Tranquebar, Place of the Singing Waves- Formerly Danish Colony

Tranquebar is now known as Tharangambadi which is a town in a district named Nagapattinam of Tamil Nadu state. The meaning of the name is “place of the singing waves”. Formerly it was a Danish colony from 1620-1845 and still it is known as “Trankebar” in Danish.

Tranquebar has an amazing mix of cultures, languages, religions and races. Since the Danish were for almost 2 centuries one can recognize the architectural and cultural trademarks in churches, cemeteries, colonial houses and specially the Fort Dansborg. Tranquebar is small enough place to walk around easily and see places around.

Fort Dansborg, was built by a Danish captain named Ove Gedde as the residence of the governor and other officials for about 150 years. The locals call it as Danish Fort, located in the shores of Bay of Bengal. It is now a museum hosting a collection of artifacts from the time of Danish presence in the region. It contains Danish manuscripts, spears, swords, daggers, small cannon balls, lamps.

The New Jerusalem Church was built in 1718 by Royal Danish missionary Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg. The church services are conducted every Sunday. Zion Church is one of the oldest churches in Tharangambadi. It was handed over by Thanjavur king Ragunatha Nayak in an agreement with Danish Admiral Ove Gjedde in 1620 which is in the limits of Danish Fort.

Tranquebar was taken by the British in 1801, but restored in 1814, and finally purchased, along with the other Danish settlements in India, in 1845. In Danish times Tranquebar was a busy port, but it lost its importance when the railway was opened to Nagapattinam. The churches as well as the fort and the city gates are being restored for tourism.

Due to Tsunami in 2004 Tranquebar was extremely damaged. The government and the private organisations came together for development and remodeling, and today this affected town is in the limelight again.

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Thank you for reading this post. Hope you liked spending time here. I will be back again with another interesting place.

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This post is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a travel photographer and a photography trainer.
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