Located on the Coromandel Coast, Tharangambadi or Tranquebar as it’s more popularly called – is in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. While Pondicherry has French influences, in Tranquebar you will experience glimpses of Danish legacy. What intrigued me was it’s name. Later, I discovered the meaning – “land of the singing waves“. And it couldn’t have been more apt.
Being a former Dutch colony means there are quite a few buildings from the yesteryears; some of them well preserved to date. The only place to stay is the Neemrana property, Bungalow on the Beach. Actually, there is one other place – a hotel run by Tamil Nadu tourism.
The Bungalow on the Beach is run by Neemrana and is located right on the water front
The best part of the resort is the view. It’s on the beach, with a view of the temple on the left and the fort on the right. It was rainy weather when we arrived, so it was good to sit on the first floor porch and enjoy the rain with some tea for company. Walking around the town doesn’t take too much time. But the sights and sounds will probably keep you busy. Some of the old houses are reminiscent of Dutch glory and you can almost imagine what the town must have looked like in its hey days.
The view from the top terrace of the resort
There is a huge gate welcoming people to the town, called the Landporten. There are colonial houses that you can admire when you venture out for a walk. Stucco walls, pillars, verandahs, carriage porches, arched entrance pillars – are some of the ways you can identify the Dutch influence on the architecture.
Buildings influenced by Dutch architecture
We came across a church, a cemetery and the most famous landmark – the Dansborg military fort – which still stands tall, braving the rough waves of the Arabian sea. There is also a temple, which suffered some damage during the 2004 tsunami. Tranquebar was one of the towns which was impacted by this natural disaster and some signs are still visible.
The temple on the shore
Walking around is the best way to experience this small town. If you’re visiting, you can keep a day for sightseeing and another day just to relax by the hotel poolside. It’s not a place with lots to do. But it could serve as a great stop-over or a spot to chill out; while still taking in an interesting history lesson. Tranquebar is definitely quite different and “non-touristy” and for the traveller looking for out-of-the-ordinary experiences, this one is worth including in the wish list.
Accommodation: Bungalow on the Beach
Reaching Tranquebar: Around 290 kms from Chennai and 124 from Pondicherry, best accessible by road. The nearest airports are Chennai and Tiruchirapalli.
Tranquebar photo album: Check out more pictures from the town