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Famed for being the tallest lighthouse in South East Asia, the Dondra Head Lighthouse is located in the city of Matara. The spot also happens to be the southernmost point on the island. If you make it a point to visit early in the day, one might get the opportunity to climb the lighthouse and take in some truly spectacular views of the Indian Ocean.
The lighthouse was first built in the year 1887 by the British Imperial Lighthouse Services during the colonial period and was designed by Sir James Nicholas Douglas. An interesting construction fact is that all the building materials required for the lighthouse were imported from the UK during the year 1882.
The granite rocks which the lighthouse exteriors consist of in the meantime was brought down from Scotland. The Dondra Lighthouse finally saw completion in 1890. One still can take in the Hyperradient lenses which were sent down during the 19th century. The lenses interestingly still function and are used effectively.
As the active lighthouse still in use in the Indian Ocean, the structure consists of 196 steps to climb to reach the top and stands at 49m tall with seven floors within.
The lighthouse is located 6km away from the city of Matara and 19.3 kilometers away from Mirissa town.
According to the rich history of the area, the name Dondra is derived from the meaning, ‘’the city of gods’’. The area also happens to be one of the most celebrated religious destinations on the island. Visiting the lighthouse after taking in the Dondra Village is highly recommende.d