Lighthouses of Pakistan

Pakistan was created in 1947 by the division of the former British Empire of India, so it has a British lighthouse heritage like that of India. Its coastline faces south on the Arabian Sea between India and Iran. At the time of independence, its only international port was Karachi, but in 1990 the Mohammed bin Qasim Port opened in the delta of the Indus River, roughly 50 km (30 mi) southeast of Karachi. A third port has been built recently at Gwadar in the western part of the country. Most of Pakistan's lighthouses are associated with the approaches to these three ports.

Coastal lights in Pakistan are operated by the Mercantile Marine Department of the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, but the harbor lighthouses are operated by the individual port authorities. The Urdu word for a lighthouse, manarh (مینارہ), is similar to the Arabic word manara.

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

General Sources
Light Houses
Data, but no photos, for lighthouses operated by the Mercantile Marine Department.
Lighthouses in Pakistan
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Pakistan
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Leuchttürme Asiens auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Manora Point Light
Manora Point Light, Karachi, December 2005
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Waqas Usman

Sindh Province Lighthouses

Indus Delta Lighthouses
Sir Creek (Kajhar Creek)
2005. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); white flash every 12 s. 46 m (151 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted gray. 1-story keeper's house. Solar-powered, revolving PRB-46 lens. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. This light replaced the former Kajhar Creek Light (Admiralty D7774), which was about 600 m (0.4 mi) to the west. Sir Creek forms the border between Pakistan and India; the two countries have a long-running dispute over whether the border lies at the center of the creek or along the bank on the Indian side. The creek is not navigable, so the lighthouse serves primarily as a marker for the border. An Indian helicopter strafed the site during construction of the lighthouse, and the Pakistani Navy sent a gunboat to protect the construction crew. Located on the west side of the creek entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower closed (sensitive area). Admiralty D7850; NGA 28421.
Turshian Mouth (Turshian Creek)
1995. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 45 m (148 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted gray. 1-story keeper's house. Solar-powered, revolving PRB-46 lens. No photo available, but Google has a great satellite view. Turshian Creek is the more southern of the two principal mouths of the Indus River. Located on the north side of the river entrance. Accessible only by boat. Site and tower probably closed. Operator: Mercantile Marine Department. ARLHS PAK-004; Admiralty D7800; NGA 28422.

Port Qasim Lighthouses
Khuddi Island (Port Qasim)
Date unknown (around 1970?). Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); four white flashes every 30 s. Approx. 40 m (131 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted with black and white horizontal bands. No current photo available. Jaap Berk has posted the historic photo at right, and Bing has a good satellite view. This lighthouse marks the beginning of the approach to Port Qasim. Located on the west side of the island. Site and tower probably closed. Operator: Port Qasim Authority. ARLHS PAK-001; Admiralty D7760; NGA 28424.
Ahsan Channel Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white light, occulting but the period is not listed. 31 m (102 ft) steel post with a large square gallery, mounted on a round concrete platform. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. This the prinicipal approach range for Port Qasim. The front light is on a similar but much shorter tower. Located in the Arabian Sea about 3 km (2 mi) south of Bundle Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Port Qasim Authority. Admiralty D7761; NGA 28428.
Phitti Creek Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white light, 2 s on, 2 s off. 20 m (66 ft) steel post with a large square gallery, mounted on a round concrete platform. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. This range guides vessels in Phitti Creek toward Port Qasim. The front light is on a similar but much shorter tower. Located in the creek off the northeast side of Bundle Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Port Qasim Authority. Admiralty D7763.11; NGA 28441.1.

Khuddi Island Light Khuddi Island Light, Port Qasim, 1972(?)
Wikimedia public domain photo by Jaap Berk

Kunni Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 4 s. 20 m (66 ft) steel post with a large square gallery, mounted on a round concrete platform. No photo available, but Google has a distant satellite view. This range guides vessels in Phitti Creek toward Port Qasim. The front light is on a similar but much shorter tower. Located in the creek north of Buddo Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Port Qasim Authority. Admiralty D7763.51; NGA 28442.1.

Karachi Lighthouses
Bara Andai (Bara Anda, Oyster Rocks)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 m (115 ft); two flashes every 8 s, white or red depending on direction. 4.5 m (15 ft) concrete building; the light is displayed from a short mast. Saeed Faisal has a photo, Bill Mirza has a more distant view, and Google has a satellite view. The Oyster Rocks are a group of small islands on the east side of the entrance to Karachi harbor. A new harbor basin is being developed in the area, and the breakwaters for this basin enclose the Oyster Rocks. Located atop the largest and southernmost of the islands. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Operator: Karachi Port Trust. Admiralty D7752; NGA 28488.
Karachi Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white light, 7 s on, 2 s off. 20 m (66 ft) skeletal tower mounted on a triangular platform. No photo available, but Google has an indistinct satellite view. This is an approach range for Karachi. Located just outside the east breakwater of the new Oyster Rocks harbor basin. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Operator: Karachi Port Trust. Admiralty D7751.1; NGA 28480.
#Manora Breakwater
Date unknown. Inactive since 2013. 13 m (43 ft) triangular skeletal tower. A 2009 photo is available, Raja Islam has a view from the land end of the breakwater, and Google has a satellite view. A new, much longer breakwater has been constructed, requiring removal of this light; probably a new light will be announced. Located at the end of the breakwater at Manora Point, which is the west breakwater of Karachi harbor. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Karachi Port Trust. Admiralty D7753; NGA 28496.
* Manora Point (2)
1889 (station established 1851). Active; focal plane 48 m (147 ft); white flash every 7.5 s. 38 m (125 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery. The seaward side of the lighthouse is painted with red and white horizontal bands, but the land side is unpainted. An excellent photo by Waqas Usman appears at the top of this page, Zahid Shahid has a great photo and a second photo from the opposite side, Atif Subhani has a photo of the builders' plaque, Huelse has a historic postcard view in which the tower is unpainted, and Google has a satellite view. According to Ken Trethewey, this is the second oldest light station in the former British Indian Empire; it is the lighthouse featured on the logo of the Karachi Port Trust. The building next to the lighthouse is St. Paul's Church. The Manora Peninsula, formerly an island, faces the Arabian Sea and shelters the southwest side of Karachi Harbour, providing protection from summer monsoon winds. The British captured Manora in 1839 and made it their initial base of operations in what is now Pakistan. The lighthouse is located in the British historic district near the southeastern tip of the peninsula. Site open, tower closed. Operator: Karachi Port Trust. ARLHS PAK-002; Admiralty D7750; NGA 28472.
Ras Muari (Cape Monze)
1914. Active; focal plane 49 m (161 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 48 m (157 ft) round concrete tower. The seaward side of the tower is painted with black and white horizontal bands; the land side is unpainted. Original 2nd order Fresnel lens in use. Several keeper's houses and other light station buildings. A 1997 Marine Department photo is at right, Saud Lodhi has a 2010 closeup, Karim Usman has a 2008 photo, and Google has a good satellite view. According to the Mercantile Marine Department, this is a staffed lighthouse still operated manually. Ras Muari is a prominent cape at the southern end of the Kirthar Range, about 30 km (20 mi) west of Karachi on the border between Sindh and Balochistan. The lighthouse and the mountains behind it are a traditional landfall for ships arriving in Karachi from the west. Located just off the beach on the southwestern point of the cape. Site status unknown. Operator: Mercantile Marine Department. ARLHS PAK-003; Admiralty D7745; NGA 28500.

Ras Muari Light
Ras Muari Light, Karachi, December 1997
Pakistan Mercantile Marine Department photo

Balochistan (Baluchistan) Province Lighthouses

Note: The semi-desert coast extending westward from Ras Muari into Iran is known historically as the Makran Coast.
South Coast Lighthouses
Ormara
1970. Active; focal plane 223 m (732 ft); two white flashes every 20 s. 11 m (36 ft) square steel skeletal tower. Keeper's house. No photo available, and the tower is hard to see in Bing's satellite view of the station. Like Gwadar (see below), Ormara is in the lee of a hammerhead-shaped promontory. It is the location of the Jinnah Naval Base, and there is a missile testing site nearby. Located at the east end of the steep-sided ridge sheltering the harbor of Ormara, about 360 km (225 mi) west of Karachi. Site status unknown. Operator: Mercantile Marine Department. ARLHS PAK-008; Admiralty D7742; NGA 28504.
Astola Island
1982. Active; focal plane 90 m (295 ft); white flash every 15 s. 10 m (33 ft) square cylindrical skeletal tower. Wikipedia has a distant view (lighthouse at upper left in the picture), but the tower is not seen in Google's satellite view of the island. Astola (also called Jezira Haft Talar) is an island about 40 km (25 mi) southeast of Pasni. It has no permanent population, but there are temporary fishing camps on the island. Located atop a very steep bluff on the southwestern side of the island. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. ARLHS PAK-005; Admiralty D7740; NGA 28508.
Pasni
1970. Active; focal plane 136 m (446 ft); three white flashes every 30 s. 11 m (36 ft) square steel skeletal tower. Keeper's house. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. According to the Mercantile Marine Department, the lighthouse was "reconstructed" in 2000. Located on a promontory sheltering the harbor of Pasni, a small fishing port on the central coast of Baluchistan. Site status unknown. Operator: Mercantile Marine Department. Admiralty D7736; NGA 28512.

Gwadar and Southwest Coast Lighthouses
Note: Gwadar is a port in the southwestern corner of Pakistan, east of the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz. The town was formerly controlled by Oman, but it was ceded to Pakistan in 1958. The harbor is protected by Ras Nuh, a hammerhead-shaped promontory (actually an island connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus).
Gwadar Range Front
Date unknown (probably 2002-05). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); green light, 1 s on, 1 s off. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with a large round structure with two galleries on top; the light is displayed from a short mast on the roof. Lighthouse painted white with a red vertical stripe on the range line. A photo is at right, another photo and a closeup are available, Wikipedia has a photo of the port that also shows the lighthouse, and Bing has a satellite view. In 2002-05 Pakistan constructed a deepwater port at Gwadar, and the range lighthouses are part of that project. The port is sheltered by a tall ridge that is connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus. Located near the base of the main quay at Gwadar. Site status unknown. Operator: Gwadar Port Authority. Admiralty D7734.3; NGA 28518.
Gwadar Range Rear
Date unknown (probably 2002-05). Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); green flash every 3 s. Approx. 30 m (98 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with winglike extensions near the top. Lighthouse painted white with a red vertical stripe on the range line; the "wings" presumably function as a daymark. A photo is at right, Ali Ahmed Khan has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located about 800 m (1/2 mi) west of the front light, at the base of the mountain ridge. Site status unknown. Operator: Gwadar Port Authority. Admiralty D7734.35; NGA 28518.1.
Gwadar (Gwadur, Ras Nuh)
1970. Active; focal plane 85 m (279 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 11 m (36 ft) square steel skeletal tower. Keeper's house. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on the heights of Ras Nuh. Site status unknown. Operator: Mercantile Marine Department. ARLHS PAK-006; Admiralty D7734; NGA 28516.

Gwadar Range Lights, Gwadar, December 2004
Gwadar Port Authority photo (no longer online)
Jiwani
1970. Active; focal plane 140 m (459 ft); white flash every 10 s. 11 m (36 ft) square steel skeletal tower. Keeper's house. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located atop a steep bluff at the tip of the Daran peninsula, about 60 km (37 mi) west of Gwadar and 25 km (15 mi) east of the Iranian border. Site status unknown. Operator: Mercantile Marine Department. ARLHS PAK-007; Admiralty D7731; NGA 28520.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Lightship Sindhi (1916). The fog bell from this lightship hangs at the Ras Muari (Cape Monze) lighthouse.

Notable faux lighthouses:

  • Maritime Museum Lighthouse, at the museum on Karsaz Road in Karachi, is a tourist attraction; it is intended as a replica of the Manora Point Light, although it differs from the original in height and profile. Google has a satellite view.

Adjoining pages: East: Western Gujarat | West: Southern Iran

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Posted February 7, 2006. Checked and revised March 30, 2014. Lighthouses: 18. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.