Asian Tsunami Imagery
Tarangambadi, Tamil Nadu
Latitude 11.03 Longitude 79.85
Half an hour's drive from the temple town of Chidambaram lies Tranquebar, a tiny fishing hamlet in Nagapattinam Quaid-e-Milleth district. It is known as Tarangambadi, 'the place of the singing waves'.
Towns in Kanyakumari District were reeling from the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami. Rescue workers in Tarangambadi struggled with removal of dead bodies that were stuck in various ackward places. The removal of dead bodies from the debris and other locations is not easy, and soldiers or para military forces needed to be deployed to do this, since local volunteers were unsuited for the work. Food and clothings were not a problem Tarangambadi, since this being taken care by local Rotary and Lions clubs and individual philanthrophists.
Tranquebar, located at the delta of the Kaveri River was established as a colony by the Danish East India Company in 1620. Originally the small fishing village and trading post of Tarangambadi, it was renamed 'Tranquebar' or 'Trankebar' in Danish. Tarangambadi, about 275 km from Chennai, was chosen by the Danes to expand trade in the 17th century. The Dansborg fort was built by Ore Gedde, the commander of the Royal Dutch Navy, in the 17th century. The fort constructed in 1620 with two storeys was the most important building which housed the top echelons of the Danish officials.
Apart from the ramparts, the rest of the buildings are in good condition. Efforts are on to restore all the monuments to their old glory and plans are afoot to develop Tarangambadi into a modern tourist center. The historic Fort Dansborg at Tarangambadi, a relic of the Danish era in India, is back in the limelight with the initial phase of restoration work nearing completion. Constructed nearly four centuries ago, the monument which served as the residence of Danish Governors for 150 years, has been in ruins, because of age, weathering and apathy on the part of the administration.
About 40 km from Chidambaram at Tarangambadi lies the 200-year-old Gate, a monument of historical and architectural interest. The Gate is located in such a way that the people living here have to pass through it on their way in and out of town. Renowned for its Nataraja Temple, the small municipal town of Chidambaram is situated at a distance of two hundred and thirty-five kilometres south of Chennai, on the Chennai-Thanjavur National highway. One of the holiest cities in India, Chidambaram is visited by thousands of Shaivite and Vaishnavite pilgrims who flock to the sacred Nataraja temple every year.
Kanniyakumari district once known as the granary of Travancore lies at the south-western part of Indian peninsula. It was in Travancore for a long time and then merged with Tamil Nadu in 1956 under the State Linguistic Reorganisation Act. It is famous for its vast green stretches of paddy fields, rich forests, coconut groves and mineral sands. The district has many beautiful spots, besides Cape-Comorin, the southern-most tip of the sub- continent where two seas and an ocean mark the Land's end. The district has been named after the Goddess Kanniyakumari Amman who is the popular deity of the area.
Though Kanniyakumari is the smallest district in Tamil Nadu, it has a number of places of Tourist importance. By its very location Kanniyakumari occupies a unique place among the tourist centres of India. It is the land's end of the Indian Peninsula, where waters of the Arabian sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet. It is one of the important pilgrim centres of India. A fine beach landscape with sands of myriad colour is another interesting aspect of Kanniyakumari. From the beautiful beach one can simultaneously see the glorious sight of the moon rising up on the east and the sun setting on the west on a full-moon day.
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