Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dansborg Fort - Tranquebar

The Dansborg Fort was built in 1620 AD in Tranquebar or Tharangambadi, the Land of the Singing Waves. It is supposed to be the second largest Danish fort after Kronberg (in Denmark and the inspiration for Shakespeare's castle in Hamlet). The fort has an impressive facade and overlooks the Bay of Bengal. It is remarkably well preserved, probably due to restoration work done to it in 2002 and 2011. 

Overlooking the Bay of Bengal

The fort was constructed mainly as a military base keeping in mind accomodation, kitchens, granaries, stables, freshwater wells, armoury and even a jail. It also has a set of rooms on the first floor which were used as the Governor's residence and also included administrative offices, a rectory, a church and guard rooms. The Governor later moved home to a larger, smarter bungalow located opposite the fort. Today, one portion of the fort's upper storey houses a museum with some interesting artefacts from those times. 

Artefacts in the museum

Various sections on the ground floor

There is also a tunnel which has partially collapsed and is not usable anymore. According to the official version it supposedly leads from the inside of the fort to the Uppannar river about 300m away. It was possibly meant to be a quick getaway incase the fort was taken over by hostile forces. But local tales say the tunnel leads all the way to Tanjavur, about a 100Kms away. :) The authorities have blocked the way due to the fear of further cave-ins and resident snakes and other creatures. 

The fort is not as large or embellished as some of the Mughal or Rajput ones scattered across India. But it is impressive and reassuring in its solidity. Having survived the last 400 years including the 2004 tsunami, the Dansborg Fort continues to look out across the Bay of Bengal while keeping a watch over the town. 

Another relic preserved from the past

Note: From what I can remember, the fort is open to the public from 10AM to 5PM on all days except Friday.


  1. Where is this fort located exactly? Impressive!

  2. Renuka, it's in Tranquebar/ Tharangambadi about 300 Kms from Chennai. Further south from Pondicherry - 120 Kms or so.