A tour of Tranquebar

Fort Dansborg, Tranquebar
Fort Dansborg, Tranquebar

‘A rare Indian colony of the Danish empire. A place that fostered the modern printing press and Protestant Christianity in the subcontinent. A tourist haunt that was ravaged by the tsunami in 2004. This is Tranquebar, known as Tharangampadi, a charming coastal town in present-day Tamil Nadu.”

Thus begins Beyond Tranquebar, a collection of essays on the region, written by various scholars and edited by Esther Fihl and AR Venkatachalapathy. Tranquebar is indeed a rarity – a town dating to Pandian times and then becoming a base for the Danish East India Company. It is also a lucky town, for in these heritage insensitive times, it has been patiently and lovingly restored to its old glory, with some excellent work having been done on it by INTACH, the Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu and the Bestseller Foundation of Denmark.

There is much to see in Tranquebar and lots of fresh air by the sea to enjoy. This tour is dedicated to this out of the way heritage town. In addition, we plan to take in Chidambaram the temple town that has been a part of our glorious past since times immemorial. A living symbol of our religious faith, it traces its origins to the worship of Nature as God. The nearby mangroves that protect the coast from tsunamis and ocean ingress are filled with Thillai trees that gave the temple its name. Close by is the enormous Veeranarayana or Veeranam lake dug in Chola times and even now a source of water for all the irrigation in the region besides supplying Chennai with water.

The tour conceptualised and curated by Sriram V, will begin from Chennai early on Friday, March 27, and will end by the evening of Sunday, March 29, 2015, at Chennai. Those interested may register by emailing their name and phone number to walks@chennaipastforward.com for further details on cost and payment methods.