This week, The Musafir Stories speaks to Ranjani and Raghavan from the blog Rararaasta!
Today's destination: Tranquebar or Tharangambadi, Tamil Nadu
Nearest Airport: Chennai International Airport, MAA
Nearest Railway Station: Chidambaram Railway Station, CDM
Prerequisites - N/A
Packing - Pack according to the weather as summers can be hot and humid
Time of the year - November to February is a good time.
Length of the itinerary: Weekend itinerary is ideal.
- Ranjani and Raghavan cover the Tranquebar itinerary as a part of their 14 day road trip across Tamil Nadu. The couple kick off their tour from Chennai - make sure to enjoy a scenic drive on the ECR or Easter Coast Road.
- En route Tranquebar, make sure to have pitstops at the numerous surfing cafes as well as the mangroves of Pichavaram, the second largest mangroves in the world. Enjoy a boat road in the mangrove forests, also the shooting location of numerous South Indian films, including Dasavathaaram. Listen to the stories of how the mangroves protected the nearby villages from the wrath of the 2004 Tsunami that devastated coastal Tamil Nadu.
- Tranquebar is only a short distance from Pichavaram and the couple reach in time to enjoy a sunset by the beach as well as pay a quick visit to the museum. Tharangambadi, the original name of Tranquebar, translates to Land of singing waves, in Tamil and also happens to be one of the most ozone-rich beaches in the world!
- The main attraction of Tranquebar or Tharangambadi is the Dansborg Fort built by the Danish East India company in 1620. Tranquebar was one of the two settlements of the Danish and was leased to them by the Thanjavur Nayaks in 1620 for a sum of 3111 rupees annually.
- The fort is in a decent condition and houses a garrison and a small museum inside, the Fort is closed to the public on Fridays, so plan your visit accordingly
- Also worth a mention is the property in which Ranjani and Raghavan stay during their visit - Bungalow at the beach, a Neemrana property that was previously the British Collectors office. The property offers great views of the beach and is a mere 50-60m from the shore.
- In the vicinity of the beach is the Masilamani Nathar temple, some of which was impacted by the 2004 Tsunami. This is one of the oldest surviving structures of Tharangambadi and is believed to have been built in 1306.
- Other points of interest in the town include a post office, New Jerusalem church, Zion church, some old structures and houses on King Street. Enjoy your walk around the town and appreciate some of the remaining colonial structures
- Famous personalities of Tranquebar include German Missionary Barthalomous Zeigenbalg, who was responsible for setting up of the first printing press in the area and also set up the region's first girls school. He is still fondly remembered by the locals for all the work he did for uplifting the community and a statue of Zeigenbalg stands at the intersection of King and Queen street.
- Another famous personality of Tranquebar is M.A. Sulthan, a resident who has been instrumental in documenting the history of the region and also writing several books to preserve the past of Tranquebar. He has worked closely with organizations like Intach to preserve the remaining heritage of the town.
- Raghavan and Ranjani also share their experience learning about the Danish community and their unwavering support to the town, specially during the rebuilding phase after the Tsunami. The Danish Tranquebar Association or DTA has been a key player in ensuring families get all the support during the rebuilding process. The couple cap off the trip by sharing their experience interacting with a Danish couple who were visiting Tranquebar or Tharangambadi, as they refer to the town, and how it is deeply rooted in their history and still finds a place in their academic curriculum.
- If you are thinking about extending your itinerary, other nearby options include a trip to Pondicherry for the beautiful beaches and French vistas, Chidambaram and Thanjavur for some iconic temples, the famous Nagoor Dargah or muslim shrine as well as the Basilica of our Lady of Good health in Velankanni. Enjoy your trip!
Link to the Rararaasta blog: https://rararaasta.com
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