Tranquil Tranquebar

Table of contents for Tamil Nadu

  1. Tranquil Tranquebar
  2. The Big Nataraja of Konerirajapuram

This is about our visit in July to Tranquebar, a beautiful beach on the Bay of Bengal. Our vacation was primarily to the ancient temple towns of the Cauvery Delta. The short distance from Chidambaram to Tranquebar was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Tranquebar Fort and Beach

Tharangambadi meaning ‘village of the dancing waves’ is a pretty seaside village in Tamil Nadu very close to Karaikal, 35km N of Nagapattinam and 12km S of the ancient port of Poompuhar. The Danish East India Company acquired it in 1692 from the ruler of Tanjore, and named the colony Tranquebar or Trankebar.

The imposing Dansborg Fort stands before a long stretch of golden beach opposite a fancy hotel aptly named The Bungalow On The Beach. A ruined shore temple is across this hotel.

Dansborg Danish Fort - Tranquebar

Neemrana's Hotel Bungalow on the Beach

Masilamani Nathar Koil

Ruined Shore Temple opposite the fancy hotel

Tharangambadi was an ancient trading port much before the Danes arrived, but all that remains of this antiquity today is the ruined shore temple of Masilamani Nathar built by the Pandyan king Maravarma Kulasekara Pandyan in the 14th century. The Masilamani Nathar Temple is referred to as Kulasekarapattinam in the epic Silapaddikaran.

Ancient Masilamani Nathar Temple to Lord Siva

Tranquebar is perhaps better known as the place where the first Tamil printing press was set up in 1712 by the German Lutheran missionary Bartholomeus Ziegenbalg. Ziegenbalg was a pioneer who made the effort to learn Tamil, translated the New Testament and laid the foundation for the printing press industry in India.

The Tamil Nadu Tourism Department and various agencies from Denmark are collaborating on making Tranquebar an eco friendly beach destination. Restoration work is in progress in the Fort, the small Trankebar Maritime Museum and on a promenade leading to the beach. Several Danish nationals whose forefathers lived and died here, have bought and restored old properties in the village.

Booking.com

Old Entrance Arch at road leading to the beach

Sandy road to the beach

On the beach

On the beach

Visitors on the windy jetty

Gentle waves on the sea shore

A little boy watching the sea

Fascinated by the waves

Waves crashing on the old jetty - destroyed by the Tsunami

Fishing Boats

More fishing boats

That same little boy - again!

Fishing Boats - again!

Old Church

Old Zion Church

Maritime Museum”]

Well maintained colonial building

Old Muslim House

Tranquil Backwaters

Cheerful students without a care in the world ......

The Gate House - Another Neemrana Hotel

Tranquebar is pretty, tranquil and clean, the perfect setting for those seeking a quiet beach holiday, light years removed from the entertainment zones of Mahabalipuram and Pondicherry. At the moment there are just the three pricey Neemrana hotels available, so those on a budget would do better to stay in the many lodgings available at nearby Karaikal or Nagapattinam. The tourism department is encouraging locals to set up home stays so these should be available soon.

700 people lost their lives here in the Tsunami. Mass housing built in the aftermath can be seen at the edge of the village beyond the backwaters. The presence of numerous missionary schools in the region ensures that the bulk of the populace receive some modicum of education. In any event, Tamilians as a rule, place education high on the list of priorities.

Tharangambadi can easily be combined with visits to Chidambaram, Kumbakonam, Nagapattinam. The auspicious Navagraha temples of the Cauvery delta are also nearby, as is the healing shrine of Velankanni.
Nagapattinam is an important rail head. By road from Chennai takes about 6 hours by taxi. Convenient airports are Trichy and Chennai.

Some interesting links on Tharangambadi
http://www.hinduonnet.com/mag/2005/09/25/stories/2005092500120200.htm
http://nagapattinamonline.com/tourist-info/tharangambadi/
http://www.nagapattinam.tn.nic.in/tara.html
http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mag/2006/07/02/stories/2006070200200500.htm
http://www.hopefoundation.org.in/coh-tharangambadi.aspx

Google Earth Image of Tranquebar / Tharangambadi

  • good pics especially “Gentle waves on the sea shore”

  • Ram Dhall

    Thanks for taking us on a virtual tour of Tranquebar with some of the most scintillating pictures.

    Your post reminded me of our visit to the Vailankanni Shrine in February, which as you said, is in close vicinity of Tranquebar. I would make it a point to visit this place during my next visit to the shrine.

    Neemrana properties, by and large ,are good. Any comments about the bungalow on the beach of Tranquebar.

    • Thank you Ram. We did not stay at Tranquebar so cant comment about the hotel but it looked like a nice place.

  • Mahesh Semwal

    Dear Gita,

    Good Pics !!!!!

  • ssk agra

    wonderfull,Tranquebar

  • Thanks Mahesh and SSK

  • manish khamesra

    Beautiful pictures Gita.

    I remember reading about a travellers search of first printing press place in India( I was not sure what the place name was, but it should be Tranquebar only). I looked for it @ghumakkar, probably it was in Indian Express.

    Interesting read and beautiful pictures GAM ;-)

  • Thanks Manish

    According to those news reports, Ziegenbalg set up the first printing press in India in Tranquebar.

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mag/2006/07/02/stories/2006070200200500.htm
    http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/THE-MISSIONARY-S-FOOTPRINTS/656934/

    • Thanks Gita for digging. I was referring to this post of Indian Express only.
      Incredible.

      Google is a solution to everything :-)

  • Nice pictures, Gita.
    Recently one of my friends went to this place and she’s so full of praise. Your photos vouch for the same.

    I must visit it sometime.

    • Gita AM

      Thanks Nisha and apologies for the belated acknowledgment. In fact, I had forgotten about this post completely and was brought here through a search for something else!

  • jayaraman

    Dear Gita AM, A very good article! Thanks for reading my article too! I too love traveling and writing!
    Regards Jay

  • Gita AM

    Thanks Jay for your appreciation though I will be the first to admit that mine is nowhere near as detailed as yours! Anyway, we have to thank Google for bringing up both our articles today.

    All the best.