Jodha, 27, was severely wounded by seven gunshots when terrorists assaulted the NSG squad from the first level when they noticed commandos ascending the central stairway (three in the left hand, one on his right palm, two in the right shoulder and one in his chest).

While organizing his evacuation, Unnikrishnan persisted in the gunfight with the attackers.

The terrorists tried to climb to the next story, so he made the decision to pursue them alone.

He single-handedly cornered all four terrorists to the Ballroom in the Taj Mahal hotel’s northern end during the subsequent encounter, but he paid the price by giving his life.

According to the NSG officials, his last words were, “Don’t come up, I will handle them“.

Later, all four terrorists stranded in the Mumbai Taj hotel’s Ballroom and Wasabi restaurant were killed by NSG commandos.

major sandeep unnikrishnan
On-spot position of the terrorist who shot Major Sandeep.
major sandeep unnikrishnan
The blood-stained floor of the taj palace hotel after the attack.

Awards & Honours

  • Ashoka Chakra
  • Operation Parakram Medal
  • Special Service Medal
  • Sainya Seva Medal
  • High Altitude Service Medal
  • 9 Years Long Service Medal
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan
Smt. Dhan Laxmi received Ashoka Chakra awarded to her son Shri Sandeep Unnikrishnan (Posthumous) from the President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, during the 60th Republic Day Parade on January 26, 2009
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan

After Sandeep’s death, the Mother Dairy Double Road in Bangalore was named after him.

Pincode of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan Road Near Mother Dairy Circle Yelahanka New Town Bangalore is 560064.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan Road

Residents of Sandeep Vihar, AWHO Apartments, Bengaluru paid tribute to Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan (Posthumously) by installing a bronze bust to commemorate the anniversary of his martyrdom.

The statue was unveiled by Brig Sheoran, SM Bar who was his commanding officer at the operation black tornado.

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan
On 26/11 Anniversary, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s bust was unveiled at Sandeep Vihar, AWHO, Kannamangala, Whitefield, Bengaluru; by Brig Sunil Sheoran, SM bar who was his then commanding Officer

Inspired by the life of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan – The Hero of the 26/11 taj attacks, the movie Major was released in 2022, starring Adivi Sesh as Major Sandeep and Saiee Manjrekar as Neha Unnikrishnan.

major sandeep unnikrishnan

Net Worth

Sandeep Unnikrishnan is one of the richest Armed Force Officers & listed as the most popular Armed Force Officer.

According to Wikipedia, Forbes & Business Insider, Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s net worth is $5 Million.


  • Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s greatest sacrifice was denigrated by the Communist-run Kerala government, which at the time was led by chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan, by refusing to send a representative to the burial.

    Furthermore, none of the ministers from Kerala showed the courtesy of contacting or paying them a visit at home to offer their condolences, unlike their counterparts from Karnataka.
  • Kerala CM V.S. Achuthanandan made cruel remarks for the family of the murdered commando, claiming that even a dog would not have noticed the home if Sandeep had not resided there.

    When Achuthanandan was denied admission to the Unnikrishnans’ Bangalore house, he made derogatory statements about Sandeep’s family.
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan
A granite stone plaque installed in remembrance of 26/11 martyr Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan at Yelahanka, Bengaluru was found destroyed on 15 September 2018.

Tension soon escalated among the local residents, until the police investigated and confirmed that it was not planned, rather due to an accident caused by rash driving.

Although the owner of the truck came to have taken an interest in rebuilding the memorial without any further issues.

major sandeep unnikrishnan

10 things you didn’t know about Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan

  • Although Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was scared of water before joining the Indian Army, he learned to swim.
  • He was the only child of his parents.
  • Additionally, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan participated in Operation Vijay and the Kashmir Counter-Insurgency (the Kargil War).
  • He always wanted to be a Major since childhood.
  • Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was a member of the Hindu Nair caste.
  • His attitude was that he didn’t want anyone’s approval for what he is, nor did he want to impress anyone.
  • At 22, he topped the Ghatak commando course.
  • He always supported nationalism. For him, nationalism meant that you do something good for the country, not extract benefits from it.
  • He lost his life because of blood loss due to multiple injuries and bullet shots.
  • Major Sandeep’s mother, Dhanalakhsmi Unnikrishnan, received the Ashoka Chakra on 26th January 2009 from the then President of India, Mrs. Partibha Patil.


– What is Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan known for?

During the 26/11 assaults in Mumbai, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan showed extraordinary bravery and heroism. He was instrumental in freeing hostages and fighting terrorists, and he ultimately gave his life to do so.

– What happened during the 2008 Mumbai attacks?

In 2008, a series of terrorist assaults took place in Mumbai.
Mumbai was the target of a series of coordinated terrorist assaults in 2008, often referred to as the 26/11 attacks. Terrorists from the Pakistani extremist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba attacked many targets, causing extensive mayhem and casualties.

– How did Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan contribute during the attacks?

Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan’s leadership and courage under fire were remarkable. In order to free the captives in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, he commanded a squad of commandos. He fought off terrorists in a gun battle, freeing captives in the process, but sadly died in the conflict.

– To what extent has Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan been recognized for his service?

For his amazing courage and sacrifice, Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was posthumously awarded India’s highest peacetime gallantry honor, the Ashoka Chakra. Many people look up to him and consider him a hero because of his bravery.

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