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Get a whiff of the past

February 09, 2017 03:31 IST

Nagapattinam (TN), Feb 7 (PTI) The 337-year-old heritage building near the seashore at Tarangambadi in the district, which once served as the official residence of Danish military commanders, has been renovated and converted into a Danish-Indian cultural centre and archaeological museum.

Danish Tranquebar Association, a voluntary organisation in Denmark comprising prominent Danish citizens, which has undertaken a project to renovate ancient Danish monuments at Tarangambadi, has established the cultural centre.

Speaking to PTI at Tarangambadi after inaugurating the cultural centre today, Karin Knudsen, president of Danish Tranquebar Association, said the Commander's bungalow was renovated with financial support offered y the Queen of Denmark and East Asiatic Company Fund.

Karin said the bungalow was built in 1680 and served as the official residence of successive Danish military commanders before becoming a private property in 1750. In 1900, it became the property of Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church (TELC).

"The bungalow is so big that it has served as a hospital during the early 1900s," she said. Until recent decades, the Tarangambadi Teacher's Training Institute was functioning in the building and it fell into disuse thereafter.

Danish Tranquebar Association entered into an agreement with TELC last year to renovate the bungalow and establish the cultural centre, Karin said.

The bungalow has now been completely renovated without affecting its original structure, Prof. Helsch, member of the Danish Tranquebar Association, said.

The Tranquebar Maritime Museum and the Queen's Library, which were functioning in nearby buildings have now been shifted to the cultural centre.

Poul Petersen, vice-president of the association, said the cultural centre will periodically host exhibitions, cultural events, lectures and other events to preserve the cultural ties between Denmark and India.

Thirty students from various schools and colleges in Denmark have arrived at Tarangambadi to participate in the inaugural ceremony of the cultural centre and understand Indian culture, he said.

More than 500 students from nearby schools visited the centre and interacted with the Danish students, Petersen said.

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