Lighting the way: Top 6 lighthouses of India
India, with its extensive coastline, is home to many lighthouses that have played a pivotal role in maritime navigation over the centuries. These towering structures not only guide sailors but also offer stunning views of the vast seas. Here are the top six lighthouses in India, each with its own unique heritage and charm.
1. Manapad Point Lighthouse, Tamil Nadu:
Located in the small town of Manapad, the lighthouse stands on a rocky cliff and offers breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea. The lighthouse was commissioned in 1891 and is known for its whitewashed, cylindrical tower. Reaching Manapad requires a drive from the nearest town, Tuticorin, located about 58 km away.
2. Vizhinjam Lighthouse, Kerala:
Set in the bustling town of Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram, this lighthouse stands tall at 36 meters. It was built in 1972 and offers panoramic views of the Arabian Sea. The lighthouse is easily accessible from Thiruvananthapuram via bus or taxi.
3. Mahabalipuram Lighthouse, Tamil Nadu:
This ancient lighthouse, first commissioned in 640 AD, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once operated by pulleys and ropes, it now stands as a testament to the architectural prowess of the Pallava dynasty. The lighthouse is just a short drive from Chennai, making it a popular day trip for locals and tourists alike.
4. Minicoy Lighthouse, Lakshadweep:
Minicoy Lighthouse is nestled in the tropical paradise of Lakshadweep. Built by the British in 1885, it's one of the oldest lighthouses in India. The lighthouse, with its red and white stripes, is a sight to behold. To reach Minicoy, one can take a flight to Agatti Island from Kochi and then a boat to Minicoy.
5. Kaup Lighthouse, Karnataka:
This 27-meter-high lighthouse, located on the Kaup beach, is an iconic attraction in Udupi district. Built in 1901, the lighthouse offers panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and the lush greenery of Karnataka. Udupi is well connected by road and rail, and once there, a short auto-rickshaw ride will take you to Kaup Lighthouse.
6. Dwarka Lighthouse, Gujarat:
Standing tall on the westernmost tip of Gujarat, Dwarka Lighthouse was built in 1866. It is part of the sacred city of Dwarka, one of the four holy pilgrimage sites (Char Dham) in India. Visitors can reach Dwarka by train or by road from major cities like Ahmedabad and Rajkot.
Each of these lighthouses, apart from their primary function of guiding sailors, offers fascinating insights into India's maritime history and boasts picturesque views that attract tourists from around the world. While visiting these lighthouses, remember to respect the heritage structures and the premises. Most lighthouses have specific visiting hours, so it's advisable to check beforehand.
Whether you're a history buff, a lover of coastal landscapes, or simply seeking a unique travel experience, exploring these lighthouses can be a mesmerizing adventure. However, it's important to gather the most up-to-date information about each lighthouse before planning your visit. Here are some recommended sources to consult for detailed and current information:
1. Official Websites: The official websites of the lighthouses or the authorities responsible for their maintenance are valuable sources of information. They often provide details about visiting hours, entry fees (if applicable), and any specific guidelines to follow during your visit. These websites may also offer insights into the history and heritage of the lighthouses. Search for the respective lighthouse names along with terms like "official website" or "tourist information" to find the relevant sources.
2. Travel and Tourism Websites: Popular travel and tourism websites often feature comprehensive guides on various destinations, including lighthouses. Websites like Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com) and TripAdvisor (www.tripadvisor.com) provide user-generated reviews, ratings, and practical tips for travellers. These platforms can offer insights into the experiences of other visitors and may include recommendations on how to reach the lighthouses.
3. Guidebooks: Travel guidebooks dedicated to India or specific regions within the country can be valuable resources for planning your trip. Guidebooks often provide detailed information on attractions, including lighthouses, along with maps, transportation options, and nearby accommodations. Look for reputable guidebooks such as "Lonely Planet India" or "Rough Guides India" in bookstores or online platforms.
4. Local Information Centres: When you arrive at your destination, consider visiting local information centres or tourist offices. These centres can provide brochures, maps, and firsthand recommendations for visiting the lighthouses. They may also have updated information on any temporary closures, construction works, or special events related to the lighthouses.
5. Online Travel Communities and Forums: Online travel communities and forums, such as India Mike (www.indiamike.com) or TripAdvisor's India Travel Forum (www.tripadvisor.in/ShowForum-g293860-i511-India.html), can be helpful platforms to seek advice and interact with fellow travellers. You can ask specific questions about visiting lighthouses in India and receive responses from experienced visitors or locals who are familiar with the area.
Remember, while planning your visit, it's essential to prioritize safety, respect the heritage of these structures, and adhere to any rules or guidelines provided by the authorities. The lighthouses offer not only spectacular views but also a glimpse into India's rich maritime history and cultural significance.
So, embark on a journey to discover these remarkable lighthouses and witness the convergence of history, architecture, and natural beauty along India's captivating coastline.
This year, a 3 day Lighthouse festival is organized by Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships - between 21-23 September. Be a part of this sensory journey that celebrates heritage, art & natural beauty.