Tsunami-hit Tarangambadi is most searched travel destination

Tsunami-hit Tarangambadi is most searched travel destination

Tsunami-hit Tarangambadi is most searched travel destination

Nine years after the picturesque coastal town of Tharangambadi was battered by tsunami, which claimed more than 700 lives, the town has undergone a total transformation and emerged among the most searched travel destinations on the Internet.

Software major Yahoo India recently published 'Year in Review,' its annual report on Internet search trends based on analysis of millions of searches by users in India in its search engine.

The report revealed that Tharangambadi, also called Tranquebar, is one of the most searched travel destinations in India after Rajasthan's Jaisalmer and Wayanad in Kerala.

"Yahoo's annual report reflects Tarangambadi's growing popularity as a popular heritage travel destination. The town has great tourism potential and if properly tapped,it will emerge as the Goa of Tamil Nadu," says Prof Maria Lazar, former Head of Department of Commerce, TBML College, Porayar who has done extensive research on heritage structures at Tharangambadi.

In the 17th Century, Tharangambadi became Denmark's chief overseas settlement. They built a fort, churches, bungalows for Danish Governors, Guest Houses and the King and Queen Streets, all near the seashore. With all these monuments and ozone rich clean beach, the coastal town is now fast emerging as one of the preferred destinations on heritage tourism map.

In addition to native visitors, a large number of foreign tourists, mostly from the Scandinavian countries, visit the town every day.

Most tourism development activities in Tharangambadi were in the post-tsunami era. Until a decade ago many Danish relics were in a dilapidated condition due to neglect.

 Pained to see the poor state of the monuments erected by their forefathers, a voluntary outfit called 'Danish Tranquebar Association', comprising prominent citizens in Denmark came forward to renovate the monuments in 2002.

After the tsunami attack, their activities gained momentum and with the support of the Denmark Government, Tamil Nadu Government and other organisations, helped renovate many monuments in Tarangambadi and succeeded in restoring the glory of the town. 

The majestic 'Dansborg' Fort, built in 1620 AD and renovated recently serves as a major tourism attraction here.

Situated right at the sea-front, barely about 100 metres away from the sea, this fort faced the tsunami attack head-on. A granite yard has now been constructed around the fort, which serves as leisure walking space for the tourists.

In addition, the 230-year-old Danish Governor Bungalow, another marvellous heritage structure in front the Dansborg fort has also been renovated in 2011. Built in 1784 as per the Scandinavian architectural style, this bungalow served as the official residence of 34 successive Danish Governors.

Apart from the 'Dansborg', foreign tourists love Tharangambadi for its 'Ozone Rich' beach. Research reports by the Department of Chemistry, TBML College, Porayar, state that Tarangambadi ranks very high among the few places in the world that have a high dose of Ozone content in the breeze, which has a rejuvenating effect on health. Every year between October to March, Ozone in the breeze remains high here.

A maritime museum established by the Danish Tranquebar Association also attracts tourists. Asia's first Protestant Church, the 'New Jerusalem' church built in AD 1718 is a great piece of architecture at Tarangambadi. The church is under the control of TELC.

The Neemrana Group of Hotels has converted a historic beach view bungalow as a heritage hotel at Tarangambadi. The rooms are fully occupied by foreign tourists. Being the only starred Hotel in Nagapattinam district, the 'Bungalow on the Beach' attracts all VVIPs visiting the district.

For native tourists, facilities at Tharangambadi are rather poor. "Even basic amenities like toilets, drinking water and other facilities are lacking. Low-cost board and lodging facilities, shopping complex, beach parks, amusement parks for children, beach resorts, boat house and similar facilities, if provided by the Government, would certainly give a fillip to tourism activities," says M A Sultan, a Tharangambadi-based historian.