Tharangambadi The Place Of The Singing Waves

Tharangambadi The Place Of The Singing Waves

During my 2 yrs stay at Pondicheery I explored all the possible places nearby. Particularly one place that captured my heart is Tranquebar or Tharangampadi – the place of the singing waves, is a small coastal town in Tamil Nadu 120 km south of the former French colony Pondicherry. Tharangambadi is known for its ozone-rich beaches. It was once a Danish colony and was known as Tranquebar.

Today the Danish Fort of Dansborg still dominates the Tranquebar skyline and the fortified town still has its share of colonial charm and legacy. The coastal town complete with forts, churches, and colonial buildings is surrounded by high walls complete with bastions and stands as a colonial island surrounded by a rural landscape.

I went there in the month of December. I took Pondicherry to Karaikal PRTC early morning bus. after 3 hours of the bumpy ride, I was there, as half of the road was under construction. it took 10 min walk to reach Tharangambadi. the moment I crossed the big gate, the entrance I was awestruck and patted my back for taking this trip. I knew it will be worth my weekend. I had booked myself in Neemrana’s Bungalow on the Beach! The first impression is it’s such a small place to do for the whole day, it’s true, Tranquebar is so tiny, that the best method of seeing all the Danish attractions and historical sights is on foot. A large part of Tranquebar village was damaged due to the tsunami in 2004. With the help of the Tamil Nadu State Archeological Department and the Royal Danish family, the Danish Tranquebar Association has managed to restore some parts of Tranquebar.

I was instantly enamoured by the aquamarine waters juxtaposed against picture-perfect beaches, quaint streets lined with colourfully-painted old homes, and the feeling of time having stood still for centuries. And while it is normal to have this sort of feeling in so many places; the fact that this was an erstwhile Danish colony for more than 220 years only accentuated the pleasure. 

Here I list down the places and attractions to visit in tiny Tranquebar; so that this post also doubles up as a Travel Guide for interested folks who want to visit this former Danish colony.  

1-Gateway to Tranquebar

2-Dansborg Fort

3-Sri Masilamani Nathar Temple 

4-Zion Church

5-New Jerusalem Church

6-Danish Governor’s Bungalow or Governor’s Bungalow

7-Old Danish Cemetery

8-Tranquebar Maritime Museum / Danish-Indian Cultural Centre

Tranquebar also happens to be the place where the Bible (New Testament) was translated in Tamil and printed by Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg.

The press, which was once the house of Ziegenbalg, still stands and has been converted into a small museum known as A Museum of Intercultural Dialogue and Printing Exhibition.

The first printed Tamil Bible and also the one hand written by Ziegenbalg in Tamil are on display. The printing machines and also the Tamil letter setting can also be seen. The museum is housed inside a school complex.

Walk On Tranquebar Beach

Just across Dansborg Fort, the promenade leading to the beach can give a complex to the one in Bandra and Marine Drive in Bombay! It is lined with pretty lights and leads to an endless expanse of blue. Strolling on the Tranquebar beach with endless views of the Sea has to be one of the must-do things when you visit this ‘land of singing waves!’

LAZE For the laid-back traveller, Tranquebar is heaven. Curling up on an old armchair with a book, watching the breakers bounce off the craggy rocks and the colourful fishing boats in the distance, is just one option. A twilight stroll on the boulder-strewn beach is relaxing, as are moments of quiet rumination spent sitting upon the ramparts of the fort. Most visitors come to Tranquebar to enjoy its tranquil and under-the-radar quality–watching the sunset as fishermen head home with the day’s catch or looking out for migratory birds.

The highlight of my weekend getaway was the stay at Neemrana’s Bungalow on the Beach! The room was extremely clean and the antique decor was cool. it is a colonial bungalow with a breathtaking view of the ocean. Rooms are named after Danish ships which docked in this. The Bungalow on the Beach has Continental food and south Indian dishes. they have a beautiful pool too.  there are no budget hotels in Tranquebar. Karaikal may be an easier place to stay because it has a variety of hotels at a range of prices its just 10km from here.

Tranquebar is a warm coastal town where the minimum temperature ranges between 21-26°c and the maximum between 29-36°c. The weather is most pleasant from August to March. During October and November, heavy rain and sometimes cyclones as well. I went in December which was super sunny and humid. I carried my big hat, umbrella, and big beach bag consisting of a big water bottle, sunscreen and some snacks.

The beach is crowded on Fridays when the fort is closed and people from neighbouring villages visit.

Be careful while swimming. There are only a few recommended pockets—the rest of the beach is unsafe for swimming. if you taking a day trip pls carry your food there is no food around except you can get some biscuits and chips from small shops.

The sleepy hamlet of Tranquebar really transports the visitors into a charming European small town. It is a journey back in time. It also adds a fresh dose of ozone to refresh both the mind and body of the visitor.

while coming back the next day I had no bus booking I stood on the highway and a bus came in no time. if you go there in your car pls see around as there are many known places around in 50km diameter.

Nandita Chaudhuri
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