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19th Century Light House in Pondicherry


When you go for sightseeing in Pondicherry, you will find an old lighthouse on Goubert Salai. This 19th Century Lighthouse in Pondicherry is a significant landmark in Pondicherry. Its unique architecture of a round tower has made it a modern lighthouse at the time it was built.

There is an interesting story behind the construction of the 19th Century Lighthouse in Pondicherry. At that time there was no signal for the ships coming to Pondicherry. The only light that was there was the fire located on the top of the Red Hills, and it was not serving the purpose at all. Therefore, all the principal merchants and captains of the ships set up a committee and asked the government to build a lighthouse. After much delay the project was finally taken up during the tenure of Governor Saint Simon in 1835. The engineer of the project, Louis Guerre laid the foundation of the 19th Century Lighthouse in Pondicherry at the end of 1835 and the inauguration ceremony of the lighthouse took place in February 1836. However, the lighthouse was not used from that time since the beacon that was coming from France did not reach Pondicherry till that time, and therefore the first time it was lighted was in 1St July, 1836.

The 19th Century Lighthouse in Pondicherry is regarded as a milestone in French technical achievements in Asia. The 29 meter high lighthouse with the unique features of round tower and a square base took just few months to be completed and the cost was just 10,000 francs. The foundation of the lighthouse was made with nine meter deep masonry wells which stabilized the building on the sandy ground.

When the 19th Century Lighthouse of Pondicherry was in operation then its light was seen from a distance of 15 miles. This strength of light was provided with six oil lamps and two reflectors. The beautiful view was not restricted to just the night sea travelers; the citizens of Pondicherry could also see the view from the top after dropping a little money in a box at the gate of the lighthouse. The lighthouse keeper was a Frenchman who was paid 600 francs a year for lighting it at the onset of evening.

This lighthouse was subject to changes at various times. The major change was made in the structure when a round base was built encircling the older square base of the lighthouse. The first floor of the lighthouse was an addition made at the beginning of the 20th century. Modernization came in the method of lighting also, first it had electric lights in 1913 and then in 1931, a more powerful lamp was placed there.

So, when you go for a trip to Pondicherry make sure you do not miss this 19th Century Lighthouse at Pondicherry, which is however, not in use in the recent times.

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