Monday, 8 August 2011

Tharangambadi (Tranquebar) and Karaikal: Bike trip

Tharangambadi is a sleepy little coastal settlement in Tamil Nadu (Nagapattinam\district to be more specific). It has an interesting history of being a Danish Colony sometime between the 1600's t the 1800's. There are also a few buildings which remain as memories of what the place could and would have been some 500 years ago - a fort (Fort Dansborg) , a steeple, an entry to the fort which was built by the Danes during their period.

The beach front is quite spectacular and the beach is reputed to be a Ozone beach. The board put up on the beach says that its scientifically proven that there is more ozone on this beach than on average and it has unique properties to reduce ones stress levels. There are rocks which are piled up over which people can walk some 500 metres into the beach and see the waves getting splashed on the rocks. A few fort walls remain very close to the beach front which gives us a glimpse into the vestiges of what the entire fort structure would have been earlier.

The museum holds decent artefacts and also houses the mangled remains of a whale skeleton. The museum also provides a history of the town and a list of names of all the Danes  who manned the fort. It also has an exhaustive list of which ships landed at the port of entry. A pretty decent affair. 

The place is very small - there isnt much to the place apart from the beach which makes it all the more impressive - just sack out on the beach and contemplate about the myriad aspects of Mother Nature. It has a little over 20k people, according to the 2001 census, and is quite small compared to most other beach towns. 

Neemrana group and Hotel TamilNadu offer lodging at their own respective rates - Neemrana costs a bomb. Both of them claim to be a non-hotel hotel which makes one curious about what they exactly mean. Neemrana has a beach front property and I reckon the views of the ocean in the night would be something worth ones while. The buggers dont serve beer to people who arent residents which is quite bizarre if one comes to think of it.

The roads are bad though - never did I imagine that the roads were probably built during the Danish time of settlement too (Not entirely true but the state of roads from Pondy to Tharangambadi does leave quite a bit to be desired)

Overall, a great beach - lovely views of the ocean and a good walk on the beach sands on both the ends and a lovely fort to boot. An eventful trip save for the roads.

Karaikal also has decent rooms / stay options if Tharangambadi is filled up or doesnt  suit ones budget. Karaikal has a decent beach and is probably the only beach that I can remember of in the recent times where one can ACTUALLY find sea shells on the beach... which is quite fitting and amazing considering the state of affairs in Marina and Elliots. I find more plastic and dirty items there than I can find shells. Karaikal also has a very big walkway of rocks which leads one some 1.1-1.3kms into the beach which makes it all the more interesting and thrilling. Its quite normal and common to see crabs, scorpions and a few land/sea animals frequent these rocks.

Update: There is a bypass from Chidambaram to Karaikal which is a better road to choose rather than driving into Chidambaram. The roads leading into Chidambaram are quite decrepit and worth giving a pass.