Tharangambadi (earlier known as Tranquebar) is a Danish delight in South India and a quiet fishing village located in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. As you go a little further up from the Coromandel coastline, crossing rows of colourful boats, you will come across an antiquated gate with hoary engravings. This is your gateway to a village with a rather unique history.
India has seen the rule of many powerful dynasties that have influenced the culture of the country in some way or the other. Tharangambadi used to be the base of Danish settlements in the 17th-century. During the period, the Danish built Fort Dansborg, or what is locally known as the Danish Fort.
What’s special is that it is the second largest fort built by the Danish, right after Kronborg in Denmark. Fort Dansborg overlooks the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, still looking every bit as regal today. After being used as a bungalow till 1978, the fort came under the surveillance of the Archaeological Survey of India, and is now used as a museum to display all the artefacts of the fort and the Danish Empire.
Constructed in Danish style of architecture, Fort Dansborg has glorious halls, high ceilings and columned structures. The fort has rooms and a kitchen, fireplace and chimney as well. The fort used to be surrounded by citadels in the past, that gave the whole area the feel of a town. In fact it was made to be very similar to that of a European town, with streets named as King’s Street and bungalows constructed in the British style. The citadels, however, have eroded with time by the waves of the seawater.
The fort has been renovated twice since, in 2001 and in 2011, in order to increase the appeal of the fort. It has been one of the popular hotspots of Tamil Nadu and a major hit amongst travellers ever since. Fort Dansborg remains open from 10 AM to 5 PM on all days of the week.
Chennai Airport is the nearest airport to Tharangambadi, which is located at a distance of about 270km. This airport connects to many major cities of India like Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata.