One of my dreams has been to climb a lighthouse and enjoy the sunset from the tower. This dream came true during a lighthouse tour of Sri Lanka.
Beruwela lighthouse is located on Barberyn Island on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. An exciting 10-minute boat ride from the town of Beruwela transported me to Barberyn, a place removed from the hustle and bustle of people, cars and traffic. The island is a slice of paradise nestled in the Indian Ocean.
Three-quarters of Barberyn is covered with coconut trees, Plumeria flowers, mango and cashew trees, and the cooling shade of buffalo grass. Exotic birds, reptiles and insects roam the island and I felt an instant bonding with nature.
My guide, Fernando, led the way along a circular gravel path to the lighthouse. The grand, yellow tower stood majestically at the edge of a 30-metre cliff.
“Lighthouses came into existence during this era. The two main purposes of a lighthouse were to serve as a navigational aid and to warn ships of dangerous areas. A lighthouse was like a traffic sign at sea”.
“How is the Beruwela Light operated?” I asked, as I became interested in the practical purpose of the magnificent tower.
“Five keepers take turns to watch the lighthouse.
The light goes on from 6.30 pm until 6.30 am. The light rotates for one minute each time and directs sailors”.
We walked around, admiring some of the few man-made structures on the island. An old well built by the British, that once supplied water to the inhabitants, was now abandoned; but the clay roofed hut, which was a bar for the keepers years ago, is still a place to socialise although there are no gin and tonics.
After relishing a picnic lunch under some shady cashew trees, we headed towards the mainland. We stayed at Ypsylon Guest House, a friendly hotel run by a German, which offered fantastic views of the lighthouse at night.
Map of Beruwala Lighthouse
The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites.
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Route from Colombo to Beruwala Lighthouse
|Through : Galle Road|
Distance : 57 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map