The Danish fort, called, DANS BORG Castle is situated at Tranquebar village on the sea shore of the Bay of Bengal. The site is located at about 300 KM from Chennai. This fort was built in the year 1620 by the Danish. After independence, the state Public Works Department (PWI) was using it for inspection, then Tamil Nadu State Department of Archeology (TNSDA) took over the preservation of the monument in the year 1977 and it was established as a museum in 1979.
Many rehabilitation and conservation works are carried out from the year 2000. Mainly because of the location, the fort has been affected by cyclones, salty backwaters and also due to the moisture. It was also in constant use and disuse in the past due to these factors. The materials used to construct the monument were simple like local burnt clay, bricks and lime sand mortar with traditional technology prevailing 400 years before.
The major issues the monument faced were the falling of plaster, loss of joint mortor, dampness, dis-coloration, exposure of bricks to high salty moisture etc. There were also factors like rusting of rods, doors, windows. This resulted in the loss of structural stability causing loss in strength of roofs and pillars with severe cracks.
The monument was saved many times from intervention. On 2014, revamping was done by undertaking major conservation and restoration by strengthening the walls. It was also believed that the original floor level at basement has been increased by sand filling.
Basic intervention works were carried out during the rehabilitation process. The basement entrance was re-plastered and painting work were done. Doors and windows were changed with a moisture resisting one. The roofs were re-plastered with water proofing for the four dooms.
Only by timely intervention and rehabilitation works, the 400 year old monument was brought to life. It is now a museum maintained by TNDSA.
Courtesy: International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology (IJCIET)
By N. Rajesh, S. Suppiah and P. Purushothaman