From Krishnan Nayar
NEW DELHI, 24th September, 2023 (WAM) – India has embarked on a novel effort to develop its 203 lighthouses along the country’s sprawling 7,517-km coastline as tourist attractions.
As part of this effort, India’s first Lighthouse Festival opened in the popular tourist destination of Fort Aguada in Goa yesterday.
Fort Aguada is one of 75 such lighthouses along India’s coastline to be developed for tourism in the first phase of this initiative.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his monthly interactive radio address to the nation that “in all these lighthouses, depending on their capacities, museums, amphi-theatres, open air stages, cafeterias, children’s parks, eco-friendly cottages and landscapes will be built as centres of attraction for tourists.”
Making a case for developing tourism facilities around the light house complexes, Modi pointed out that lighthouse Chennai is one of the few lighthouses in the world which has elevators. “Such lighthouses are unique in terms of tourism.”
Modi’s radio address, known as “Mann ki Baat,” translates randomly as “Thoughts from the Mind,” and has millions of listeners, usually on the last weekend of every month.
Inaugurating the festival, India’s Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal, said “while ships continue to be guided for safe sailing by these lighthouses, they will now also offer opportunities to people to relish their magnificent beauty with nature.”
Goa’s Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on this occasion that “Goa has played an important role in India’s maritime history. Lighthouses are beacons of hope and symbols of strength.”
The festival has been organised like a carnival with a variety of local artists and dance troupes, culinary and ethnic food stalls, music concerts and similar activities. Historians, archaeologists and cultural anthropologists will participate in discussions on maritime history.