Danish Governor's House, Tharangambadi, TN - How restoration was done?

unused Danish Governor's house, Tharangambadi indiatimes.com

damaged Danish Governor's house, Tharangambadi,en.natmus.dk

Governor's house in ruins.Tharangambadi,en.natmus.dk

Governor's  house Tharangambadi,en.natmus.dk

Above image: Governor’s  residence(built in 1784), Tharangambadi, Nagapatnam dist, Tamil Nadu; ruined inner court yard...............

In the historical Danish settlement, the oldest one in this part and the first one in India at Tharangambadi in Nagapatinam district of Tamil Nadu, the fort,  churches, Governor's residence etc  were in poor state in the early 2000s. Poor maintenance and vagaries' of weather and climate changes accelerated the damages and rendered them weak.  The settlement was started by the Dutch India company in 1620 on the coastal area under the rule of Nayak king of Thanjavur.  By 1660, the Dutch company was doing a flourishing business. In order to take care of the trading  station and its  activities, and to keep abreast of the its growth the Dutch government appointed a governor and  bought a house across the fort. Later it was refurbished  and  converted into an official residence of the governor.

Danish fort  Tharangambadi blog.railyatri.in

By  2004, having been disuse for decades with no periodic repairs tthe Danish era  Governor’s Residence was in a dilapidated condition; the building faced further damages because of its proximity to the sea, age and  powerful monsoons. 

listening to the woes of the heritage lovers and the scope for developing into a heritage tourism site at Tharangambadi,  the Tamil Nadu State Department of Tourism  along with other groups embarked on a project to repair and conserve the heritage site- a unique townscape of Tranquebar, once part of a fortified Dutch settlement.   Thorough restoration of the former Governor’s Residence and other places would serve a dual purpose - promotion of tourism and conservation of  this  once-a -small Danish conclave for the posterity.  plans were afoot to have  a Cultural Centre in Tranquebar that would be open to the general public.

Governor's house, Tranquebar, India.press.uchicago.edu

It was in 2009 the tedious job of restoration work had begun in earnest  and at that point of time damages were writ all over the place.  The house was literally in a shambles,  facing slow death. Thick  growth of vegetation, wild weeds, bushes and plants near the walls promoted root wedging making walls structurally weak. in the absence of periodic cleaning of the plant over growth around the structure, etc.,  part of the already damaged tiled  slanting roof on the first floor caved in.  Indian experts, successfully completed the project after several deliberations and research. Giving priority to the history of this place and old contraction technique, conservation was done with meticulous care using matching  constriction materials  as used in the past era in 1620-22.The restoration of the rest of the fort was taken over by the ASI.   The Tranquebar Initiative of the National Museum of Denmark in a consulting role was responsible for the procurement of information on the historical background of the building.

Tharangambadi, Danish colony, TN.en.natmus.dk

Above image: Danes constitute a large part of the international tourists in Tranquebar. Here a group of Danish tourists admire the Town Gate. Photo: Helle Jørgensen, 2008. National Museum of Denmark. During the Danish era in  the late 18th and early 19th centuries,  the Europeans preferred  western  furnishing and decoration of their homes  in Tranquebar. Upholstered sofas, card tables, mirrors, etc  would have made them feel at home far away in a hot tropical country....... 

The conservationists  from INTACH  the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage  toiled and sifted the information from Danish archives to get a handle on the  architectural history of the building to come up with correct restoration work matching the old house as in the records.  Thanks to a large private donation to The Tranquebar Initiative of the National Museum of Denmark, the building was thoroughly restored in 2011 and ready to house the planned Cultural Centre in Tranquebar run by Indian authorities.

With respect to restoration of this Danish  settlement that was languishing in obscurity  for more than 150 years  we have to remember with gratitude  the initiative first taken by one Mrs.  Karin Kundsen  and her husband Viggo way back in the past in 1989. On her visit to this place  in that year, it dawned on her to get the derelict  run-down old Danish colony  out of darkness and showcase it under the limelight.  They started   the Tranquebar Association in Denmark  and  raised funds through  a private company and the Denmark National museum.  They, after some research,  worked along with INTACH  engineers. Besides restoring the Governor's house, they also undertook the repair of furniture, stained glass windows in the local churches there. This amazing little Danish  colony was resurrected from obscurity by collective efforts kick-started by Mrs. Kurin   Kundsen.

Governor's house, Tharangambadi, TN medium.com
Above image: Restored Governor's house with ground and first floors., Danish settlement, Thrangambadi, Tamil Nadu. Interior hall.  Wooden stairway to the first floor........... 

Restored Danish Gov. Bungalow Tharangambadi upload.wikimedia.org

Restore Governor's house, Inauguration, Tharagambadi. en.natmus.dk

On November 12th 2011, the inauguration of the restored Governor’s Residence was celebrated by the Tamil Nadu State Department of Tourism.  Photo: Esther Fihl, 2011. National Museum of Denmark.
Governor Bungalow at Sathangudi village in Tharangambadi taluk would be brought under the Tamil Nadu Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and remains Act of 1966 as it requires protection.(Govt. GO dated 27 Nov. 2019) ..........