Lighthouses of India: West Bengal and Odisha

This page lists lighthouses of India's northeast coast, including the states of West Bengal and Odisha (formerly Orissa). This coastline, facing the head of the Bay of Bengal, is almost everywhere low and sandy, with numerous offshore shoals. The major ports are Kolkata (Calcutta) is on the Hooghly River, one of the distributaries of the Ganges Delta at the head of the Bay.

Note: The name of the former Orissa State was changed to Odisha by the Indian Parliament in November 2010. This change was effective in November 2011.

Most of this coast is an economically depressed region well off the usual routes of foreign tourists. Photos of several of the lighthouses of this region are needed.

India was part of the British Empire until 1947, so the lighthouse heritage is British. However, only a fraction of the original British lighthouses remain in use; new towers have been built at most of the stations. India has also built many lighthouses at new locations in recent years. Lighthouses and aids to navigation in India are administered by the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL), an agency of the Ministry of Shipping. Lighthouses of West Bengal and Odisha are maintained by the Kolkata Directorate of DGLL.

Neraly all of the larger Indian lighthouses are staffed, and by long tradition the staff will receive visitors at a specific time, usually late in the afternoon. Several lighthouses have been developed as tourist attractions and have longer hours.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume F of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 112.

General Sources
Aids to Navigation - Kolkata Region
Lighthouse information from DGLL, including photos for most of the lighthouses.
World of Lighthouses - India
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Lighthouses in India
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Online List of Lights - India
Coming soon: photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Indian Lighthouses
Historic postcard images posted by Michel Forand.
Leuchttürme Asiens auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Dariapur Light
Dariapur Light, Contai, West Bengal, June 2010
Flickr photo (no longer online) copyright Kit Walker
permission requested

Lighthouses of West Bengal

South 24 Pardenas District (East Side Hooghly Estuary) Lighthouse
* Sagar Island (Saugor, Middleton Point) (3)
1909 (station established 1821). Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); white flash every 3 s. 23 m (79 ft) round cast iron tower, painted with horizontal red and white bands. The base of the lighthouse is surrounded by a square pyramidal observation platform of recent construction. We have a DGLL photo (also seen at right), Dipak Das has a 2017 photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. The second lighthouse (1852) was also a cast iron tower. The present lighthouse has a very attractive setting in the center of a square reservation, surrounded by a moat and buildings now used for offices. In 2015 the lighthouse was identified for future tourist development. Located at Middleton Point on Sagar Island, marking the east side of the entrance to the Hooghly estuary and Kolkata (Calcutta). The island is accessible by ferry; it is a pilgrimage site, being the place where the Ganges meets the sea. Site open, tower closed but visitors can climb the observation platform. ARLHS IND-060; Admiralty F1028; NGA 26860.
Diamond Harbour (2?)
Date unknown (station established 1898). Active; focal plane unknown; flash every 2 s, white or red depending on direction. The light lists do not describe this light, but Piyush Singh has a photo of a tall skeletal mast close to the listed location of the light. Diamond Harbour is on the east side of the Hooghly on the southern edge of the Kolkata metropolitan area. It has no port facilities, but it was a protected anchorage for ships waiting to proceed to the city's docks. Located north of the jetty in Diamond Harbour. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1035; NGA 26892.

Purba Medinipur (East Midnapore) District (West Side Hooghly Estuary) Lighthouses
Ludlow Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and characteristic unknown. Approx. 22 m (72 ft) tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located in a jute mill on the west bank of the Hooghly in Ludlow. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1037.61.
Uluberiya Reach Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane and characteristic unknown. Approx. 22 m (72 ft) tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the west bank of the Hooghly south of Uluberiya. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1035.91.
Sagar Island Light
Sagar Island Light, Sagar Island
DGLL photo
Nayachara Outer Column
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); white flash every 10 s. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) round masonry obelisk. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view. Located near the northeastern end of Nayacharya Island, opposite Haldia. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1034; NGA 26868.
Nayachara Inner Column
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 1.5 s. Approx. 13 m (43 ft) round masonry obelisk. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located near the northeastern end of Nayacharya Island, about 800 m (1/2 mi) west southwest of the outer column. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1034.5; NGA 26869.
Haldia Channel South
Date unknown. Active; focal plane unknown; white flash every 10 s. Approx. 20 m (66 ft) square skeletal tower, probably with gallery. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This light marks a bend in the Hooghly channel. Located on the west side of the Hooghly estuary about 7 km (4 mi) south of Haldia. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1032.7; NGA 26865.
Sandia Outer Column
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); white flash every 10 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round masonry obelisk. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the Hooghly estuary about 8 km (5 mi) north of Gangra. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1031.45; NGA 26862.
Sandia Inner Column
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); white flash every 1.5 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) round masonry obelisk. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the Hooghly estuary about 5 km (3 mi) north of Gangra. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1031.46; NGA 26863.
*** Dariapur (2)
1968 (station established 1943). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); two long (1.4 s) white flashes every 20 s. 26 m (85 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with horizontal black and white bands. Kit Walker's photo is at the top of this page, we have the DGLL photo, a 2012 photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Kit Walker's 2010 photo at the top of this page shows the lighthouse freshly painted and apparently in excellent condition. The original light was on a 20 m (66 ft) steel mast. Listed as a tourist attraction, this lighthouse is apparently open for climbing. In 2015 it was identified for future tourist development. About 8 km (5 mi) northeast of this station is the location of the Cowcolly Light, built in 1810 and active until the 1920s. Located near Contai (Kanthi) on the west side of the entrance to the Hooghly estuary and Kolkata (Calcutta), about 8 km (5 mi) northeast of Janput. Site open, tower apparently open but we do not know the schedule. ARLHS IND-030; Admiralty F1029; NGA 26861.

Lighthouses of Odisha (Orissa)

Kendrapara District Lighthouse
False Point (Batighar)
1837. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 38 m (125 ft) round granite tower, painted with horizontal red and white bands. The lighthouse traditionally carries a 10-point star-shaped daymark, placed in recent years on one of the white bands. Pravir Sahoo has a 2015 photo, we have a DGLL photo, a local web site has a small photo and some information about the lighthouse (2/3 the way down the page) and Google has a satellite view. The lighthouse was built to mark the entrance to the Mahanadi River; it also marks the nearby cape, which is called False Point because mariners bound for Calcutta sometimes mistook it for Palmyras Point farther north. This is one three lighthouses in Odisha designated for tourist development in 2011. Located about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) from the coastline and south of the point near Paradip (Paradeep). Site open but difficult to find, tower status unknown. ARLHS IND-033; Admiralty F1006; NGA 26900.

Jagatsinghpur District (Port of Paradip) Lighthouses
Note: Paradip, Odisha's only deepwater port, is an artificial harbor constructed in 1962-66. The area surrounding the port has been developed as an industrial center.
Paradip Entrance Range Front
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white light, 1 s on, 1 s off. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) round concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located on the west side of the harbor entrance. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1005.6; NGA 26916.
Paradip Entrance Range Middle
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 45 m (148 ft); white light, 2 s on, 3 s off. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower carrying a rectangular slatted daymark painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a fuzzy satellite view. Located 1650 m (1.026 mi) northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1005.605; NGA 26918.
Paradip Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 60 m (197 ft); white light, 5 s on, 5 s off. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower carrying a rectangular slatted daymark painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, and the tower is not seen in Google's fuzzy satellite view. Located 740 m (0.46 mi) northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1005.61; NGA 26920.
Paradip Inner Harbor Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); quick-flashing white light. Approx. 25 m (82 ft) round concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1005.8; NGA 26924.
Paradip Inner Harbor Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); white flash every 4 s. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) round concrete tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This appears to be the tallest of the range lighthouses at the new harbor of Paradip. Located on the west side of the harbor, 300 m (980 ft) northwest of the front light. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1005.81; NGA 26928.
Paradip Customs Office
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); nine red flashes every 15 s. 14 m (46 ft) mast atop a building. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1005.92; NGA 26936.
Paradip Port Control
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 2 s. Light mounted somewhere on a 5-story port control building. Srikant Samal has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west side of the harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1005.9; NGA 26932.
* Paradip
1988. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); three white flashes every 30 s. 40 m (131 ft) round concrete tower with lantern, gallery, and a circular observation and control room about 1/3 the way up the tower. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands; lantern dome painted red. Md. Rabiul Islam's photo is at right, a 2014 photo and another photo (second photo on the page) are available, and Google has a satellite view. In 2013, the lighthouse was identified as one of three Odisha light stations scheduled for development as tourist attractions. Located behind the beach about 10 km (6 mi) southwest of downtown Paradip. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS IND-049; Admiralty F1004.4; NGA 26937.
Paradip Light
Paradip Light, Paradip, April 2008
Panoramio Creative Commons photo by Md. Rabiul Islam

Puri District Lighthouses
*** Chandrabhaga
1968. Active; focal plane 37 m (122 ft); white flash every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) round masonry tower, painted with horizontal red and white bands. Two 1-story keeper's houses. We have a DGLL photo, Subhajit Mishra has a 2016 photo, there's a view from the gallery, and Google has a satellite view. This is one three lighthouses in Odisha designated for tourist development in 2011. Located just off the beach near Konarak (Konark). Site open, tower open but no schedule information is available. ARLHS IND-025; Admiralty F1003; NGA 26940.
*** Puri (4)
2002 (station established 1887). Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 25 m (82 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and double gallery, painted with horizontal black and white bands. Several 1-story keeper's cottages nearby. A photo is at right, a 2015 photo and a view from the beach are available, we also have a DGLL photo, and Google has a satellite view. By far the best known lighthouse of Odisha. Early lights were mounted on the wall of the Circuit House; in 1956 a skeletal tower was mounted atop a new Circuit House. The Puri area is a very popular seaside resort; H.G. Mukhopadhyay has a photo of the lighthouse standing among the beachfront buildings. Located just off the beach to the southwest of Puri. Site open, tower open but no schedule information is available. ARLHS IND-056; Admiralty F1002; NGA 26944.

Ganjam District Lighthouses
Prayagi (Pryagi, Proyagi)
2012. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 32 m (105 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Google has a satellite view. Located on the coast about 25 km (15 mi) northeast of Ganjam. Site status unknown. Admiralty F1000; NGA 26946.
*** Gopalpur (4)
1967 (station established 1871). Active; focal plane 48 m (148 ft); white flash every 5 s. 32 m (105 ft) round masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to several 1-story keeper's houses. Lighthouse painted with horizontal red and white bands. We have a DGLL photo, a good closeup photo and a 2012 photo are also available, Purnima Roy has a more distant view, and Google has a good satellite view. The original mast light was replaced by a skeletal tower in 1925; a second skeletal tower was built in 1948. Gopalpur-on-Sea is also a very popular seaside resort, and this is one three lighthouses in Odisha designated for tourist development in 2011. Located just off the beach at Gopalpur-on-Sea, about 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Brahmapur in southern Odisha. Site open, tower open but no schedule information is available. ARLHS IND-035; Admiralty F0988; NGA 26948.
Puri Lighthouse
Puri Light, Puri, January 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by frisse82

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Cowcolly (Kaukhali) (1810-1925?), Hooghly Estuary, West Bengal. This was a round brick tower, 27 m (88 ft) tall. It was the first British-built lighthouse in India. Oddly, despite its long life extending into the 20th century, no photos of it have been found. However, Wikimedia's engraving of a lighthouse identified as "Diamond Point" is almost certainly an image of the Cowcolly lighthouse. The original of this well-known engraving is captioned "Diamond Point, the entrance to the port of Calcutta." This has led many to believe that the lighthouse must have been near Diamond Harbour, but there was never a large lighthouse in that area during the 19th century and Diamond Harbour is many miles above the entrance to the Hooghly. The Cowcolly lighthouse was on the west side of the Hooghly, northwest of Sagar Island, where it did indeed mark the the entrance to the port of Calcutta. Google has a satellite view of the area. The fate of the historic lighthouse is not known, but apparently nothing remains of it. ARLHS IND-028.

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: East: Bangladesh | South: Andhra Pradesh

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Posted January 20, 2006. Checked and revised February 27, 2017. Lighthouses: 23. Site copyright 2017 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.