Great Basses & Little Basses Reef lighthouses (මහා රාවණා හා කුඩා රාවණා ප්‍රදීපාගාර)

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Great Basses Reef and the Little Basses reef are two rock formations on the south-east coast of Sri Lanka. Locals call these ‘Maha Ravana‘ and Kuda Ravana‘ reefs respectively. Both these reef islets are located in Tissamaharama DS in Hambantota District of Southern Province. With Sri Lanka being on major shipping route connecting China with the rest of the world, and these rocks located 12-13 kilometres off the shore, the ancient sea farers found navigating these rocks a formidable challenge and the large number of ships which have wrecked close to these rocks have made this area a popular diving attraction.

Both the lighthouses on these two rocks were designed by James Douglass and constructed by his brother William Douglass of the Imperial Lighthouse Service. The 34 metre high Great Basses was commissioned in 1873 and was made with massive stone blocks which were shipped from Scotland and England. The Small Basses Reef was completed five years later in 1878. Both these light houses survived the great tsunami of 2004 with only damages to the bases. These damages were repaired and the lighthouses were made operational again in 2007 with the aid from UK.

The underwater treasures surrounding the Basses reefs were exposed to the world through the 1961 publication called ‘The Treasure of the Reef’ written by Sir Arthur C Clarke based on his experience on the diving expedition to the reefs. He discovered a wreck of a 24 gun ship which belonged to the Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb (1658 – 1707) which contained thousands of silver rupees dated 1702.

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Map of  Great Basses & Little Basses Reef lighthouses

Please click on the button below to load the Dynamic Google Map (ගූගල් සිතියම් පහලින්)

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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Travel Directions to Great Basses & Little Basses Reef lighthouses

The reefs can be reached from Kirinda through a arranged boat ride. The boat ride will take approximately 1-1.5 hours to Great Basses Reef and 2-3 hours to Little Basses Reef. But due the rough seas, diving season lasts only from early March to mid April.

Route 1 from Colombo to Kirinda Route 2 from Colombo to Kirinda
Though : Southern Highway – Galle – Matara
distance : 280 km
Travel time : 4-5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Ambepussa – Kurunegala
distance : 230 km
Travel time : 3.5-4.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map


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