A Lighthouse Moment in Pulicat

About this time last year, in between a horde of working weekends I got a single weekend off. Since we had not been out of town for a long time, my husband suggested that we go to Pulicat for a day trip.

Situated 50 kms north of Chennai, Pulicat is the second largest brackish water lake in India. It is also a well known a bird sanctuary where thousands of migratory birds flock every winter.

Of birds, we didn’t spot any but we were attracted towards the solitary tall lighthouse situated across the creek.

Wandering through the dingy fishing village of Pulicat, we just followed a milling crowd of picnicing families in their best saris and anarkali salwars into the compound.

We saw every visitor was taking off their footwear before stepping through the door at the bottom of the lighthouse. At first sight, we thought that we had perhaps wandered into a Puja of some sort. But after inquiring around a little we realized that people taking off their footwear to go up the lighthouse. We jumped up on hearing this. I had never been inside, let alone on top of a lighthouse. To me, lighthouses were these super secret structures where commoners like us are forbidden to enter. Hence, an opportunity to actually climb to the top of one was terribly exciting.


With the entry ticket in hand, we eagerly entered through the gate into a greenish octagonal space with no other openings except for a few air vents at regular intervals around its walls. We walked to the center and looked up. It was like the inside of a periscope, a symmetric spiral hypnotically whirring away into infinity. We were awestruck. After several minutes of staring at it, we suddenly realized that we didn’t see elevator doors around us. That means, we would have to WALK up! We did hesitate for a moment but in the end curiosity got the better of us. Huffing puffing we made our way up. I must say though the view was worth the sweat.

So that was weekend trip to a lighthouse in Pulicat. Have you ever been to the top of a lighthouse? Where? When? Love to hear about your ‘Lighthouse Moment’.



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