Thursday, 1 August 2013

Ray of hope for lighthouses in Odisha

Gopalpur-on-Sea (Berhampur)
If you love spending time on the beach, wait for a spate of exciting activities in the near future. The directorate of Lighthouses and Lightships, Mumbai, has decided to include three heritage lighthouses of Odisha to make them more attractive with beautiful landscape designs, conservation work, development of amenities and cafeterias. Three lighthouses at Gopalpur, Chandrabhaga and Paradip port will be developed as tourist destinations and have additional recreational avenues for which Union tourism ministry will be spending money. The shipping ministry has decided to develop 15 such heritage lighthouses across the coast of India.
Gopalpur, the famous beachfront town near Berhampur city in Ganjam district of Odisha is also a well-known tourist destination. “In the past, we have climbed on the top of the lighthouse, and seen the beautiful Bay of Bengal and the shadow of it on the beach. With the proposal from the shipping ministry to make it more attractive, a lot of tourists will definitely avail the opportunity to explore the British-era wonder,’’ said Manas Panigrahi of Berhampur city, which is also known for its silk saris.
Gopalpur lighthouse came into existence in 1871 for assisting coastal shipping between Rangoon and Coromandal coast ports. The steamer service to Rangoon also touched Gopalpur port in the past. Local residents said due to erosion of the coast in 1943, the lighthouse got heavily damaged and stopped functioning. Later, it remained unused due to World War II. In 1948, a new gas light inside a 500mm lantern was established on a hillock about 1km north from the coast. The present lighthouse was constructed on December 15, 1967.
Tour operator Srikant Mishra from Bhubaneswar is happy that the Centre has considered the renovation and development of the heritage lighthouse. “We often get tourists who want to take beach tourism very seriously and also explore the lighthouses, but there is no amenities for them. The project will help them to spend quality time there. The destinations will be helpful for the niche tourists,” he added.
Some of the major lighthouses included in the programme are the ones at Kanhoji Angre in Mumbai, Kanyakumari, Rameswaram, Mahabalipuram, Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, Aguado, Dwarka and Minicoy. Source: The Telegraph

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