Where does one head to, to escape the ToxiCity of Delhi?
To get a breath of fresh air and feel rejuvenated in tranquility of waves so enchanting, that it seems like they are singing and dancing, I headed to this little town of ‘Tranquebar’ or ‘Tharangambadi’ (as it is referred to in the local language).
Situated on the Coromandel Coast of the Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu, this colonial Heritage Town which was primarily a Danish Trade Settlement while also being occupied by the Dutch and British for brief periods.
What attracted me to Tranquebar were the pristine beauty and perennial charm of the relics and remnants of old colonial times, be it the Bungalows, the Church, the Governor’s House or the Dansburg Fort.
This Danish Fort may offer a lesson or two in ‘Construction and Design’ to Civil Engineers as it has withstood the vagaries of nature for over 400 years. The Fort, which is now amusingly painted Pink, following recent restoration work, was not affected a bit, even by the Killer Tsunami that rocked this coast in December 2004. People here share that all the Tsunami waves did to this Fort was bringing two fishing boats inside the Fort as if to bring them into safe custody.
A lot of maps, lithographs, photographs and excavated items from stones to ceramic pottery-from bygone eras are kept in the Museum situated in the Fort, which can be accessed through a reasonably priced ticket for you and your camera.
Don’t forget to visit the roof of the Fort for clicking beautiful panoramic shots. As majestic birds of prey flew closeby, I soaked in some sunshine and watched a local artist draw black and white portraits of people, who were willing to pay him Rs.100 and sit still for 10minutes.
I visited here on a Sunday and thus saw a lot of people from nearby areas visiting the Fort and the Beach that day.
There are trains that bring you from most Cities of South India to nearby town of Karaikal from where Tranquebar is just a half-an-hour journey by road.
Though I couldn’t encourage myself to splurge by staying at Neemrana’s refurbished Heritage Bungalows named “The Gate House” and “Bungalow on the Beach”, I did treat myself to luxury by having a delicious Sizzler for a Lunch by the Poolside at the latter property and spending my afternoon here watching the waves hit the shoreline.
Various articles on the place that I read as part of my pre-trip research pointed out to two budget-friendly accommodations in Tranquebar, namely the Nayak House and Hotel Tamil Nadu, but take my word, do not waste time researching on them as Hotel Tamil Nadu is presently closed and Nayak House is no longer with Neemrana and thus not open to tourists anymore.
The budget-friendly solo traveler in me had also thus opted for a stay at a Hotel in nearby Karaikal.
I took a walk through this little town in the evening and you will end up meeting a lot of interesting people like Clement Uncle who comes with his adopted Indian dog named “Tiger” for a walk or the young entrepreneur in Rinkoo, who hails from a village near Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh and sells close to 250 Cotton candies at Rs.5 a candy on any given day on a weekend here or in neighbouring towns of Vailankini. Rinkoo has a Cotton candy machine of his own at Nagore, a town where he now stays in with his parents and wife.
My visit to the Church enlightened me that the Town of Tranquebar holds special importance for Indian Christians as it is “The Gateway to Protestantism in India” and also the place where New Testament was first translated and published in Tamil.
The Ozone layer over this beach town is said to be thickest at any place in India, making it a perfect retreat to boost your health; and as the sun set on the beach, the kid in me decided to brave the waves and touch them up close…my lovely day had come to an end and infused me with joy while leaving me yearning for more!