The Thangassery Lighthouse

The nooks and corners of the age-old city of Kollam reek of the history of its past colonial masters. It was initially an enclave of the Portuguese, Dutch and the British in this succession order. Today, however, the city of Kollam is known as the World Capital for Cashew Export as well as for its surrounding historical monuments and enchanting backwaters. Kollam, a city of the Indian state of Kerala, is located on the banks of the Ashtamudi Lake which links numerous water channels to form the famous backwaters that are famous globally. A ride through its silky waters becomes an unforgettable memory in those fortunate enough to have cruised through the lakes numerous islands and emerald greenery.

Kollam, being a major trading port, attracted a number of Europeans to its shores. The picturesque seaside village of Thangassery, also once known as Dutch Quilon is located about 5km away from Kollam city. Thangassery boasts a rich historical past as it has witnessed successive settlements by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British, who fought hard battles for its wealth and power. The name itself means ‘village of gold’, suggesting the thriving trade used gold as its currency. The ruins of an old Portuguese fort as well as churches built in the 18nth century are now part of Thangassery’s historical monuments.

The small town of Thangassery is also famous for its beach, aside from its historical significance. The beach is a 3km stretch of pristine white sands and shallow waves that make it perfect for splashing and swimming. The backdrop of tall swaying coconut trees makes for a relaxing backdrop to the serene, quiet beach. The 3km long breakwater along the beach is a major attraction and a ride along it can improve on the enchantment quotient!

Another attraction to the beach is the famous Thangassery Lighthouse, which can be seen rising up majestically above the coconut trees. The cylindrical lighthouse tower is painted in catchy red and white oblique bands. You can bear witness to the glorious sun setting over the Arabian Sea, as well as the rising moon as you drive down on the Lighthouse road. The Thangassery beach Lighthouse was built in 1902 to guide fishermen and sailors along the reef-riddled coastal waters. Its beacon can be seen up to 20km out at sea. History has it that prior to construction of the lighthouse, the British East India Company had installed a tower with an oil lamp.

Before the development of clearly defined ports, mariners were guided by fires built on hilltops. This was later changed to keeping the fire on a raised platform to improve its visibility. It later led to the development of the lighthouse. A lighthouse is a tower designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and to serve as a navigational aid for maritime piloting. The most famous lighthouse structure was the Pharos of Alexandria; this, however, collapsed during an earthquake. Due to the high cost of maintenance, the number of operational lighthouses has gone down drastically and electronic navigational systems have taken over.

Still, the romance of the lighthouse makes it an added attraction as it now beacons to the urbanites. Visitors are allowed to climb to the top of the 140feet high Thangassery lighthouse tower during 10am to 5pm. The tiresome 200steps climb up the spiraling staircase to the top of the tower is more than made up for by the spectacular 360 degrees panoramic view of the Arabian Sea and splendor of the backwaters and Kollam city.

This lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse on the coast of Kerala and the splendid views from the tower draw tourists like a magnet. The enchanting beauty and the calm silence of the secluded area around the lighthouse are also great for a little family picnic, or just to spend some quality time alone with only our thoughts to keep us company.

Kollam is easily accessible by train, road or air. Trivandrum International airport is barely 70km away on brisk highways for those coming by flight. A cab ride can then get you to the Thangassery beach and lighthouse from Kollam city. The city also offers accommodation ranging from budget to luxury five-star hotels to suit all pockets. The Raviz, Ashtamudi is one such hotel where all your needs can be met and your visit to the Thangassery lighthouse made even more memorable!