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Old 20th July 2010, 14:26   #31
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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Attached is the route I was talking about:

Bengaluru, Karnataka to Tharangambadi, Tamil Nadu - Google Maps

Probably the shortest route is Tvmalai - Thirukovilur - Panruti - Chidambaram - Taragambadi.

I actually did Tvmalai - Thirukovilur - Panruti - Cuddalore - Taragambadi - Karaikal as Panruti - Chidambaram road was not good then.

The Tiruvannamalai - Thirukovilur road was newly done up a 18 months or so back. Very good roads. Almost nil traffic. Thirukovilur - Panruti cuts across the Chennai - Trichy (NH45?).
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Old 20th July 2010, 15:18   #32
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FORT DANSBORG

A little history...

From a historical perspective, Tranquebar is an important slice of our past, being as it is the only Danish settlement in India. Tranquebar is also a pioneer - the very first printing press in India was installed here in 1712 by a German missionary, and he printed the Tamil version of the Bible here in 1715. Besides many structures related to the work of the Christian missionaries, there is also a large mosque here that was built by Arabian traders 300 years ago along the lines of Arabian mosques.

Now, some information that was missing in the earlier part of this travelogue...

About the temple on the beach:

This temple is the Masillamani Nathar temple built in 1305 AD, and is the oldest surviving structure of Tranquebar. It had three gopurams of which 2 were already swallowed by erosion before the tsunami. After the tsunami struck, the rest is in precarious condition. Although it is of great significance architecturally and historically, there are apparently no plans to restore it.

About the stone protection on the beach - the literature says that there was in fact a road with buildings that existed at the side of the temple in front of the Nayak House as recently as 1968. Constant erosion took its toll and the last straw was the tsunami that swallowed it completely.

Bungalow on the Beach was bought by the Taj group but wasn't being run and was in bad shape. Neemrana bought it in 2002 and totally restored it to its present condition. Impressed by this, a cultural organisation handed over the Gate house and Nayak House also to Neemrana.

For all this information, and some below, I am indebted to a booklet "Reminiscences of Tranquebar" by M A Sultan, a resident of Tranquebar.

I bought this booklet for the sum of Rupees 80 at the fort. I had misplaced this when I reached home and found it only this morning!

From the above, I realise that it was worth spending a morning going into Tranquebar town, there is plenty of history there.

For those who visit and are interested in history, I recommend you buy the booklet mentioned above at the fort and keep a morning for the town visit.

I didn't visit the town and my travelogue of Tranquebar is really half done. Perhaps some one else can fill in the rest!

Pic 1 Old map of Tranquebar
Name:  old trankebar map .gif
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Size:  57.3 KB

Maps downloaded from:
TRANKEBAR-TRANQUEBAR-THARANGAMBADI. FORT DANSBORG. DANISH INDIA


And amongst all this interesting history of this Danish settlement, the Dansborg Fort is an important part.


Pic 2 "Dansborg castle and the fortress of Tranquebar, 1730. Trankebar"
Name:  Dansborg Fort and surroundings 1730.jpg
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Size:  27.7 KB

Maps downloaded from:
TRANKEBAR-TRANQUEBAR-THARANGAMBADI. FORT DANSBORG. DANISH INDIA

But like most such places in India, it lacks good promotion. This same fort in Europe would be an attraction and in England it would be a big money spinner! In fact, as I understand from the literature available, this fort was neglected to such an extent that it was the State Government Inspection Bungalow until 1978! Only then was it transferred to the Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department.

Even then it was not maintained well until a group of Danish citizens (in Denmark) formed the Tranquebar Association and in collaboration with the Archaeology Department renovated it in 2002.

Nevertheless, it is (by our standards) reasonably well kept and is certainly worth at least one visit.

The previous evening we had seen numerous tourist buses coming to the beach and fort. I was keen to take some pictures inside the fort and that would be difficult if there were too many people around. So we would have to be amongst the first in. The fort opens to public at 10am, so at 10am promptly we were at the Fort entrance. Bought our tickets, Rs. 20 per head I think, plus camera charges, and we were in. We were in for half an hour and I got some pictures comfortably, but then a couple of buses came in and opportunities for more pics disappeared!

On the first floor the Government has set up a museum, and this is interesting. There are a few good artifacts on display.


Pic Fort 1 - Board at the Fort entrance
Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar1.jpg


Pic Fort 0 - Another board

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar.jpg


Pic Fort 2 - Stone tablet inside

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar2.jpg


Pic Fort 3 - Rear of the fort seen from the entrance

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar3.jpg


Pic Fort 4 - The far side that houses the Sales Centre and Jail

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar4.jpg


Pic Fort 5 - Sales Centre

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar5.jpg


Pic Fort 6 - Jail

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar6.jpg


Pic Fort 7 - The rear of the fort from the back

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar7.jpg


Pic Fort 8 - The first floor that houses the museum

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar8.jpg


Pic Fort 9 - Cannon overlooking the sea. I tried to imagine how this scene would have appeared to a gunner nearly 400 years ago (if the cannon was installed then). I did not come across any record of any shot ever being fired.

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar9.jpg


Pic Fort 10 - The stone with details, I don't know when this stone was installed.

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar10.jpg


Pic Fort 11 - Museum board

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar11.jpg


Pic Fort 12 - Transcript of the Sale Deed which gave ownership (from the Danes) to the British in 1847

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar12.jpg


Pic Fort 13 - Overlooking the beach. This is really a very nice beach as can be seen. I would really like to visit again with friends and families so we can enjoy it better.

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar13.jpg


Pic Fort 14 - The domed roof of the jail and sales centre on the ground. All this is 382 years old.

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar14.jpg


Pic Fort 15 - Looking over to the B on B. Between there is construction activity and I was told that a road was being constructed. If you look at the old Fort map of 1730 above, there was a structure here then. Hopefully that is being reconstructed...?

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-fort-dansborg-tranquebar15.jpg


Next up, return to Puducherry, coming up soon...
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Old 20th July 2010, 15:57   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csentil View Post
Probably the shortest route is Tvmalai - Thirukovilur - Panruti - Chidambaram - Taragambadi.

I actually did Tvmalai - Thirukovilur - Panruti - Cuddalore - Taragambadi - Karaikal as Panruti - Chidambaram road was not good then.

The Tiruvannamalai - Thirukovilur road was newly done up a 18 months or so back. Very good roads. Almost nil traffic. Thirukovilur - Panruti cuts across the Chennai - Trichy (NH45?).
Thanks for that update. Overall my idea was the same. Why go to Pondicherry if one has to go to Taragambadi.
Road update is good news. Will try that route.
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Old 20th July 2010, 16:17   #34
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Damu, My mistake. I checked the distances once again. They dont show the 70Km difference, but 40Km. The route that Senthil suggested versus the route via Pondicherry seem to be the same (390 versus 430).

Senthil, Which you think is the better route?
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Old 20th July 2010, 21:31   #35
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Originally Posted by TSEA View Post
Nice Photos @Damu. Thanks for sharing. Your travelogue has inspired me to visit Tranquebar.
Thanks TSEA! Glad it has appealed to you.

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Originally Posted by laluks View Post
The Bungalow on the Beach seems to attract me. I'll drive out early morning on a saturday, chill out there and return back charged by Sunday night for the next set of chores in Bangalore .Thanks Damu, nice info.
Have a great weekend, laluks, and tell us about it!

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Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
How was the weather in Pondy? May visit Pondy and Mahabs this week-end.

Any pointer on hotels in both the places (budget max 2000/- per room per night) for relaxing holiday.
Pondy weather is hot but not unbearable. Pleasant in the evenings.

Try this hotel
Hotel du Parc, Pondicherry, A Heritage Hotel in Pondicherry, South India

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
+1 to that! The place seems awesome! Will definitely think of going. Hotel is inviting for me too! Thanks for sharing Damu.
Also the snaps are classic, esp. the open sea "on the rocks"!
Good! Hope you too enjoy.

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Originally Posted by ranjitp1 View Post
Lovely tlogue.Inspiring enough for us to do a Tranquebar drive from hyd.Nice pictures as well.
Thanks Ranjit!

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Originally Posted by kannan666 View Post
Nice travelogue Damu, must make a plan to visit Tranquebar sooner than later now !
Thanks Kannan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by csentil View Post
Probably the shortest route is Tvmalai - Thirukovilur - Panruti - Chidambaram - Taragambadi.
When did you take this road Senthil? Is it currently good?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Damu, My mistake. I checked the distances once again. They dont show the 70Km difference, but 40Km. The route that Senthil suggested versus the route via Pondicherry seem to be the same (390 versus 430).

Senthil, Which you think is the better route?
If 40 kms saves an hour it may be worth it. Otherwise perhaps better to go via Pondy, IMO.
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Old 21st July 2010, 09:34   #36
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Absolutely wonderful, didn't even know such place existed

Thanks Damu


@rjstyles69; brillant pictures there, (just that it dint need any borders my thought)

Cheers
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Old 21st July 2010, 10:25   #37
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Nice pics Damu Sir,

I hadnt heard about this place before, so, thanks for introducing this here. Really has an old world charm this place.
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Old 21st July 2010, 11:31   #38
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Wonderful pics Damu. People learning Tamil as second language will know more about places like Tharangambadi. Not only do lessons cover about a bit of history of these places as flourishing ports, also the change and further acceptance in name from Tharangambadi to Tranquebar and related has found acceptance in Tamil Grammar. So Udhagamandalam became ootacamund and finally ooty in a similar fashion.
So if anyone wants to find about their lost heritage, I'd say go back to your language!
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Old 21st July 2010, 12:07   #39
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Damu, thanks for a wonderful travelogue, and some nice pics in there!
Adding this to my ever-growing list of places to visit. I need to find time to begin striking-off places off this list once covered.
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Old 21st July 2010, 12:15   #40
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If 40 kms saves an hour it may be worth it. Otherwise perhaps better to go via Pondy, IMO.
How does it matter ? Fuel is relatively cheap and there aint no harm in driving via Pondy and filling up. After all its just a mere 40kms, aint it ?

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@rjstyles69; brillant pictures there, (just that it dint need any borders my thought)

Cheers
Thanks raj, the borders were added while uploading to flickr and they had this subtle looking white page.
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Old 24th July 2010, 11:24   #41
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Very Good Pictures and good narration. I had been to Tranquebar once on my way to Velankanni. It is a good, calm place. It is very sunny out there, but evenings would be pleasant to enjoy.

Though I did not stay in tranquebar, I wished i stayed at that Bangalow. Very appealing from outside. Will plan for another trip soon, with a stay.
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Old 24th July 2010, 18:07   #42
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Default Day 2 continued...

Day 2 continued...

Drive to Puducherry (Pondicherry), and 1st day at Pondy.

I had planned to leave Tranquebar at 11am and on the dot at 11am we were ready to leave. Opened all the doors to air out the car and the luggage was loaded.

Pic1 Ready to leave, but...

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-damu-tranquebar-july-2010.jpg

This is when I checked the tyres and saw the left front tyre flat. Looking closely I saw the cut in the sidewall. I didn't see any point in repairing this and decided to buy a new tyre and tube in Pondy. My spare was a brand new one, bought just a few months ago, never used. So it made sense to buy another new tyre/tube set and have a matched pair.

The hotel staff were helpful and a helper at the hotel did the changing for me. He hesitated to accept a tip but I thought it was fair enough to offer him so I gave him the tip, and he was mighty pleased. (I was reluctant to do the work myself - it was very hot! ).

Wheel changed and we were on our way.

Leaving the Danish Port we came to the imposing entrance archway. Well, it would have been imposing had it been better maintained. I can't think why the Government did not include this under the Archaelogy Department's charge. As it is now, it is a disgrace, no other word can describe this utterly callous neglect of a historical treasure.

The Danish Port is like a small walled settlement or colony, but the wall has long since gone. (You can see part of the wall in the map of 1730 in my previous post).

Pic 2 - My Ikon says goodbye to Tranquebar. Sorry folks, I can't resist including my mistress in every picture (Or wife, if she's around!).

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-damu-tranquebar-july-20101.jpg


Pic 3 - The archway (Gateway to the Danish Port). Built in 1792 AD, doesn't it deserve a better deal? (BTW, we looking at this from the inside)

Bangalore Tranquebar - Weekend getaway.-damu-tranquebar-july-20102.jpg



On to the highway and we turned towards Sirkazhi (or Sirkali), 28 kms away. The road was good for about 13 or 14 kms, then started the bad road that had ripped my tyre.

"Forewarned is forearmed", the saying goes, and it's very true. The first time the bad road had come totally unexpected and had caught me off-guard, but this time I was expecting the bad road and so I was prepared for it. Nevertheless, I was very uncomfortably aware of the fact that I now had no spare. So I drove with care and tried to go behind a bus whenever possible as then I wouldn't be forced to go off the road.

Today being Sunday I guess, was much better as there was less traffic and the 15kms was covered with much less excursions off the road.

A little digression, a point I want to share here:

Truck drivers here are exemplary. They watch their mirrors and when a few vehicles are lined up behind them, at the first opportunity they pull over off the road, come to a stop, and allow all the vehicles behind to pass them at one go. I really appreciate that. I noticed this both the times.

Okay diversion over, back to main road!

Entering Sirkali, my wife reminded me about the cane furniture she had pointed out on Saturday. We pulled up at a place where there were many cane shops. Not even five minutes later Ma'am was back in the car. "Drive on" she said, "these are priced too high". Anyway what she wanted was just small decorative item so she didn't bargain.

After Sirkali the road was again excellent but we were in no hurry whatsoever, without any timetable to keep. We were in fact a day ahead of schedule! So at a comfortable pace we reached Chidambaram. Don't think at any time this journey to Pondy we exceeded 80 kph. We just had a comfortable, relaxed drive.

This time approaching Chidambaram I looked for the bye pass. The board was a temporary signboard as the bye pass is not officially opened yet. I took the bye pass. A short distance is yet to be done, the rest was easy and quite soon we were out of Chidambaram the other side.

Again a good road from here to Cuddalore. Entering Cuddalore I thought of the previous day's drive when it was difficult to pass the bikers. So I suggested we stop here for lunch and my wife agreed. I turned to the bus stand and sure enough there was one of the "bhavans" and we had a top class piping hot veg meal - the Tamil "saapaad". Though I enjoy non-veg, I love these veg "saapaads", "ootas", and "bhojanums"!

On our way again and I stopped outside the town for a pit stop and a puff. My wife said she'd drive, so she was now at the wheel. Good road, and again, probably because it was Sunday, not much traffic and we made Pondy in easy pace.

Guess we've been lucky this trip, and we entered Pondy through what we thought was the wrong road (not leading to the JIPMER signal). We stopped and I went to an ATM which was half shut and asked the guard for directions to our hotel, the Hotel Du Parc, on Jawaharlal Nehru Street (Rue Dupleix). The guard was mighty pleased to help. Turned out we were actually on the right road, and he gave me absolutely precise and perfect directions. In no time we were at our hotel. Just next to our hotel there were several pavement stalls set up. My wife nearly leapt out of the car in excitement - a pavement sale of cottons! (Every married man here will know what I mean ).

(I've stayed here at Du Parc before but haven't seen these pavement stalls on this road, they are usually on Mission Street (Rue du Cathedral, I think). Later I learned that this is an official tourist attraction and held only on Sundays on Rue Dupleix).

Right next to the stalls is Du Parc and my wife parked the car and ran away to the market leaving me to do the formalities. I checked in and then realised I had to go out as well as I had run out of cash. (Neemrana's credit card machine was kaput and I had had to pay the bill in cash).

Found my wife and we searched for an ATM. The ATM we found didn't accept my wife's card. Walked on further and my wife asked a couple of youngsters. They were very helpful, they too were on the way to an ATM and very kindly took us along. From here my wife ran away again leaving me aground somewhere on Mission Street. Well, I had bought a most useful cargo trousers (it's very light weight so I wear this for long distance driving) here couple of years ago and decided I'd look around for another. On the way I found a music shop and got a couple of A R Rahman CD's that I had wanted for a long time. Very obliging guy, next visit to Pondy I will go that shop again.

Walked on further on Mission Street to look for the clothes, and at this point I regretted not bringing my camera. There were so many sights worth clicking.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I got my pair of cargoes although at a much higher price than before. Also some cotton shirts. (All for our travelling).

After some searching I found my lady in the melee, and she was hot, tired, and blissfully happy. Nothing pleases a woman more than bargain shopping! All married men will agree with me I'm sure!

Back to the hotel, took a rest and at 7.30 pm we walked off towards Bharathi Park area for dinner. This is the "French Quarter", a very pleasant area, and the Raj Bhavan is also here.

Around here are many good restaurants, especially for Continental. 'Rendezvous' is of course famous, but there are others as well and almost every street in this area has a good restaurant. But stick to the local specialities: European or Tamil. This is Pondicherry, a unique Tamil-French culture, be adventurous! My wife and I like experimenting and we learn something each time. She almost always gets good European veg food. Don't think we've ever been disappointed in food here.

If you're in this part of town, park your car somewhere down JN Street (Rue Dupleix) or side roads, and walk everywhere, it's worth it. Best way to absorb the local flavour and also to find good restaurants. This time we found a new Italian restaurant on Mission Street, but we couldn't try it.

All the streets here are laid out in squares, so you can't get lost.

Anyway, this time we had already pre-decided on Promenade which is owned by the HiDesign group. They have a nice terrace overlooking the beach, and that's where we were headed. The ambience was of course very good, but the food didn't match. Quite ordinary. Rendezvous would have been better or we should have gone to the new Italian restaurant.

Took a long leisurely walk back to the hotel. Tonight was the BIG NIGHT - the FIFA world cup final! My wife watched film awards and I waited for my turn. We both sat up for the match. As I work for a Dutch company we very loyally rooted for the Netherlands! Tough luck, Oranje!

That was end of Day 2.

Tomorrow I'll post the last installment, Day 3, return to Bangalore...
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Old 24th July 2010, 19:00   #43
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Originally Posted by raj.barcode View Post
Absolutely wonderful, didn't even know such place existed Thanks Damu
Thanks for the comments Raj!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sami316 View Post
Nice pics Damu Sir, I hadnt heard about this place before, so, thanks for introducing this here. Really has an old world charm this place.
Thanks Sami! Glad this T/L has been useful.

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Wonderful pics Damu. People learning Tamil as second language will know more about places like Tharangambadi. Not only do lessons cover about a bit of history of these places as flourishing ports,
Thanks MX6! I guess you're right about the local languages.


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Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
Damu, thanks for a wonderful travelogue, and some nice pics in there! Adding this to my ever-growing list of places to visit.
Thanks Ben. We are finding time now as our children have become adults!


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Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
How does it matter ?
It doesn't, that was what I was saying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsajjanraj View Post
Very Good Pictures and good narration. I had been to Tranquebar once on my way to Velankanni. It is a good, calm place. It is very sunny out there, but evenings would be pleasant to enjoy.
Though I did not stay in tranquebar, I wished i stayed at that Bangalow. Very appealing from outside. Will plan for another trip soon, with a stay.
Thanks Sajjan! You're right, it was very sunny but the evenings were very comfortable as there was a strong breeze. We did enjoy the bungalow very much.
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Old 26th July 2010, 14:48   #44
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Default Yercaud it is

Thank you so much for a very descriptive and mouth watering description. Its not the place you visit-its the Comapny. Secondly I rather visit a new place everytime-I have been to Ooty thrice before-love to go to Yercaud-thank you for the temptation
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Old 26th July 2010, 17:08   #45
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Damu, nice informations. I myself have the previledge of coming often to Tranquebar, as my in laws are settled there not very far from where you stayed. Some information from my Fil and wifey. The beach during his times were farther away, i.e almost 100m from the current area. Back then there were also couple of more fort walls,a port road etc. At times during the high tides you would find old coins in the sands of the beach, my wife had a collection of these which she gave to a friend, most of these coins were from the period of the danes.

You see the entrance gates there is an old door, till around 4 decades back( during my FIL's teen), the doors used to be closed in the nights ( after 8 Pm)and no one was allowed to pass through...now it remains full time open.

Fact, the Ozone richness of this beach is second ranked in the world, and believe me a couple of days spent there you would soon feel rejenuvated. My next trip is aldread planned in the month of September.

Damu, please feel free to spent more time on the beach even during the night as it is really very safe...hardly anyone is there after 10Pm, i mostly go out after this time, except during high tides and when the beach is rough

Last edited by Majic : 26th July 2010 at 17:15.
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