Standing tall and silent on or near or off the shore, lighthouses have long been assisting humans in navigating the seas; warning sailors about the rough rocks, shoals, and other navigational hazards besides acting as a frame of reference and helping them in orienting themselves. Although modern electronic aids and other advanced navigational tools might have largely replaced their role, historical lighthouses still continue to serve mariners besides captivating tourists with their unique charm and imposing structure. Here are five famous lighthouses in India you can check out during your travels across the country.
Vizhinjam Lighthouse, Kerala
The most remarkable feature of Kovalam Beach, this 35-meter-tall lighthouse stands on a rocky outcrop covered in lush palm plantation. In fact, the iconic red-and-white Vizhinjam lighthouse is the reason why this stretch of Kovalam Beach is called Lighthouse Beach. Tourists can climb to the observation deck of this lighthouse for picture-perfect views of the Thiruvananthapuram coastline. Detaching yourself from it all, watch the busy activity near the shoreline and the absolute calm beyond it. This ancient lighthouse has been reopened to visitors recently, after being shut for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lighthouse Beach is situated 16 km away from Thiruvananthapuram.
Mamallapuram Lighthouse, Mamallapuram
Situated on a hillock surrounded by greenery, Mamallapuram Lighthouse is a breathtaking structure built in stone. This lighthouse is not functional now, but it is quite popular with tourists. One can climb the spiral staircase to the top to enjoy amazing views of Mahabalipuram City. This colonial-time construction lies right next to the oldest lighthouse in India that dates back to the Pallava Era. What served as a lighthouse in those times was an all-night burning earthen oil lamp placed on the square roof of the Olakaneeshvara Temple.
Fort Aguada Lighthouse, Goa
Built by the Portuguese in the 17th century, Fort Aguada Lighthouse is said to be the oldest of its kind in Asia. Broader and shorter than most lighthouses in India, this huge white lighthouse is a four-storied structure located within the premises of ancient Aguada Fort on Sinquerim Beach in Goa. This ancient fort that withstood the test of the times is a sight to behold! Climb the narrow stairs of this ancient lighthouse carefully and there you have arresting views of the Sinquerim Beach. You can also witness the magical confluence of the Mandovi River and the Arabian Sea from here.
Kaup Beach Lighthouse, Karnataka
One of the most beautiful lighthouses in India, Kaup Lighthouse is perched on a huge rock on the lesser-known Kaup Beach – a tranquil beach situated at a distance of about 12 km from Udupi in Karnataka. Constructed in 1901, Kaup Lighthouse is painted in a white and black pattern and is known for its stunning architecture. An ascent of about 100 steps of a spiral staircase takes you to the highest point of the lighthouse, from where you can enjoy sweeping views of the Arabian Sea that seems to meet the infinite sky at some point far away. Sunset views from this lighthouse are likely to stay with you for a long time.
False Point Lighthouse, Odisha
India’s oldest functioning lighthouse, False Point Lighthouse has been in operation for the past 180 years. This towering lighthouse that measures nearly 40 m in height sits on a vast island created by the Mahanadi River Delta near the Odisha Coast. Another interesting fact about this lighthouse is that it is the first lighthouse built on India’s eastern coast in 1837. If you are wondering how this lighthouse got its unusual name, it is because sailors often mistook the mouth of Mahanadi River for that of Hooghly River, and approached this point thinking it to be Palmirah Port, which is located at the mouth of the Hooghly River. The authorities called it the False Point, expecting this name to serve as a reminder for Palmirah-bound ships.
The other famous lighthouses in India include Jakhau Lighthouse in Gujarat (the tallest lighthouse in India), Pamban Lighthouse in Rameshwaram, Dwarka Lighthouse, and Thangasseri Lighthouse in Kollam.
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