Danish Fort Dansborg of 17th Century at Tharangambadi Coast – Part 1

by OldSailor on July 22, 2008


Danish Fort Dansborg at Tharangambadi in India is a live example to demonstrate use of sea lanes for world trade during the 17th century. Tharangambadi at Tamil Nadu coast is also popularly known as Trankebar or Tranquebar in Danish. Tharangambadi a busy port of 17th century is no more a port now and only fishing activity is now going on.

Some of the interesting features of Fort Dansborg are:

  • The Fort Dansborg was built by Ove Gjedde, Commander of the Royal Danish Navy in 1620 when he was 26 years old.
  • The Fort was built on the orders from Danish King Chrisitan IV of Denmark and Norway.
  • A treaty was signed on November 20, 1620 between the King Raghunatha Nayak of Thanjavur and the King of Denmark, by which the Danes were given permission to build a Fort at Tarangambadi (Tranquebar) for trading.
  • The Fort faces Bay of Bengal and the sea is just 200 metres from the Fort.
  • The Fort has two levels:
    • the lower level was used to accommodate soldiers and horses, to store material used for trading and was also used as prison.
    • the upper level was used as residence for the governor and priests.
  • Now a museum is at the upper level to exhibit Danish era at Tharangambadi.
  • Visitor timings – 1000 hrs to 1745 hrs except Friday.
  • Located at Tharangambadi – easily accessible by road. Nearest Railway station is Mayiladuthurai at 40 km. Nearest airport is Chennai/Trichy.
  • Accommodation: is available at The Bungalow on the Beach, just 300 metres from the Fort.

Here are some photographs of Fort Dansborg.

The entrance for the visitors to the Fort.


View of the Fort from the beach.


A signboard about the Fort.

Fort_Dansborg_6 Fort_Dansborg_12

A sign board at the museum at the upper level of the Fort.


Inscription on the Fort about Commander of the Royal Danish Navy.



Tharangambadi beach view from the Fort.


The storage space for trading material.


Entry to the prison, view of the fort




The museum and other places of interest at Tharangambadi will be covered in Part 2.

Update: September 20

More photographs are available at Flickr.

Update: September 26

The Union Tourism Ministry has sanctioned Rs.373.08 lakh in assistance for developing Tranquebar (Tarangambadi) in Nagapattinam district as a major tourist destination. Read more from The Hindu.

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