A lighthouse of yore

KAKINADA DEC. 4. The old lighthouse at Vakalapudi on the outskirts of this town in Andhra Pradesh, which has served the ancient port for nearly a century and a quarter, is set to vanish soon and a new lighthouse is to take its place. A port office functioned at Kakinada since the beginning of the 20th century, when a steamer service was launched between Rangoon and Machilipatnam, touching ports en route, including Kakinada. The lighthouse came under the port's control in 1941.

Rising to a height of about 28 metres, it was built in 1878 on an area of 2.4 hectares donated by the Maharaja of Pithapuram. The construction started in 1874. It was completed in 1878 and commissioned a year later. The structure, which has stone block masonry up to a height of 3 m followed by brickwork in lime mortar, has withstood several cyclones. It is still strong and stands as a reminder of the maritime trade that existed ever since the period of Kakatiya kings. The need to preserve it has been expressed.

Earlier, a proposal was made to develop the coastal stretch between Kakinada and Uppada Kothapalli, 20 km away, as a picnic spot and a tourist centre. The ancient lighthouse also forms part of the area.

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