A visit to Tamil Nadu is a pleasure, given the many monumental and historic temples here. But here is a little place of Danish heritage called Tranquebar that rests in stark contrast to the other important places of the state. To describe Tranquebar in a few words is difficult. This sleepy little place with roads with English names is the home to the only Danish Fort (Dansborb) in India. Thanks to Bartholomew Ziegenbalg, the first German missionary to India, this is where the first Tamil dictionary was introduced. His statue stands tall in Tranquebar with many ‘firsts’ to his name. Two centuries of Danish heritage has left important cultural and architectural imprints: colonial houses, churches, cemeteries and the Dansborg military fort.
If you like ruins of the Portuguese era, travel to the Anjidiv Islands near Devbagh in Karwar district of Karnataka, which Vasco da Gama visited in 1498. The island is a bone of contention between the Indian Navy, Christians and Hindus as the navy has banned people from entering for security reasons. Hindus used to hold a ‘Jathra’ of Goddess Anji Devi while Christians would celebrate an annual festival at the Roman Catholic church. Tucked away between Karnataka and Goa, this island is a beautiful example of the bygone era.