The glowing tale of Chennai’s lighthouses

On August 15, the facility on the Marina – the youngest of the city’s four — will be open to the public after over 20 years

Obscured today by the glitter of city lights, Chennai’s lighthouses were for decades its defining landmarks. The first lighthouse was proposed in 1795 — the year in which a census of the city was taken.

Since then, the city’s population has grown from around 3 lakh to more than 80 lakh even as the technology in the lighthouses has evolved from oil wicks and argand lamps to a 3000-watt incandescent lamp. Come August 15, residents of the city will have an opportunity to get a taste of this history when the lighthouse at the Marina will be thrown open to the public.

In 1795, the Madras Presidency encompassed much of south India and also Ceylon. As its capital, Madras was the nerve centre of the sea trade controlled by the British East India Company. However, ships approaching Madras after nightfall faced the risk of running aground on the shoals of Covelong(Kovalam). In the north, the sand-banks of Armagon and Pulicat were a menace.

Full report here Hindu


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