The big fancy monuments manage to get more than their fair share of attention, but what about the simple historical structures that continue to function to this date, standing strong in the eye of the storm to usher those at sea to safety? We are referring to the beautiful lighthouses of India. The country has many of them and most are not known by travellers. Tucked away on lesser explored beaches and little villages, these lighthouses were built across the varying time periods of history, but most continue to function to this day. They are extremely vital in these port centres for sea traffic and are the heroes of many legends in the region.
They come in a variety of shapes, some cylindrical, some square and few even hexagonal. They come in various colours, white, black, red, or a combination of colours! Their purpose however, continues to be the same. Here is a look at the ten stunning lighthouses of India that are definitely worth visiting, for their sheer beauty and panoramic views they provide.
1. Manapadu Beach, Tuticorin
A beautiful stretch of beach and standing proud on it is a tall vision of white and red, the lighthouse of the Manapadu Beach, located 60 km from Tuticorin. The small coastal village is among the lesser explored beach destinations of India and has a few noteworthy attractions such as the Holy Cross Church. Many historical legends are associated with this region and even films such as Nee Thane En Ponvasantham and Singham 2 have been shot here. The lighthouse is a great place to visit for the view and is a great opportunity for interesting photography.
Manapadu Lighthouse in twilight.
Photo Courtesy: Pee Vee
2. Mamallapuram, Chennai
The stunning views of the region that span across the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal to the architectural marvel of Arjuna's Penance is visible from the Mamallapuram Lighthouse, which was opened to public in the year 2011. The lighthouse is a simple structure built in 1894 and is the modern counterpart of the nearby ancient lighthouse called the Olakaneswara that was built by the Pallava kings. Visit the rocky terrains of Mamallapuram to visit both these lighthouses situated atop small hillocks.
The Mamallapuram Lighthouse against the azure skies.
Photo Courtesy: azulnocturnal
3. Lighthouse Beach, Kovalam
The beach in Kovalam itself earned its name and popularity from the old Vizhinjam Lighouse that is located here. The beautiful and tall structure in interspersing blocks of red and white stands atop rocky terrains, surrounded by greenery and of course the stunning beach. As you walk along the shores of the Arabian Sea, the lighthouse unerringly guides you towards it. At night it takes an an ethereal charm with its beacon flashing on and off. See it in person for an unforgettable experience.
The iconic Kovalam Lighthouse.
Photo Courtesy: Iyad Tibi
4. Marina Beach, Chennai
The 46 mt tall lighthouse on the famous Marina Beach in Chennai was closed to the public for many years before reopening its doors in 2013. Facing the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, the lighthouse is among the most iconic symbols of the city. The external look of the lighthouse is rather plain and simple, lacking the charm of the lighthouses of older times, however, this one is definitely unique. It is the only lighthouse in the country and among very few in the world to have a lift to its ten floors. The 9th floor has a viewing gallery that allows visitors to take a look at the stunning landscape, the 10th floor remains closed to the public.
The popular Marina Beach Lighthouse.
Photo Courtesy: Nagesh Jayaraman
5. Kaup Beach, Muloor
Among the less explored beaches near Udupi is Kaup located at a distance of 12 km from the city. It is also popular for its charming lighthouse, that was built in 1901 and has withstood the passage of time to warn those at sea. The quaint old lighthouse is reminiscent of yesteryear's architecture with spiral staircase slowly winding to the top. On reaching the top, you can view an uninterrupted vision of the Arabian sea and surrounding vistas. The lighthouse is open to visitors between 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
6. Muttom, Kanyakumari
Yet another popular lighthouse destination in the country is Muttom, a large village located in Kanyakumari. The place is popular for its long stretches of unspoiled beaches, rocks and caves. So if you decide to make a trip here then make sure you visit the nearby lighthouse. Built by the British, the lighthouse stands tall at 110 ft above sea level and is distinctly painted in blocks of black and white with a top in red. It is one of the most beautiful lighthouses of India and a sight you just cannot miss!
The black and white striped Muttom Lighthouse.
Photo Courtesy: Infocaster
7. Pamban Island, Rameshwaram
The Pamban or Rameshwaram Island is a small strip of land between peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The beautiful place with its beaches, fisher folk and bridges also has two striking lighthouses. The Pamban lighthouse is visible from a distance at the Pamban bridge. It is hard to miss the structure in blocks of black and white with a red top. The lighthouse is also known as the Pamban Channel Northwest Point Lighthouse. Surrounded by greenery, the beach and many fishing boats, the lighthouse makes for a pretty picture!
Sitting pretty with the sand, surf and fishing boats.
Photo Courtesy: Prabhu B Doss
8. Dwarka Lighthouse, Gujarat
Among the stunning lighthouses of India is the Dwarka Lighthouse, constructed in the early 19th century at the Rupen Creek in Dwarka. Initially the lighthouse was a basic structure that stood at a height of 18 mt and only had a lamp of oil and wick for light. In 1881 the wick-lamp was replaced and further modifications ensured the current structure of the lighthouse. Unlike many others, this lighthouse is cubical in nature and is painted in a striking colour combination of black and white. Situated by the blue waters, the lighthouse poses a mesmerising picture by day and mysterious one by night!
An enigma in the dark.
Photo Courtesy: Nevil Zaveri
9. Pondicherry Lighthouses, Pondicherry
The beautiful surroundings of Pondicherry are home to more than just the sea, they are also home to two beautiful lighthouses. One is the older 19th century lighthouse and one of the most iconic landmarks of the city. The cylindrical lighthouse tower is 29 mt tall and a vision in white. It is however not in use today and sits idle as a heritage monument. The new lighthouse is another interesting structure built in hexagon shape with colours of black and white. Located close to the beach, the lighthouse is an incredible sight.
The new Pondicherry Lighthouse.
Photo Courtesy: Neetesh Gupta
10. Fort Aguada, Goa
Among the most popular forts in the country, Aguada Fort in Goa is also a lighthouse. The well-maintained 17th century Portuguese creation, continues to stand strong to this day. A broad and shorter cylindrical structure in white that tapers upwards to a narrow point. Situated in the upper part of the fort, the lighthouse cannot be climbed. The upper portions of the fort however can give a good idea of the views that are possible from the lighthouse. The popular historical structure has been featured in many movies too!
Stunning both in reel and real life, Aguada Fort Lighthouse.
Photo Courtesy: ddasedEn