There is something about lost and forgotten places that stays with us for days on end. Whether its the beautiful silence that we find ourselves enjoying or its the solitude we do not wish to part with, it is hard to explain! One such place that gives nothing short of an extraordinary experience is the idyllic Danish town of Tranquebar.
Tranquebar or Thamgambadi is one of the best-kept secrets of Tamil Nadu. This tiny beach town used to be a trading post of the Danish East India Company and now stands as a testimony of how disasters can leave a place beautified beyond disguise.
Since a major portion of this village was destroyed in the 2004 tsunami, a joint initiative by the Tamil Nadu State Archeological Department and the Royal Danish family has managed to save the restore the town to a greater extent.
Fondly called the land of the singing waves, Tranquebar is a 3-hour drive from Pondicherry and can be your perfect weekend getaway if you are sick and tired of the mainstream options.
The beautiful Danish architecture
Right at the entrance, stands an outlandish, antiquated gate of sorts. If you take a closer look, you will identify a significant royal Danish character to the structure. On observing well, you will notice that the village is imbued with a feel of a former Danish colony, therefore, making it a mini Denmark in India.
What was earlier known as Tharangambadi, was changed to Tranquebar by the Danes to make the pronunciation more convenient.
From beautiful shores, adorned with majestic architecture overlooking the sea, to temples, churches and museum-this regal remnant of the Dutch has something refreshing to offer to every traveler. So, if you are genuinely looking for an offbeat vacation untouched by commercialization, this is perhaps where you should head.
Significant structures of the town
In and around the little town, one can see mixes of the Danish, British, German and French colonies that once made Tranquebar their home. Among the innumerable colonial buildings that dot the landscape are Rehling’s House and Van Theylingen House. Towards the southern end lies one of India’s first Protestant churches, Zion church. Another popular church on King Street is the New Jerusalem Church, built by German missionaries in 1718.
One of the most popular and significant places to visit in Tranquebar is Fort Dansborg. Believed to be the second-largest Danish Fort, Dansborg is characterized by large halls, columned structures, high ceilings and projecting drapery. It is still adorned by mounted cannons and displays interesting items such as whale skeletons and ancient coins. The best way to spend your time at the fort is by sitting on the terrace and enjoying the sound of waves keeping you company.
Best time to visit
Since Tranquebar is a coastal town, it has a humid climate. To be able to fully enjoy the beauty of this place, visit Tranquebar from October to March. Monsoons are quite ideal too, but the rains may ruin your local sightseeing plans.
How to get there
To reach Tranquebar, one can avail trains from Chennai. However, a more convenient travel option would be to drive down from Pondicherry. You can rent a taxi from Pondicherry to Tranquebar for a smooth and hassle-free time.