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Great Basses Reef Lighthouses

  Province Southern
  District Hambantota
  Nearest Town Kirinda


1873. Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); white flash every 15 s. 37 m (121 ft) round granite tower with lantern and double gallery, painted white. A Sri Lankan Navy article on diving in the area has a distant photo. This lighthouse was designed by Alexander Gordon and Sir James Douglass. Like Little Basses Reef Light, it withstood the force of the tsunami with only modest damage; the English lighthouse agency Trinity House has agreed to repair it. The two Basses lighthouses are among the most famous offshore lighthouses of Asia. Located about 13 km (8 mi) offshore and 16 km (10 mi) east of Kirinda. Accessible only by boat. ARLHS SLI-010; Admiralty F0840; NGA 27272.

Great Basses Light House (Maha Rawana)

Nearest Town or City : Palatupana Sri Lanka

Location : Near the south end of the Great Basses reef, off the SE coast of Sri Lanka.

Managing Organization : Sri Lanka Ports Authority

Notes : The Basses (derived from the Portuguese word "baxos," meaning shoals) are a line of reefs off the SE coast of Sri Lanka. Both the Little Basses and Great Basses lighthouses were designed by James Douglass and constructed by his brother William Douglass of the Imperial Lighthouse Service. Each of the two is said to have received a hyperradial lens in 1888. The lighthouses were rehabilitated in the late 1990s, but they suffered some damage from the December 2004 tsunami, mainly to the lighting equipment. In December 2005, the English and Scottish lighthouse authorities - Trinity House and the Northern Lighthouse Board - announced that, in agreement with the Sri Lanka government, they had undertaken to repair the damage and launched a joint campaign to collect private funds for that purpose.

Tower Height : 127

Description Tower : White conical granite tower.

Operational : Yes

Date Established : 1873

Date Present Tower Built : 1873

Current Use : Active aid to navigation.

Open To Public : No.

Directions : Diving excursions to the reefs are available from Colombo and can be arranged from such places as Kirinda and Yala on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka. The diving season in this area is from November to April. Map It!

Characteristic Range : White flash every 15 seconds;range 25 nautical miles.

Height Focal Plane : 110

National Register : No

Keepers : Mohamed Zarook (1969-1971), J.P.Padmasiri (c. 2000), B. K. Rahuman (assistant, c. 2000)