The Light House in Santhome has reopened to the public. Union minister for shipping and ports, G K Vasan did the formal launch this morning and let guests have the first ride to the top and get a great view of the sea, the beach and the San Thome and Mylapore neighbourhoods.
A brand new lift takes you to the top and you get to take the scenes in from the gallery which has been gated so that people do not jump off it or cause an accident. Visits are regulated and kept short since the access to the gallery space via staircase is narrow.
There is also a smart and small museum at the rear which showcases all the instruments used in lighthouses down the ages, including two ‘live’ lights.
The Tamil Nadu maritime heritage museum, coming up at Mamallapuram, near here, will have 3D shows in the auditorium to give a real-life feeling to visitors, especially children.
Simulators for submarines, depiction of the maritime history of the state from the Sangam era till the end of the 20th century, are also planned at the museum in which the decommissioned INS Vagli submarine will be the centrepiece of attraction.
The themes for display was proposed by R. Kannan, principal secretary of tourism. He said each era would be depicted separately and in the modern era, from 1900 AD onwards, there would be sub-sections for each type of technology like papyrus ships, palmyrah ships, steam ships, wooden ships, steel, diesel ships, buoys communications, lighthouses, etc.
M S Swaminathan Foundation’s unique Touch and Smell Garden for the visually impaired was set up on the basic principle that it is not by sight alone that we perceive objects.From a distance it looks like an ornamental garden put there to break the monotony of the surrounding buildings. Swinging terracotta pots disgorge leafy vines, and lotus lined mini tanks glimmer in the afternoon sun. The narrow, neatly tiled pathways are embedded with smooth pebbles to show the three directions a walker may take. Every few feet a strip of red coir mat marks off the path. There is a central pergola with benches attached to its pillars. A picture-perfect piece of land set in the ordered, efficient beauty of the M S Swaminathan Research Centre in Chennai.
Pulicat lake is a nature lover’s retreat. This is not the place for those who like excitement and adventure because this place which sports the second biggest lagoon in India is for those who want peace and quiet environment. Pulicat is a bird watcher’s haven as nearly 15,000 flamingoes flock here along with herons, kingfishers, spoon bills, storks and ducks. There are more than 50 varieties of fish in this lake. Pulicat is a convenient resting place for migratory birds which fly further South.