Lighthouse Heritage Museum Mahabalipuram

Lighthouse Heritage Museum is one of the most recent additions to the awesome list of places to visit and things to do in Mahabalipuram. And, it is fairly new creation also. Lighthouse Heritage Museum opened to the public in January , 2014. So, when we took a trip to Mahabalipuram in year end 2016, we visited the Lighthouse Heritage Museum as well. And believe me, it was such an exciting journey. So, here I take you through the journey of Lighthouse Heritage Museum with me.

Collection of the Lighthouse Heritage Museum

Lighthouse Heritage Museum
A model of the lighthouse in Lighthouse Heritage Museum

As the name suggests, the Lighthouse Heritage Museum consists of the heritage from the old lighthouse of Mahabalipuram. It consists of many important and interesting equipments that were once a part of the working lighthouse. It was very interesting to go through each of these, reading their description and then figuring out how they were once fully operational inside the lighthouse. Actually, the walk through Lighthouse Heritage Museum is almost like seeing the lighthouse come alive!! Here are some beautiful things out of the huge collection that Lighthouse Heritage Museum houses.

Old Lamps

Lighthouse Heritage Museum
The old lamps at display at the lighthouse heritage museum, Mahabalipuram

The Lighthouse Heritage Museum houses several old lamps. Each of these lamps were used at some point for the lighthouse operations. As time progressed, the lamps kept changing. Some were replaced due to breakdown. Some others were replaced by their superior counterparts over a period of time. Overall, in it’s lifetime, the lighthouse saw several different lamps from manually operated to the electric operated ones. And all of them are housed in this Lighthouse Heritage Museum.

Light house Model

There is a small model of the lighthouse placed on exhibit at the center of the museum. Also, there is a picture of the lighthouse in the museum. It is from the days when the lighthouse was actually operational. The model is also very beautiful and reminds one of the old days when the lighthouse was actually used for guarding the ships that came in and out of Mahabalipuram coast for trade and other purposes.

Lighthouse internal operation Model

Right in the center of the Lighthouse Heritage Museum lies a huge operational model of the top floor of the lighthouse. This is where the rotational device was placed. The lamp was mounted in the center of the rotational device. And that is how the lighthouse used to operate. There are stairs which you can use to go to the first floor and then look closely on the mechanism of operation involved. Also, you can read about it in the description of the model.

Lighthouse Heritage Museum
Internal operation model of the lighthouse

Other equipments

There are many other equipments like old hand held devices, flash lights, clock and other such things that were used in the old times inside the lighthouse. These are all a part of the Lighthouse Heritage Museum now. It is very interesting to go through them and see how things used to work in the ancient time when the sophisticated devices that we are so used to in the current era were not even present.

Lighthouse show

For the general awareness of people and also to get younger generation more interested, the Lighthouse Heritage Museum conducts a sound and light show couple of times inside the museum premises. This is a projector movie that takes you through the journey of the lighthouse. It shows how the lighthouse used to operate, how the ships used to get guided by the lights from the lighthouse. Also, the movie lets you comprehend what was the significance and overall modus operandi for the light house in that era. It is a very interesting movie.

We were very much interested in staying back for the movie, as the show timing was not exactly matching our visit timing. But due to lack of time, we couldn’t stay for that long. I will highly recommend you enquire about the show timing and match your visit with it. I am sure you will have a wonderful time. This is a very informative section as well, particularly if you have kids whom you will want to see learning something useful on the trip.

How to reach the Lighthouse Heritage Museum

Here’s the good news. The Lighthouse Heritage Museum is situated just besides the Mahabalipuram lighthouse. It is situated inside a beautiful campus that also houses another museum, the Maritime Heritage Museum. And the campus has entry gates both near the lighthouse and also near Arjuna’s Penance. So, it is walkable from both the places and can be entered from either side. However, the entry tickets counter is near the gate towards the lighthouse. So, better to enter from there.

Overall, we had a wonderful time visiting this museum. it is not very big, but it is full of information. At least I hardly knew anything about the internal mechanism of lighthouses before I went to this museum. So, I will highly recommend visiting here to you all. Also, looks like since the place is very recently opened, not everyone knows about it. Because of this, the crowd is very less. When we entered the museum, there were hardly one or two people except us there. That made for a wonderful offbeat site where we could leisurely explore the insides of the museum at our own pace.

General tips on visiting the Lighthouse Heritage Museum

  1. There is a nominal entry fee that can be purchased at the entry gate near the Mahabalipuram Lighthouse. Actually, it is a combined ticket for both Lighthouse Heritage Museum and Maritime Heritage Museum.
  2. The museum is open 10am to 5:30pm in the evening. All through the week.
  3. It is very conveniently located just besides the Mahabalipuram Lighthouse or even Krishna’s butterball and Arjuna’s Penance.
  4. While visiting the Lighthouse Heritage Museum, for once, you need not worry about the hot and humid Mahabalipuram climate because it is all indoors that you have to walk.
  5. Shoes are not allowed inside the museum to prevent dust and dirt. So, you will need to take off your shoes before entering inside. There are no shoe counters. You can leave your shoes on the footsteps of the museum.
  6. Half an hour to forty minutes is sufficient to take a full round of the museum covering everything that it has on offer. Since, it is a small museum, but it does have a wealth of knowledge inside it.
  7. Camera is allowed. But there is a fee. So, don’t forget to take your camera tickets in case you are interested in clicking a few nice pics.

Lighthouse Heritage Museum in Mahabalipuram that takes you on a trip to the lighthouse that was once operational. Amongst other things, it exhibits the old lamps, mechanical systems and clocks that were used to operate the lighthouse


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65 Responses

  1. kahlan

    Those lamps look magical. Even though it just opened last 2014, it looks ancestral.

  2. Alessandra

    I have never heard about a lighthouse museum before but it seems like an interesting experience! It must have an amazing view from the top and a romantic flair to it I imagine?

  3. The Enchanted Outlook

    So cool! One of my favorite songs is about a lighthouse. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Gina Bear

    I’ve always been fond of lighthouses and your photo looks like a scene from the Disney movie, Peter’s Dragon. Have you seen it? I like learning about the history and the fact each model has a description of its uses are fascinating!

    • Neha

      I haven’t seen the movie Gina, but I will definitely love to. The museum is indeed one of a kind

  5. jakeshootspeople

    I have a friend who is obsessed with lighthouses! I gotta tell her about this. great and informative post!

  6. Ami Bhat

    It is good to see that they have maintained it well. The lighthouse gives some amazing views of the sea. Glad you managed to get there.

    • Neha

      Thanks Ami. We didn’t climb all the way up the lighthouse since there was a long queue, but we did get some amazing insights in the museum

    • Neha

      In that case, do plan a trip out. you can as well cover Pondicherry which is quiet nearby

  7. you.theworld.wandering

    Would love to visit this museum! I’ve grown up in a small town with a light house and many neighbouring towns also have one. The museum would be fascinating to visit and relive the history. The show also sound equally fab! Thanks for sharing.
    Kristie (you.theworld.wandering)

    • Neha

      We wish you all the best and hope you will enjoy your visit to the museum as much as we did, whenever it happens

  8. FS Page

    I was in Mahabalipuram last month and visited the light house but somehow missed the museum. I now recall we were in a hurry and my wife is always disinterested in any type of museum so we skipped it. But from your blog it feels like it was a mistake skipping it. It gives a good insight on how lighthouses work and the history associated with it. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Neha is a very small museum, 15 minutes would have been sufficient to go through it. Anyways, there’s always a next time

  9. Kassie- The Fly Away Life

    This sounds like a really cool museum! I’m from the north east coast of the United States so I grew up near many lighthouses and always found them beautiful! Seeking out lighthouses when I travel has always been something I do, so I will have to add this to my list 🙂

    • Neha

      Definitely Kassie..can understand your passion and love for lighthouses. Do visit when you happen to be in Mahabalipuram

  10. Samantha

    I don’t know what it is about lighthouses, I love them! Loved seeing all the lamps. This looks like a great little tour.

    • Neha

      I guess it’s the mysterious aura, the beautiful views, the breeze that make the lighthouses so special for me

  11. Janine Good

    Lighthouses are such incredible structures. The original purpose of them is still relevant today and I just love how this museum features the history of this purpose. I will definitely consider this if in the area!

  12. Soumya Nambiar

    Is the Mahabalipuram lighthouse still operational and if not, are we allowed inside the lighthouse too? I missed this place when I went to Mahabalipuram and I would have loved to see this place. Interesting set of old lamps that were once used.

    • Neha

      The original lighthouse stands just besides the museum Soumya. It is not operational anymore. But you can climb it’s stairs and go to the top where there is a balcony around the lighthouse to enjoy the breathtaking views of Mamallapuram all the way till the ocean

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