History of Chennai Lighthouse:
The very first traditional lighthouse started off its operation in 1796. At that time the officer’s mess-cum-exchange building’s terrace (which is presently known as the Fort Museum) was selected to be the first guiding light which employed a huge lantern to guide the vessels moving towards the seaport. This light acted as a warning signal to avoid the risk of shoals present in the Kovalam (or Covelong) beach in north as well as south. This lighthouse operated till the year 1841.
The Chennai Lighthouse District:
Description of the Towers of Chennai Lighthouse:
There are 5 towers in Chennai Lighthouse. They are:
- The Channel Tower at the Entrance:
The height of the channel tower at the entrance is approximately 79 feet (or24 meters) which includes flashing red, white and green lights and an 85 feet (or 26 meters) focal plane. The tower is still functioning.
- The 1st Tower (1796–1844)
The very first warning light which was the lantern on the terrace of Fort Museum is out of order since the year 1844.
- The 2nd Tower (1844–1894)
The 2nd lighthouse in Chennai was set up in 1841. It is situated inside the Chennai High Court’s compound to the north of the renowned Fort St. George.
The height of this stone tower is approximately 161 feet (or 49 meters). The base of the tower has a breadth of 55 feet and its column is about 84 feet high with a narrowing diameter (having 16 feet at its base and at the top its 11 feet).
The total height of the complete tower from foot to top is 125 feet. The light was put at a height of 117 feet and it helped people to view the sea up to 20 miles. This tower is inoperative since 1894 and after that it was shifted at the top of the new Chennai High Court building constructed in 1892.
- The 3rd Tower (1894–1977)
The lantern was shifted from the 2nd tower to one of the highest towers of Chennai High Court. The third tower is out of order since 1977.
- The 4th Tower (1977 to present)
The current lighthouse has a triangular cylindrical shape which has a double gallery and a lantern. Its height is approximately 11 stories. This tower is joined to a 3 storey circular harbor control building. The full height of this tower is about 150 feet(or 45.72 meters) and has a light source which is placed at a 187 feet height from the MSL(Mean Sea Level).
The Progress Report of Chennai Lighthouse:
The proposed heritage museum will include the following:
- Early kerosene lamps
- Ancient electrical lamps
- Oil-bearing huge wicks
- Olden petroleum vapor lamps