In 1936, she was the first woman pilot to enter the cockpit in a saree!

In 1936, this Indian pilot was the first to get her aviation license when she was just 21 years old after she flew a Gypsy Moth solo between Karachi to Lahore! Sarla Thakral was a married woman who had a 4-year-old daughter back home when she took her first flight. Her story will definitely inspire you!

Sarla Thakral was born in 1914 and married at a very young age. Her husband P. D. Sharma was a Captain too who came from a family of 9 pilots. This was the encouragement she received to become a pilot. Sarla attained her ‘A’ license when she accumulated over 1000 hours of flying!

Credits: Instagram

In 1939 however, she lost her husband in a flight crash. She wished to fly as a commercial pilot but cancelled the idea to support and earn a livelihood for her daughter.

She went on to pursue a Diploma in fine arts at Mayo School of Art where she trained in the Bengal school of painting for a career.

The inside of Dehavilland Gypsy Moth Cockpit  back in 1929

Credits: the better India

A dedicated follower of Arya Samaj, Sarla was known to be the first lady to enter the cockpit in a saree!

During her later years, she was designing costume jewellery and supplied it to Cottage Emporium for over 15 years. After that, she gave her best at block painting for 15 years. Eventually, she began designing for the National School of Drama until she died in 2008.


Sarla Thakral was also known as Mati will remain a role model to many women who wish to achieve their goals in life.