By K. Ashwin Mob: 00919920183006 E-mail: email@example.com
The Kanhoji Angre lighthouse off the Mumbai coast is all set to become a new tourist attraction. A formal announcement to this effect was made by the Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi in Mumbai along with Minister of State for Shipping Milind Deora at the Port Trust Headquarters.
The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Shipping have drawn up plans to develop 15 light houses across the country, as places of tourist attractions.
Speaking on the occasion, Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi said his Ministry has agreed to extend financial assistance for development of light houses as tourist attractions. In the first phase, the Kanhoji Angre Light house near Mumbai, the light house located at the Dolphin Nose Point in Visakhapatnam and the one located at the Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) near Chennai are being developed as pilot projects. Of these, Kanhoji Angre Light House is the only one which is located in the middle of the sea.
MoS Shipping Milind Deora said the development of Kanhoji Angre Light House includes conservation of light house and viewing gallery, conservation of fort wall, tent style accommodation, construction of jetty and passenger terminal and electrification through solar power system. He added that the thrust is on developing the new destinations in an eco-friendly manner. The work at Kanhoji Angre Island is expected to be completed within 10 months.
Ministries of Tourism and Shipping believe that development of such light-houses will not only protect national heritage, but also help evince new interest among youth about maritime history.
About Kanhoji Angre Light House.
Named after the famous Maratha Admiral – Kanhoji Angre, the light house is located on Kanhoji Angre Island, which was previously known as Kennery Island or Khanderi Island. It is an off shoot hillock of the western ghats and is situated opposite the Thal fishing port near Alibaug, 9 nautical miles away from the Gateway of India and serves as an important land mark at the entrance of the Mumbai harbour.
In 1852, a beacon was constructed on Khanderi island but had to be demolished immediately due to its similarity to the Colaba lighthouse. The work on construction of the new 17 metre high octagonal masonry light house began in October 1866 and the light was first lit in June 1867. The initial large wick lamp and optic assembly was supplied by M/s Chance Brothers, Birmingham. In 1930, the wick lamp was replaced by a PV burner.
There is also a fort on the island, built by the Portuguese and later occupied by the Marathas. Kanhoji Angre took command of the Maratha Navy in 1708 and won a number of sea battles till his death in 1729. Khanderi island was renamed in his honour in 1998 on the occasion of the Quasquicentennial (125th ) Anniversary of the Mumbai Port Trust.