Tranquebar aka Tharangambadi - Part II (Nagapattinam - Tamil Nadu)

Continuing with the Danish Heritage of Tranquebar from the last post. Soon after Zeigenbalg and Pl├╝tschau landed, they began propagating their religion.


In 1707 the Jerusalem Church was built which proved to be too small. So in 1718, the New Jerusalem Church was built – the still standing, first ever protestant Lutheran church of India (not to be confused with first ever church in India. Christianity came to India with Apostle St.Thomas and the earliest church of Kerala is of 52CE). 


Ziegenbalg then proceeded to learn the local language of Tamil and translated Bible to Tamil. He also founded the first ever printing press in India and printed the Tamil Bible! He also continued to translate some Tamil books to German! He died in 1719 and was buried here! His tombstone is here as well. 

Just opposite to the New Jerusalem Church is the Zeigenbalg spiritual centre where the writing table, pen etc used by him are preserved. They can also be seen upon request at the church! Behind this is another Danish building Gruendler’s House which is now being used as a boys’ hostel.

Though there are a lot of burials within the church premises, behind the New Jerusalem Church is the large Old Danish Cemetery. Today the house he lived in is under restoration to be converted to a Museum and the little chapel beside it is also being restored. The printing press was continued to be used as a typewriting institute which has now fallen in disuse and is yet to be restored! 

The main King’s street has quite a few more Danish buildings incl the Ladies Hostel (which has been shifted and the building is in disuse) just opposite to Neemrana Gate House, Muhldorff’s House (which is now a private property) just beside Gate House.  

Beside the spiritual centre is the Van Theylingen’s House which is locally called Pillar House today (yeah, the reason is pretty evident). This is where the Dr.Van Theylingen lived and today this has been renovated by INTACH and then taken over by Best Seller. Next to this is the Rehling’s House which was used as the St.Theresa’s Teachers’ Training institute and now renovated and is under lock & key.   


In the Gold Smith street 5 such old buildings were renovated by INTACH and later taken over by Best Seller now. One of it is Thanga House which has been taken over by Neemrana and will be soon available to stay. At the end of this street is a 3D stone map of Tranquebar on the beach made by Best Seller Foundation!

To Get There:
All are walkable from Bungalow and the Beach, Neemrana HotelsRefer to my earlier post to reach the hotel.
Here’s the INTACH Map of all the important buildings of Tranquebar.

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

28 comments:

  1. We always make sure to visit religious buildings when we're exploring a new city. The Jerusalem Church sure has a story, and it's located in an area where there are so many interesting highlights! I love that you indicated an easy walking path, so you can just get there using public transport and walk around, knowing that there's so much to see!

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  2. For me, part of traveling is learning the history and culture of the location. Old buildings and architecture always make good photographic subjects. This is a wonderful write-up of this city.

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  3. I always wish I could know more about the history and buildings of the places we visit. You have inspired me to do more research when I travel! I love the rocky coastline here as well:)

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  4. Great research on the history of this place. It made for very interesting reading indeed. I just love it when a blogger can share history and significance of a place as this really adds an important dimension to places. That 3D stone map is quite incredible too!

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  5. I love to learn about the history and culture of a place when I'm traveling. This is a really interesting and informative post. You did a really good job of finding out so much of the history.

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  6. What an informative post! Religion is such a big part of culture. Looks like you found out a lot about the history and culture.

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  7. There's so much to the country that we don't know about. Loved the architecture and the quaintness of the region. We have so much history and culture in our country and yet people often overlook it, so it's essential to write more about it and educate people. Thanks

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  8. Love this beautiful place. Nice post, Bhushavali.

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  9. Beautiful architecture and buildings. I am neither a religious person nor heritage person but it always amazes me how mush historical wealth we have in India, specially Southern india. Thanks for introducing me to this unique place.

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  10. Love visiting places of worship when I travel. I have never been to this particular church and loved learning about its history. Would love to visit it when in the area.

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  11. What an interesting post! So much to learn! This looks like a beautiful place full of history. I'd like to visit it one day.

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  12. The buildings and architecture are impressive. I did not know about this part of India's history. The Danish heritage and influence is very much evident though. It's beautiful!

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  13. Wow it's so beautiful there. Looks like there's a lot of history to see. The buildings you captured are beautiful

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  14. I always visit religious place when I travel. I was not knowing about this New Jerusalem Church in Tamil Nadu. Thanks to your lovely post of which not many people are knowing. I liked Spiritual centre also as it is so peaceful.

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  15. I love reading your posts and learning more about the history of the Danish colonies in India! It's interesting to learn about the New Jerusalem Church as well. Your photos are great. It looks really beautiful there!

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  16. I've never been in a Jerusalem Church before. Interesting to compare and contrast the differences to a Catholic church!

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  17. There is so much history in India, with all the different countries which came and left their mark. It's especially interesting to read about the Danish history in India, I think it's the least written about (or photographed). It's interesting how some of the Danish buildings are in disuse and some, like Pillar House, are in use and also in wonderful condition. Well done in researching these Danish buildings and photographing them!

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  18. Blessed that these religious buildings are still standing proud. Now we have an opportunity to learn from it. Hope it will be maintain for many years and the cultures will never fades.

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  19. TRANQUEBAR seems so rich in history...such an important part of the Jewish heritage in India. Its a little part of the Danes in our very own India. Its like a little piece I saw similar architecture when I was at Fort Kochi as well...but that isnt Danish :-)

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  20. I have to be honest, I'm not great at learning about the history of a place before I visit it. But this post is full of so much knowledge it makes me want to make a point to learn more about the places I see! Love it

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  21. This seems like a lovely walking tour with enough to see an absorb. Like I mentioned, now I am gathering all the information for my next long weekend. :) Will be in touch.

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  22. Very nicely elaborated Bhushavali :)
    I haven't had the opportunity to explore TN yet (except for Chennai alone), though I have been in Bangalore for what, 7 years now... Looking forward to an opportunity of having you as a guide when I visit there for a longer duration :)

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  23. I can't wait to visit places like this! I absolutely love visiting holy and enchanting places like this!

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  24. I don’t know how should I give you thanks! I am totally stunned by your article. You saved my time. Thanks a million for sharing this article.

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  25. I wonder why did they name it The Jerusalem Church? Is there also some Israeli background in this place? Or is it just Biblical?

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  26. the old architectures are beautiful.. Jerusalem is definitely one of the places i want to visit if given the chance. Thank you for the insights.

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  27. What an interesting place. I find it a bit sad that so many of the buildings aren't used -- I hope they can get the printing press working again. Those have always fascinated me. You have to visit again when the museum is built and tell us what it's like!

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  28. The Danish architecture looks quite intriguing! I didn't about Ziegenbalg that he translated the Bible into Tamil.

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