Table of Contents
What travel means you, traveling exotic places or reliving the past. Seeing the best places around the world or having fun with your friends. Reasons can be many and motive can be any but what is common between all of these situations is that you are awestruck by the beauty.
Tharangambadi or Tranquebar is a place to see what history has got for you. The exotic and forgotten former Danish colony is a treat to watch. While when we were roaming around in our trip from Chennai to Kanyakumari we missed this beauty but we came back here to see what actually the fuss is about.
So What is actually Tharangambadi
While the literal translation of Tharangambadi is the land of Singing waves. Tharangambadi is an ancient village. Situated around 15 km from Pumpuhar Tamil Nadu and a 3-hour ride from Pondicherry this place is perfect for your next adventure of Tamil Nadu.
The small village which is now mostly known as Tranquebar is actually a fishing village which is more like a forgotten one. There are outlandish gates, gravings, magical portals, and what not to mesmerize you.
A bit of History of Thanrangambadi
Thanrangambadi is actually a Danish colony and it all started a few centuries ago when a man named Ove Giedde came to Thanrangambadi in 1618. As soon as he came to this village he instantly fell in love with this exotic town at that time. The shores, beaches, water, and people everything here was beautiful for him.
So a few years later he got permission from the King of Tanjore for spice trade and to build a fort here. The place flourished for years and was name Tranqebar after few years. But as the East India Company was flourishing all over South Asia they also looked over this place. Danish was no longer in power and could not maintain any sort of control over this colony. Soon this place trading rights were sold to British East India company and hence the Danish colony collapsed.
Places to Visit around Thanrangambadi
The place is historical beauty. All around you would see what this area would have been a few centuries back when it was one of the favorite trade destinations. I have narrowed the building and the places below.
Start from The town gate which is commonly known as the Landporten in Danish. This is the first of this Danish colony for any visitor. The place reminds you of history and at the gate itself, there is royal Danish Insignia where it is written 1792.
King Street (Kongensgade) is the street is the main street. There are walls, structures, buildings, carriage porches, etc around King street.
Now walking on king street you will see the statuesque Rehling’s House on the western side. This rehlings house was the residence of the Danish Governor. Along with the Governor’s house, you will see a small maritime museum. The maritime museum is known by the name Van Theylingen House.
Now when you move further south of King street there is the Dilapidated Zion church. The Zion church is India’s first Protestant Church. It is one of the most beautiful architecture you will ever see. The Church is a perfect combination of two very different styles. It is an exotic blend of Indian and Colonial architectural styles.
Now on the opposite side of the Zion Church is the New Jerusalem Church, which was built in around 1718 by the German Missionaries, This Church is home to Bartholomäus Ziegenbalgis mausoleum
On the eastern side of King Street is Fort Dansborg. Fort Dansborg is a beautiful Mustard color Scandinavian fort which was recently renovated. This fort is surrounded by ice-cream stalls and food vendors. It is due to that it faces the beach and it is pretty serene around here.
The fort too is a piece of art as it has stone walls and cannons all around. The mounted cannons are influenced by Scandinavian style military. While in its early days the Fort was home of the Governor but today now it’s more like a tourist place. There is a museum inside it which opens from 10 am to 5 pm.
The museum exhibits from fossils, ancient coins, skeletons, to old treaties, and even manuscripts. There is also a special treaty which was between the Danish and Indian king which is kept here.
There is also Bungalow on the beach. It is opposite to the fort across the King street. This is a nice little hotel with a vintage look. It is said that it was once the residence of the British collector but now it runs like a popular boutique hotel.
On the beachfront lies another ancient magnificent temple the Masilamani Nathar temple. Not only one of the oldest temples inTharangambadi but in Tamil Nadu too. This temple was built in around 1305 but is damaged a lot due to the 2004 tsunami. The tsunami has completely destroyed a lot of the monuments and structures herein Tharangambadi.
You will finish your nice little tour of Tharangambadi after visiting the Danish cemetery. The Danish cemetery is one the Kavalametty street. This street runs parallel to King Street and leads you to this daunting cemetery.
What about food and Dishes at Tharangambadi
As Tharangambadi is in Tamil Nadu so the dishes here are of Tamil cuisine. Tamil cuisine is rich in food and variety. What remains dominant here in the dishes is the Seafood. There are many hotels, restaurants, and eating joints. While the main eating points are outside the Tharangambadi.
You can see the popular ones on the Market street before entering the gateway. Hotels and restaurants inside Tharangambadi are limited. The Bungalow on the beach here is the main hotel serving you Indian and Continental. While if you are looking out for some authentic Tamilian dish then go to Hotel Tamil Naud. Gatehouse is another popular one just inside the entrance.
I personally would suggest you to eat fishes and prawns. The sea food is one of the best here. While also try out Tamilian dishes too. Tamil dishes are fairly cheap here than those of Continetal and outlandish dishes.
What are Other places around here to Visit
Sri Muniswaran Temple
Sri Muniswaran Temple is a temple around the town area only. It is dedicated to a deity famous in Tamil folk. The male deity is usually depicted as three stones. The deity is considered to protect the family and is like a guardian to people here.
Around 52 km from Tharangambadi is an ancient temple in the town of Chidambaram. The town and the temple are very ancient and even there presence is visible in 5th-century literature. You must visit the town and of course the temple to see our glorious past.
The temple of Chidambaram is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the literal meaning of Chidambaram is the atmosphere of Wisdom. The temple depicts the connection between art and spirituality.
There is Hazrat Dargah only 40 minutes away from the village in Nagore town. The dargah is dedicated to a Saint named Hazrat Meeran.
Thirukkadaiyur is also another only 30 mins from Tharangambadi. The place is supposedly the site where Yamaraj the God of death was destroyed by Lord Shiva
Basilica of Our Lady of Good health
Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is a shrine in the Christian town of Velankanni. The town Velankanni is approx 38 km from here.
Pondicherry is only a 3-hour ride from Tharangambadi. Pondicherry needs no introduction to a traveler. It has always been in the list of some of the most exotic places to visit in India. This ancient French colony has lots of old architecture and monuments which need a whole new blog to describe.
While you can still check our Golden East Coast trip where we explored a bit of Pondicherry while going from Chennai to Kanyakumari and then coming back via Munnar.
Tiruchirappalli is also onlu 3 and half hours away from Tharangambadi. Tiruchirappalli is an ancient Indian town which is known for its ancient temples and architectures. Some of the main ones which you should visit here is Sri Ranganathaswamy temple which is very famous for its intricate designs, The Gopuram here is famous for its intricate carving.
Another famous temple here is Jambukeswarar- Akilandeswari temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This ancient town is a must visit when you around here.
Where to Stay in Tharangambadi
There are few good options available in Tharangambadi for stay. As mentioned earlier there is Bungalow on the beach which is a colonial Bungalow. The Bungalow is very beautiful and what makes it unique is that rooms are maned after Danish Ships. Another great option is Gate house Bungalow which is at the entrance.
What is the best time to visit Tharangambadi
The best time to visit Tharangambadi is anywhere between August to March except during the heavy rain season.
In summers the temperature hovers around 35 degrees Celsius which is not very suitable for traveling around. While in summer only you experience those evening sea breezes. In summers evenings and nights get magical.
From July to October, you can expect heavy rains at this time here. While you should avoid at the time of monsoon but after that Tharangambadi becomes more beautiful.
In winters temperature hovers around 20 degree Celsius which I think is the best time to travel around. While the nights can be abit cold but overall journey is nice and comfortable.
How to reach Tharangambadi
The nearest airport from here is Trichy. Trichy airport is well connected around the state but if you are coming from another destination than the Chennai airport is the best option.
Daily flights operate between Chennai to Trichy. Trichy is around 4 hours away from Tharangambadi. You can easily get a taxi from Trichy for this village.
The nearest railway station is the Chidambaram railway station. The Chidambaram railway station is around 52 km from Tharangambadi. This railway station is then further connected to the Chennai railway station. An overnight train Nagore express runs between Chennai and Chidambaram. You can then get taxis from Chidambaram to this village.
The nearest big city from Tranquebar is Chennai which is around 5 hours from here. There are many buses both government and private running daily from Chennai to the village. You can easily get a bus from the Mofussil Bus Terminal.
While if you are coming on your own vehicle to Tharangambadi so take NH 32 to reach this village.
Also if you are coming from Chennai take Nh32. It will take you somewhere around 2 and a half hours to reach.
So when are you traveling to this old Danish colony to relive the past? Don’t forget to tell me in comments about your stay and visit
While you are here you can read more about exotic places in Tamil Nadu.
Also if you like this series on Unexplored places do check other Places on this list of Unexplored places in India.