Bungalow on the Beach, Neemrana Hotels
Tharangambadi is located in Tamil Nadu
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District Nagapattinam
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 23,191
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

Tharangambadi (formerly Tranquebar) is a panchayat town in the Nagapattinam district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It lies 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) north of Karaikal, near the mouth of a distributary of the Kaveri River. Tharangambadi is the headquarters of Tharangambadi taluk while its name means "place of the singing waves". It was a colony of Denmark-Norway from 1620 to 1814, colony of Denmark alone from 1814-45 and in Danish it is still known as Trankebar.


  • History 1
  • Danish Museum 2
  • New Jerusalem Church 3
  • Dano-Norwegian Fort 4
  • Demographics 5
  • Gallery 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The place dates back to 14th century. Masilamani nathar (Shiva) temple was built in 1306, in a land given by

  • India
  • WorldStatesmen- India
  • Photos of Tranquebar
  • National Institute of Oceanography: Mahabalipuram and Poompuhar
  • Tranquebar: The Danish East India Company 1616-1669
  • Coins of Danish India
  • "Conversations in Tarangambadi: Caring for the Self in Early Eighteenth Century South India" von Eugene F. Irschick
  • 'Sepoy Mutiny'-article by Maggy G. Menachery in St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, 1982 & passim
  • Tranquebar at
  • Danish Colonial Remains at

External links

  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainpassim
  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ Galathea 3 - Research projects - The Indo-Dano Cultural Encounter with Special Reference to Print in the Eighteenth Century
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^
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  10. ^
  11. ^


See also


As of 2001 India census,[11] Tharangambadi had a population of 20,841. Males constitute 48% of the population and females 52%. Tharangambadi has an average literacy rate of 74%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 79%, and female literacy is 69%. In Tharangambadi, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.


Construction of rampart wall is a fairly large four sided structure, with bastions at each cardinal point. A single storied building was constructed along three inner sides of the rampart, with barracks, warehouse, kitchen and jail. The rooms on the southern side remain in good condition, but the rooms on the western and northern sides have been substantially damaged. On the eastern side of the fort, there was a two storied building facing the sea. It was the main building of the fort. The vaulted lower storey served as a magazine and a warehouse, while the vaulted upper storey contained the church and the lodging of the governor, the senior merchants and the chaplain. The sea on the eastern and western side protected the fort. The fort was surrounded by a moat, access to the fort being over a drawbridge. The moat has completely disappeared.

Dano-Norwegian Fort

The New Jerusalem Church [1] was built in 1718 by the Royal Danish missionary Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg in the coastal town of Tranquebar, India which was at that time a colony of Denmark-Norway.[7] The church is located on King Street,[8] a street name very common in both Danish and Norwegian cities, and church services are conducted every Sunday.[9] The church, along with other buildings of the Tranquebar Mission was damaged during the tsunami of 2004, and were renovated at a cost of INR 7 million, and re-consecrated in 2006.[7][10]

New Jerusalem Church

The antiquities connected with the colonial period and Dano-Norwegian settlement at Tharangampadi are exhibited.[6] The museum contains porcelain ware, Danish manuscripts, glass objects, Chinese tea jars, steatitle lamps, decorated terracotta objects, figurines, lamps, stones, sculptures, swords, daggers, spears, sudai (stucco) figurines and wooden objects. There is also part of a whale skeleton and small cannonballs.[4]

Antique items on display at the museum inside Fort Dansborg

Danish Museum

Tranquebar was occupied by the British in February 1808 during the Napoleonic Wars but was restored to Denmark following the Treaty of Kiel in 1814 and The Norwegian Declaration of Independence. Along with the Danish settlement of Serampore in Bengal, it was sold to the British in 1845.[6] Tranquebar was then still a busy port, but it later lost its importance after a railway was opened to Nagapattinam.

The Zion church was sanctified in 1701, which is the oldest Protestant church in India. In 1718, The New Jerusalem Church was constructed.[3] Moravian Brethren missionaries from Herrnhut, Saxony established the Brethren's Garden at Porayar near Tranquebar and operated it as a missionary centre for a number of years. An Italian Catholic Father Constanzo Beschi, who worked in the colony from 1711 to 1740, found himself in conflict with the Lutheran pioneers at Tranquebar, against whom he wrote several polemical works.

They were forced to learn the broken Portuguese, that was the lingua franca between Indians and Europeans at the time, and later on translated the Bible into the local Tamil language. They also established a printing press, which within a hundred years of its establishment in 1712 had printed 300 books in Tamil.[5] At first they only made little progress in their religious efforts, but gradually the mission spread to Madras, Cuddalore and Tanjore. Today Bishop of Tranquebar is the official title of a bishop in the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church (TELC) in South India which was founded in 1919 as a result of the German Lutheran Leipzig Mission and Church of Sweden Mission. The seat of the Bishop, the Cathedral and its Church House ("Tranquebar House") is in Tiruchirappalli.

Among the first Protestant missionaries to set foot in India were two Lutherans from Germany, Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Pluetschau, who began work in 1705 in the Dano-Norwegian settlement of Tranquebar. Ziegenbalg translated the Old and New Testaments into Tamil, imported a printing press, and printed the New Testament in Tamil in 1714.[4]

A restored colonial house in Tranquebar
Fort Dansborg at Tharangambadi, built by Danish Admiral, Ove Gjedde.

and other officials for about 150 years. It is now a museum hosting a collection of artifacts from the colonial era. governor. The Catholic church was probably demolished to build the fort. This fort was the residence and headquarters of the Indo-Portuguese community Nevertheless, a jesuit Catholic church was already in place before that, catering for the [3]