Lighting up 194 light houses to attract tourists
09 July 2020: Union Minister of State (I/C)for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya held a high level meeting, for developing around 194 existing lighthouses across India as major tourist attractions. The Minister said it will boost the tourism activities in lighthouses surrounding areas and give an opportunity to know about the enriched history of lighthouses.
India has 194 lighthouses dotting its vast coast line of 7,517 km. They are categorized for administrative reasons into nine directorates: Gandhidham, Jamnagar, Mumbai, Goa, Trivandrum, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Kolkata and Port Blair. They are administered by the Directorate General of Lighhouses and Lightships, Government of India whose head office is located in Noida.
India’s oldest lighthouse, built around 640 AD by Pallava king Mahendra Pallava stands next to this modern structure. The Pallava era lighthouse is a protected monument, maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The officials presented a detailed action plan to develop lighthouses as tourism spots. Mandaviya advised officials to identify the lighthouses which are more than 100 years old. He put impetus on creating museums to showcase the history and working of lighthouses, equipment used in lighthouse operation etc.
As per the master development plan of lighthouses, some key attractions are museums, aquarium, children play area and gardens, along with water bodies.
The Minister also took stock of the progress for developing tourist activities at Gopnath, Dwarka and Veraval lighthouses of Gujarat. The Minister instructed the official to prepare a detailed presentation on the project at the earliest. The meeting was attended by the Secretary, Shipping Ministry and DG, Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships along with the other stakeholders.
According to Lighthouse Directory, there are more than 18,600 lighthouses worldwide. Lighthouses are objects that serve for navigation at sea. Once widely used, the number of operational lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance and has become uneconomical since the advent of cheaper and often much more effective electronic navigational systems.