Friday, February 3, 2017

Bungalow on the Beach, Tharangampadi, Nagapattinam

Bungalow on the Beach, Tharangampadi, Nagapattinam
The Bungalow on the Beach is an 18th century Danish colonial house which has belonged to the Governor of Danish India, who was styled Opperhoved, and after their exit in 1845, to the British administrator of the colony. Built in the 18th century, opposite the Fort Dansborg, by the Danish East India Company in what was once a pepper trading post of Tranquebar, now known as Tharangampadi, in Tamilnadu.

Tranquebar is a Danish term and came from the native Tamil word Tarangambadi, meaning 'place of the singing waves'. The bungalow was acquired by Neemrana Hotels in 2000, and after restoration was opened in 2004, the company also runs two more heritage hotels in the town, Gate House and Nayak House.

Founded in 1616, following a privilege of Danish King Christian IV, the Danish East India Company, set up its base in Tranquebar, in the fort Dansborg, which was the seat of its Governor of Danish India, styled Opperhoved. Here Ove Gjedde, a Danish admiral arrived in 1620. He was given territory by the Nayak ruler of Tanjore. The Danish then settled there so as to export pepper to Denmark. They remained there until 1845, when after suffering heavy losses, the colony of Tranquebar was sold to British Raj, and thereafter the house became the residence of the British administrator of the colony.

The bungalow was then sold to Rao Bahadur Vellia Nadar; who was a prominent distillery owner whose descendants lived in it for over 125 years. Rao Bahadur Vellia Nadar was the uncle of Rao Bahadur T. Rattinasami Nadar of Porayar (a nearby town) T. Rattinasami Nadar was famous for forming the Nadar Mahajana Sangam and the Tamil Nadu Mercantile Bank (formerly called The Nadar Bank). The house was referred to as "Nadar Veedu" and was sold during the 1990's to the Taj group.

In 2000, the Bungalow was bought by heritage hotel company, Neemrana Hotels, which after two years of extensive restoration, the hotel opened on Christmas Eve in 2004, though the next day, Indian Ocean tsunami seriously damage it, and another three months of restoration was required thereafter.

This place is a 17th century British Collector’s bungalow that faces the East Coast of India in the sleepy fishing town of Tranquebar or locally known as Tharangampadi. This 17th century heritage bungalow is now the property of Neemrana non-hotel Hotels, who manage it as a luxury resort. This hotel property is a 2 storied bungalow with a huge courtyard. Most of the courtyard is now beautifully landscaped gardens with a huge swimming pool to the east. 

Everything about this place oozes royalty starting with the name of the street ‘King’s Street’ where this Bungalow is located. The bungalow from inside resembles the architecture of the 17th century. It is entirely built with thick wood with some support from bricks. Even the beams and the pillars are built using this wood. The stairway through the centre of the bungalow, the porticos, the hallways, the high ceilings all look magnificent. 

All the rooms share a similar architecture. With the exception of the air-conditioner, the water system and the water heater, everything looks like antique material, but very rich and presentable. All the rooms in ‘Bungalow on the Beach’ are named after the Danish ships that were docked at the port of Tranquebar in the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. These names also help in bringing an air of charm within these rooms. The rooms on the ground floor do not have a beach view and hence come cheaper plus luxury tax.

The rooms that have a beach view are slightly larger and come with a higher price plus luxury tax. All rooms come with a verandah and a sit out. Breakfast for two people comes complimentary with the room. For food, there is an in-house kitchen that serves a reasonable number of French and Indian dishes. Food here tastes great, but if you need your food spicy, please inform before placing your order. Alcohol is not served at this place with the exception of wine, champagne and beer. 

Food prices are fairly reasonable. In terms of luxury, the place in itself feels royal. In addition, there is a swimming pool and a lovely green garden. For sightseeing, one can visit the 13th century Chola temple, the 17th century Dansborg Fort and Danish churches which are located nearby. In the mornings and the evenings, one can explore and enjoy the sandy Tranquebar beach and the city ruins. One can also use the ‘Bungalow on the Beach’ as a base to explore the historic and religious port town of Poompuhar and the temple district of Kumbakonam that are situated at most a couple of hours away. 

If you are the kind of person who loves an idling vacation, then this place provides the right amount of privacy and serenity. Neemrana, the hotel group that manages ‘Bungalow on the Beach’ also runs another property close by called ‘The Gateway’.

The Bungalow on the Beach,
24 King Street,
Tharangampadi – 609313,
Nagapattinam District
Phone: +91 – 4364 289036
Phone: +91 124 4666 166
Mobile: +91 9786100461
Bungalow on the Beach is located in Tharangampadi, located 283 kms (176 miles) from the state capital Chennai and 30 kms from Mayiladuthurai, in Nagapattinam District. Nearest Railway Station is located at Mayiladuthurai & Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.

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