Restoration of 186-year-old lighthouse in Puducherry picks up pace

The work, stalled due to the pandemic, will be completed soon, says official

Updated - March 02, 2022 06:21 pm IST

Published - March 02, 2022 12:12 pm IST - PUDUCHERRY

With almost 65% of the work completed, restoration of the main tower is expected to be completed by March-end. File photo

With almost 65% of the work completed, restoration of the main tower is expected to be completed by March-end. File photo | Photo Credit: S.S. KUMAR

The restoration of the 186-year-old lighthouse, a Grade A listed heritage structure, on the Beach Promenade has picked up pace.

Deactivated in the 1970s, the iconic structure finally got its due in 2020 after the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) commenced work to restore the structure.

However, the work had slowed down significantly due to the pandemic. Being carried out at a cost of ₹3.32 crore, the project is being executed by the CPWD. While the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is the architectural advisor, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras is the structural consultant.

The work would be completed soon, a senior official said.

“With almost 65% of the work completed, work on the restoration of the main tower is expected to be completed by March-end. The work is being carried out very carefully and we are using only traditional materials including lime concrete and pressed clay tiles. The circular wooden steps leading to the steps are also being replaced and we have taken care to retain the originality of the structure without tampering the materials or the architecture of this building,” A. Arul, senior architect of INTACH told TheHindu.

The work also includes laying of Kota stone flooring for the pavilion and flame-finished granite slab flooring in verandah and pathways. The damaged rafters and beams on all roofs were being replaced with teak rafters while the rooms in the structure would have oxide flooring. “The restoration work also includes landscaping,” he added.

Steepedinhistory

The heritage structure is a landmark that cannot be missed by tourists along Goubert Avenue. It forms part of an ensemble of important buildings such as the Mairie, Customs House, old court building, and the French Consulate.

Built by the French in 1836 to guide the mariners coming to Puducherry, the lighthouse is said to be the first lighthouse on the Coromandel coast and one among the 21 heritage buildings notified by the government as protected and restored.

“In March 1836, the lighthouse was erected by engineer L. Guerre. It started with 12 oil lamps magnified by lenses and mirrors and the light was visible at a distance of 15 to 17 metres. The oil lamps were later replaced by a rotating battery-powered beam that could be seen 25 metres away. The lighthouse was last deactivated in 1979,” according to INTACH.

It is a load-bearing structure with Madras terrace and was built in brick and lime mortar with lime plaster. The fluted tapering tower standing tall about 29 metres was originally built on a square base with a room for a watchman and an inner staircase. The upper storey with 218 wooden steps leading to the tower was added during the 20th century.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.