Sunday, November 7, 2010

Latest lighthouse

Somehow, one has always thought of lighthouses as being cylindrical structures. Even though the Doric column which served as Madras' second lighthouse (the first was just a collection of lamps on top the Exchange building in Fort St George) is a dodecagon, it approximated a cylinder enough to be forgiven its twelve sides. The third lighthouse was once again on top of a building that was meant for other purposes; the fourth - and current lighthouse of Chennai, however, has the least number of sides needed for an enclosed structure.

When this lighthouse became operational on January 10, 1977, the range of the beam was increased from 24 miles to 28. At a height of 57m, it is decidedly middle-of-the-range for lighthouse heights (the Jeddah Light, at 133m is supposedly the tallest), so there is nothing particularly great about that. What distinguishes the 'Madras Light' - apart from its triangular building - is that it is the only lighthouse in India (and one of the few in the world) to have an elevator in the building!

For the trivia buffs - the only lighthouse in the USA with an elevator is the one at Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. Interestingly, that is also a triangular building!


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P.N. Subramanian said...

Nice info. Thanks.