15 lighthouses to become tourist destinations
New Delhi: Tourists can soon have a view of the Bay of Bengal from Gopalpur lighthouse in Odisha or the Arabian Sea from Kanhoji Angre lighthouse in Mumbai, which would be developed as tourist destinations.
The Gopalpur lighthouse in Ganjam district was a major landmark for sea travellers as it used to be a famous trade port, while the Kanhoji Angre lighthouse situated on Kennery Island had strategic importance for the Portuguese, the English and the Marathas as it stood at the entrance of the Mumbai harbour from the south.
These two are among 15 heritage lighthouses chosen by Tourism Ministry along with Shipping Ministry to be developed as tourist sites in the country.
Other lighthouses identified for development as tourist destinations include Kanyakumari, Rameswaram, Mahabalipuram, Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, Chandrabhaga, Paradip, Aguado, Dwarka and Minicoy.
Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi has held discussions with Shipping Minister G K Vasan and Minister of State for Shipping Milind Deora and agreed to provide central financial assistance for the development of the 15 lighthouses as tourist destinations.
Both ministries are of the opinion that the development of such lighthouses will not only protect national heritage, but also help in developing new tourism destinations.
"The aim is to create awareness and educate the public on the significance of lighthouses, its history and technology and offer tourists spectacular views of the splendid Indian beaches and seas," a senior Tourism Ministry official said.
"It would create a unique lighthouse-based cultural, recreational tourism segment which is in demand due to their remote, tranquil and serene location. It would also create job opportunities for locals in the area," the official said.
There would be landscape enhancement, restoration and conservation of existing lighthouses, development of basic amenities, cafeteria and deployment of guides for tourists.
There are about 180 lighthouses in the country out of which 15 having historical importance will be taken up for development in the first phase.