Tranquebar is a sleepy fishing village on the Coromandel Coast of India. Not many know that Tranquebar was a prosperous trading post of the Danish in the early 17th century!
Tranquebar is a perfect destination for an exotic holiday where you want to relax in a tranquil environment and perhaps rediscover some secrets from the past. Some highlights in the Tranquebar menu are a heavenly beach, magnificent specimens of Danish architecture, a church where the first Bible was printed in Tamil language and the 400 year old Fort Dansborg.
Tranquebar is about 275 kms from Chennai and is easily approachable by road .The Nearest Railway station is Mayiladutural while the nearest airport can be found at Trichy.
The best place to stay would at The Bungalow on the Beach. It is run by the Neemrana Hotels. They have converted a British Collector’s House into a heritage hotel.
If you are looking for a budget accommodation, you can try the Tamil Nadu House, also run by the Neemrana group.
It all began in the year 1620 when a young Danish Admiral Ove Giedde landed on the Coromandel Coast looking to set up a trading post. He fell in love with a fishing village known as Tharamgambadi, the place of the singing waves. The Danes renamed it to Tranquebar and it became a prominent trading post for the Danish East India Company in the 17th century.
Dansborg, the fort, is the most impressive structure at Tranquebar. It was built after a treaty was signed between the King Raghunatha Nayak of Thanjavur and the Danish on Nov 10, 1620. It is the only surviving imperial fort on the Coromandel Coast. In fact Dansborg is the second largest Danish fort after Kronborg located in the town of Elsinore, the inspiration for Shakespeare's Hamlet.
The fort is just 200 meters form the sea and has two levels. The lower level served as accommodation for soldiers, horses, godown and a prison. The upper level was the residence of the Governor and Priests. Visit the archeological museum located inside the Tranquebar fort which has some curios from the Danish past.
Take a leisurely walk on King’s street, the main street of Tranquebar. You will find a memorial at the spot where the Danes landed first in 1620. You cannot miss the 'Landporten' as the Town Gate is called in Danish, which forms part of the fortifications that were built around Tranquebar.
The New Jerusalem Church is steeped in history of Tranquebar and not to be missed. It was built in 1717-1718 by Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, the first protestant missionary from Denmark. Ziegenbalg’s most prominent work was his translation of The New Testament into Tamil in 1715. Tranquebar also houses the oldest protestant church in India. The Zion Church which was consecrated in 1701 is a fine example of fusion between Indian and Danish architectural styles.
Don’t forget to visit the Masilamani Nathar temple before departing from Tranquebar. It was built in 1305 by Mahaverma Kulasekara Pandiyan. Today, it is fighting a losing battle with the Bay of Bengal.
The Tranquebar beach is probably one of the best on the Coromandel coast. The Bay of Bengal looks enchanting during Dawn and Dusk.
The first printing press in India was set up by Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalgat Tranquebar! The Tamil Bible printed here was the very first publication in India.