Earliest lighthouse ?
Gujarat maritime history dates back to Harappan civilisation. A recent paper of National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR) has a traced the earliest lighthouse on the Indian coast at Mul Dwarka. An ancient structure, circular in shape and tapering upward was observed during a recent archaeological exploration at Mul Dwarka (Kodinar). The shape and placement at the highest point on the coast suggest the possible use of this structure as a lighthouse which might be the oldest one recorded on the Saurashtra coast so far. “This lighthouse, locally known as ‘Diva Dandi,’ in Gujarati, is 4 m high and 2 m in diameter and constructed with well-dressed limestone blocks. The construction pattern suggests a possible date between the 12th and the 15th century AD. The earliest lighthouse on the Indian coast may be the structure at Mul Dwarka (Kodinar),” says the paper. The paper titled ‘A Possible Medieval Period Lighthouse at Mul Dwarka (Kodinar), Saurashtra coast, India’ is jointly written by A.S. Gaur, Sundaresh, B.R. Rao, Sila Tripati, and V.D. Khedekar. This is the earliest evidence noticed along the Gujarat coast and is well preserved. Mul Dwarka, one of the claimants for the original Dwarka of Mahabharata period on the Saurashtra coast, is situated about 7 km from Kodinar town. Presently, Mul Dwarka serves as a fishing harbour and most of the residents of this village are fishermen. “In case of lighthouse at Kodinar, the wood fire or Mashaal (torch of a rag soaked in oil to be set ablaze) might have been used. The distance to which navigator can observe the light depends on the total height from the sea level and power of the light. The elevation of Kodinar structure is 9-10 m from high waterline, and with the help of above reference it may be safe to argue that light from this structure could be noticed 4 to 5 km from the sea. This may be the appropriate distance from the coast in which ancient ships or boats used to sail in this region,” the paper stated.