Tuticorin and further South

Trip Start Nov 29, 2013
Trip End Jan 09, 2014

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Where I stayed
Estuari Island Resort

Flag of India  , Tamil Nādu,
Wednesday, December 25, 2013

From Tranquebar to Tuticorin is not that far. We visit the former Dutch church there, now the Holy Trinity Church. It lies on the Beach Road near the harbour that can’t be see from here. According to the black identification board that is readable from the road it is “Dutch Architecture, built by the Dutch in 1750”. Above the front door is the VOC monogram and the
year in Roman numbers.

Inside the church is the tombstone of Henricus Volraad Von Sohnsten, the last Dutch resident from German origin on this coast. He was born in Ceylon in 1754. He passed away in Tuticorin in 1824, a few months before the transfer of Dutch possessions in India to the British.

On his tombstone is a poem in Dutch:

“Hoe zeer gij werd bemind, hoe diet geschat voorheen.

Hoe hoog was uw eer uit uwe deugd is opgerezen.

Niets blijft u ovrig dan een hoopje stofs alleen.

Dit is alles wat gij zijt! En allen zullen wezen’.

It boils down to how high and valued a person may have been everyone in the end will leave behind a little heap of dust only.

Von Sohnsten was apparently member of the Freemason Societyas his tombstone carries freemason symbols.

The watchman of the church explains to the driver how to find the Ducth cemetery not too far behind the old Dutch church. We find a large sort of inner court where young boys play cricket with a lot of yelling between them. The guy who is most drunk approached us and guides us to a dark corner. I see five old Dutch tombstones laying haphazardly. There is nothing on them anymore.

Bauke van der Pol has a British Library picture in his book of the  Dutch cemetery at the end of the 19th century, where the pyramid grave of Von Sohnsten rises high above other graves. He also quotes Mr Barendsen, the former honorary consul of the Netherlands in Calcutta. In the 1960s he made a lot of work of documenting the Dutch heritage in India. It is good to see that here and there his work is paying off.

Wind mills all over

The drive from Tuticorin shows us varied landscapes and occasional low mountain ranges. Some 40 kilometres away from Kanyakumari we start seeing wind mills, thousands of them, kilometre after kilometre. It is a weird sight. Winds from the Arabaian Sea gusts through mountain passes. The windmills tower over palm trees, bur both swing and make noise. 

All these windmills contribute to a hugh electricity project. According to a local web site the centre is based in a small settlement Aralvaimozhi north of Kanayakumari. Aralvaimozhi possess the largest wind farms in the world. These wind farms generate about 450 MW of electricity. 

First walks in Kanyakumari

After arrival in Kanyakumari we do a first walk to the beach in the late afternoon. We first see the famous Our Lady of Ransom Church, which attracts thousands of devotees from far and near. We continue to the harbour where colourful fishermen's boats are lined up andwhere many Indian tourist stroll and enjoy the late afternoon breeze.

Then we see the two monuments in the sea; the 133-feet sculpture of the Tamil poet Tirruvalluvar and the Vivekenanda Rock memorial. Later we find out that they vary in colour
at different times of the day, and they are partly lighted at night. When we look out of our hotel window we can't escape them.

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