Round Island Lighthouse – beacon to daring seafarers – By Arundathie Abeysinghe

Round Island Lighthouse – beacon to daring seafarers – By Arundathie Abeysinghe

Round Island Lighthouse – beacon to daring seafarers – By Arundathie Abeysinghe


Arundathie AbeysingheLocated on top of a small rocky island in Round Island *Trincomalee in the outer harbor of *Trincomalee bay, Round Island Lighthouse also known as Trincomalee Lighthouse or Kevuliya Lighthouse is a round cylindrical masonry tower, 21meters high with a lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse is painted in white color. The Lighthouse is accessible only by boat. Yet, the island and lighthouse are closed to the public. But visitors can see the lighthouse at a distance from *Marble Beach. The lighthouse is operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.

In 2016, Round Island Lighthouse was renovated and the tower was repainted.

The light in Round Island Lighthouse is fixed and can be seen for 16 kilometers (10 miles). The lighthouse on the Island was constructed in 1863 and has a focal plane 21 meters (61 feet) and signals three flashes every 15 seconds, either white or red depending on direction. One of the white sectors of the Lighthouse marks the proper line of entrance to the harbor.

Round Island Lighthouse is an offshore lighthouse constructed in 1863 during the British Colonial Era. The white tower stands out above green foliage of the small island.

The Lighthouse was one of the navigational aids for ships reaching the *Trincomalee Harbor during the British Colonial era. At present, the lighthouse is not operated.

Originally, the light at Round Island Lighthouse had been a red light. In 1864, it has been changed to white.

The significance of lighthouses as an aid for maritime navigation dates to the periods of ancient Romans and Greeks. As beacons of light, lighthouses provide guidance for safe passage to sailors as well as protect their lives and the adjacent land. Lighthouses are towers designed to emit light from a signal fire or a system of lamps and lenses utilized as an aid to vessels to mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals and reefs and also provide safe entries to ports and harbors. At present, the number of operational lighthouses as well as other physical beacons are redundant by modern electronic navigational aids and radio beacons. At present, lighthouses are popular tourist attractions and the public can access some lighthouses.

Some lighthouses are popular tourist attractions. According to Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society (ARLHS), there are 25 lighthouses in Sri Lanka of which 14 are active lighthouses. Most of these lighthouses are under the control of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), whereas others are under the control of Sri Lanka Navy.

Distance from Trincomalee – approximately 15 kilometers

Directions: From Trincomalee, travel approximately 15 kilometers along Trincomalee Road up to *Koddiyar Bay and take a boat from there to reach the Round Island Lighthouse. As it is not opened for the public, visitors can view it at a distance from the Koddiyar Bay or Marble Beach.

Image courtesy –

Fort Frederick in Trincomalee – emblazoned with colonial insignia – By Arundathie Abeysinghe

Marble Beach – a pristine beach in a sheltered bay  – By Arundathie Abeysinghe

Pigeon Island – unique natural marvel – By Arundathie Abeysinghe

Sober Island – enchanting islet in Trincomalee  – By Arundathie Abeysinghe

Strategic significance of Trincomalee Harbor –By Arundathie Abeysinghe

  • Koddiyar Fort – The first fort constructed by Dutch Colonials in 1622 and is located on the southern side of Koddiyar Bay. Koddiyar (also known as “Kottiar”) and situated south of Koddiyar Bay in Trincomalee. According to chronicles *Mahawamsa and *Culawamsa, this area was a Sinhalese dominated area in the past and had been under the control of Kandyan Kings. According to chronicles, King Senarat granted permission to construct a fort in Koddiyar (currently known as “Muttur”) due a treaty between the King and the Dutch Colonials. The Treaty had a purpose to get rid of the Portuguese from *Ceylon. However, Portuguese destroyed the partly constructed fort as they had control of Trincomalee including Koddiyar. Later, the Dutch defeated the Portuguese and dismantled the Fort after consolidation of power in Trincomalee. Koddiyar Fort was rebuilt and strengthened, in 1658.
  • Mahawamsa – “Great Chronicle” or “Great Dynasty” in Sinhala is the most significant work of Sri Lankan origin written in Pali Language. This Chronicle describes life and times of Sri Lankans from the arrival of Vijaya in 43 BC to the reign of King Mahasena from sixth century BC to fourth century AD. Culavamsa (lesser chronicle) covers the period from fourth century AD to British takeover of Sri Lanka in 1815. Mahavamsa consists of three parts covering a historical record of over two millennia. It is considered as the world’s longest unbroken historical record.
  • Royal Navy – Naval warfare force of the United Kingdom’s (UK), the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years’ War against France, although warships were utilized by English and Scottish Kings from the early medieval period. The contemporary Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century, considered as the oldest of the UK’s armed services.
  • Trincomalee Bay – Trincomalee Bay also known as “Koddiyar Bay” is a bay in the Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. (“Koddiyar” meaning fort by the river’). The Bay is open towards northeast and has three differentiated parts and forms a large natural harbor in the shores of the Indian Ocean. The commercial harbor is the five kilometer (three miles) long and four kilometer (two miles) wide northern indentation, also known as China Bay. China Bay Airport is situated on the western side of China Bay. Trincomalee Bay includes a few islands: Round Island, Elephant Island and Clappenburg Island in the main bay as well as *Great Sober Island and Little Sober Island in China Bay.
  • Trincomalee Harbor – Formerly a naval base of the *Royal Navy, the Harbor was taken over by the Government of Sri Lanka in 1956 to be developed as a commercial port.

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