The light house is perhaps the most recent structure in Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram. It doesn’t belong to the Pallava or Sangam period. It belongs to the British period! This light house was constructed in 1900 and is 26 meters tall. This was constructed to signal the ships in Bay of Bengal, of course.
From the Mahabs bus-stand, if one takes a left, they’ll reach the shore temple/beach. If you go further up (straight) instead, the road curves right and there is a 2-way junction. You need to take left from there (taking right will lead you out of Mahabalipuram) and the light house/surrounding monuments can be reached through a gate on the right side of the road.
You can do two things here – You can climb on the rock or you can climb on the light-house itself! Yes, you are allowed to climb the light-house here. It seems they have reopened it after 20 years! I didn’t want to miss this chance, hence I opted to climb the light-house, which is taller. There is only one problem – The omni-present crowd on the weekends!
If the light-house is crowded and if you see anyone standing on the steps when you enter, it is better to skip and not buy the ticket, as it takes a long time for limited batch of people (10-15 are allowed at a time) to climb the last stretch that has very narrow wooden-steps. These steps (around 15) at last are very steep and only one person can climb at a time. It may not be a good idea to try to climb this, if you are over 50 years of age.
But once you get to the top of the light-house, the view is stunning. It took me half an hour of standing in the queue and another 20 minutes at the top, with relatively less crowd during the time I went in (lunch). That’s because, even if one person is struck up and is not able to climb down, it takes some efforts to bring them down (I guess). People have to go up and come back from the top, for the next batch to enter. I just wish the stairs were broader, especially the last few ones made of wood.
Have a look at the photos of monuments around this light-house campus -
Here’s the view from the top of the light-house -
Howzzzzz it? Yes, the height makes you slightly dizzy, but that’s better than climbing those wooden stairs! It looks like climbing the light-house is only for the brave hearts, and (accidentally) I too became one!