Tranquebar Journals

Take a Deep Breath in Tranquebar

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A January 2010 trip to Tranquebar by phileasfogg

Dansborg Photo, Tranquebar, India More Photos
Quote: Tranquebar, also known as Tharangambadi, is the second most ozone-rich place in the world. It’s also the site of an old Danish fort, once Denmark’s sixth largest city and the only place outside mainland Denmark where Danish coins were minted.

A Brief Note on Tranquebar

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Story/Tip

The Tamilnadu countryside Photo, Tranquebar, India
Quote:
The evening before I went to Tranquebar, I was puzzling over a question: "What on earth were the Danes doing in this part of the world?" A friend of mine, a German writer with a brilliantly dry sense of humour, said, "Looking for Norway."Um, no, Stephan. They weren’t looking for Norway. In fact, they were looking for anyone who’d allow them to settle down and buy a few spices. The Dansk Ostindisk Kompagni—the Danish East India Company—had dispatched its first ships from Copenhagen in 1618. By 1620, they were hovering around the south-western coast of India, having already been disappointed in their quest to set up a trading post in Sri Lanka, where the Portuguese had managed to win the race....Read More

Dansborg

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Attraction | "A Little Bit of Denmark in India"

Dansborg Photo, Tranquebar, India
Quote:
The largest and most prominent landmark of Tranquebar is the fort of Dansborg. Srilata and I, used to the massive and formidable forts that the Mughals or the Rajputs established at places like Agra, Delhi, Jaipur or Jodhpur, took a while to realise that this modest plastered building, with no loopholes and very little in the way of bastions or turrets or other defensive structures, was actually a fort. I suppose, since they’d made a treaty with the local ruler, and since they were here for trade and not to grab land, the Danes thought they were safe enough.Dansborg was built in the early 1600’s, shortly after the Danes arrived in Tranquebar. A thick but not very tall wall forms a large quadrangle ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 5, 2010

Dansborg
Off King Street
Tranquebar, India

Ziegenbalg's House and the Zion Church

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Attraction | "Memories of Missionaries"

Ziegenbalg's House and the Zion Church Photo, Tranquebar, India
Quote:
Between Dansborg and the Bungalow on the Beach stands a small memorial: a stone cross atop a structure of stones cemented together with mortar. The plaque below the cross reads: 1706-1906. Here by the grace of God, landed on the 9th of July 1706, the first ev. Lutheran missionaries to India: Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Plutschau. Erected by the grateful congregations of the Leipzig ev. Luth. mission in the jubilee year 1906.The cross is the first sight we really see up close when we arrive in Tranquebar, and fittingly, too—since Ziegenbalg and Plutschau were to play such an important part in the life of not just Tranquebar, but India as a whole too. These men, as the plaque notes, w...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 5, 2010

Ziegenbalg's House and the Zion Church
King Street
Tranquebar, India

Masilamani Nathar Temple

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Attraction | "The Temple on the Beach"

Masilamani Nathar Temple Photo, Tranquebar, India
Quote:
In a coastline studded with distinctly colonial buildings—a Scandinavian fort transplanted into the tropics, for instance—the Masilamani Nathar Temple is a bit of an oddity. Especially since this is temple territory: the state of Tamilnadu, in which Tranquebar stands, is full of some very beautiful old temples, all well attended, all gaudily painted and very popular. But somehow, standing all by itself among those colonial buildings, this small, forgotten, unpainted temple looks rather lonely.Very little is known about the Masilamani Nathar Temple. It is supposed to have been built by someone called Maravarmana Sundara Pandya in 1305, as a temple to the Hindu god Shiva. Like all Shiva temples, it e...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 5, 2010

Masilamani Nathar Temple
On the Beach
Tranquebar, India

The Bungalow on the Beach

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Hotel | "Once the Governor’s House, Now a Heritage Hotel"

The Bungalow on the Beach Photo, Tranquebar, India
Quote:
Across the road from Dansborg, overlooking the sea, is Tranquebar’s other big landmark: the Bungalow on the Beach. This is a large and lovely white-painted bungalow with sloping red roofs, wide verandahs and a splendid view across the sea. The grounds have lawns dotted with pink-flowering oleanders, and there’s an inviting pool which, when we arrive, is fringed by Europeans trying to get a tan.The Bungalow on the Beach was once the residence of the Danish Governor of Tranquebar. It was built in 1784, and was acquired a few years back by the Neemrana Group of Hotels, who renovated and restored it. The hotel opened to the public on December 26, 2004—the fateful day a ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 5, 2010

The Bungalow on the Beach
24, King Street
Tranquebar, India
04364-288065