The False Point Lighthouse is situated on a large island created by the Mahanadi River delta.The Lighthouse station can be approached by cruising through the mighty river from Paradip.
The origin of False Point Lighthouse begins in the early 19th Century. The British East India Company ships approaching Calcutta port used to mistake Mahanadi entrance for Hooghly, therefore the point near mouths of Mahanadi came to be known as False Point. It was therefore decided to provide a Lighthouse near to the mouths of Mahanadi and name it False Point Lighthouse. The plans were finalized in the early 1830s.
The island on which False Point lies belonged to Maharaja of Burdwan who donated the land required for Lighthouse to the British East India Company. The building materials such as boulders, lime, R.S. Joist etc. were transported to the site by sea route and finally the foundation work commenced on 6th December 1836. The 38m high Lighthouse Tower construction was completed on 16th October 1837. It is a Mammoth circular structure tapering towards top.The top being a dome with opening leading into the lantern room.
The outside walling at top has been carved out into a projected cornice. The conventional lighting equipment consisting of paraffin oil lamp, reflectors and optic inside the lantern house was installed and commissioned on 1st March 1838. The entire work was carried out in record time under the supervision of 2nd Lt. H Righy, Executive Engineer.
A Chance Brother make first order optic with 55mm P.V. burner was commissioned on 1st February 1880 by the then Lt. Governor of Bengal, Sir Ashley Eden. The Lighthouse was transferred to the Calcutta port commission in 1881. An occulting light replaced the earlier light on 1st September 1884 which was commissioned by Mr. H.J. Reynolds, Chairman, Calcutta port commission. The light source and other PV equipments were replaced by then latest version for the first time after the lighthouse came under the Port Commission. It was inaugurated on 22nd March 1903 by Mr. C.E. Buckland, Chairman, Calcutta Port Commission. In March 1931 clock work mechanism and 85 mm incandescent Petroleum Vapour Burner supplied by M/s. Chance Brothers replaced the earlier version.
In 1957-58 the 1st order optic and P.V. Burner were removed and replaced by 4th order optic, incandescent 110V 1000W electric lamp and new clock work mechanism etc supplied by M/s B.B.T. Paris. The new equipment was commissioned on 15th May 1958. Simultaneously the work of the installation of ‘Marconi’ Radio Beacon was taken up and commissioned on 26th January 1959. The Radio Beacon transmission was stopped and disbanded in 1991. The light source was converted to 230V 400W Metal Halide lamp on 31st January 1997.
In the earlier years of the Lighthouse some deaths took place due to the non-availability of Medical Aid. As such a doctor and a compounder were posted at the station dispensary. Then there was a Teacher for conducting primary classes for the staff children. The Light keepers, Sailboat crew, Shikari, Watchman, Lascars, Bhandari, Dhobi in all about 25 strong contingent lived at the station. The barrack accommodation was provided to all of them. The LH expert Mr Alan D Stevenson during his visit to the station in 1926 made a critical reference to the staff strength and recommended for reduction. However due to improvements with the modernization, shifting of Radio Beacon, there were left only the three Light keepers and two attendant staff towards the end of 20th century.
It is essential to mention about the cemetery that British maintained for their dead by the side of the lighthouse compound. Some of the inscriptions are very touching-specially one about the young Dy Commissioner drowning after completing the inspection and a child dying due to lack of medical aid.