About dijoh2o

My contacts with Dutch-Indian heritage started in 1988. Since that time I have travelled many times to India and Sri Lanka to visit heritage sites and talk with Indian people interested in this shared heritage.

Masulipatnam: Dutch cemetery being renovated 2020

I am very glad I made a change in my schedule. Rather than going to Pondicherry Xavier Benedict advised me to visit the Dutch fort and cemetery in Machilipatnam (Masulipatnam). The fort was started by the Dutch in the17th century. But the French and British took over later.

Great news for the Dutch-Indian shared heritage! The Dutch cemetery in Machilipatnam is being renovated. 20 tombstones 16 with Dutch tombstones tell interesting stories. Two building contractors are renovating the cemetery for the Archeological Department of Machilipatnam. They started one week ago to construct a walking path around the tombstones. They expected to finish this work in one month.
My English speaking driver Shahazan helped translating.


The oldest tomb was from 1610, a young boy. Other Dutch inscriptions have dates between 1660 and 1689.

Dutch cemetery Machilipatnam being renovated 2020

I am very glad I made a change in my schedule. Rather than going to Pondicherry Xavier Benedict advised me to visit the Dutch fort and cemetery in Machilipatnam (Masulipatnam). The fort was started by the Dutch in the17th century. But the French and British took over later

Great news for the Dutch-Indian shared heritage! The Dutch cemetery in Machilipatnam is being renovated. 20 tombstones 16 with Dutch tombstones tell interesting stories. Two guys receiving me are building contractors to renovate the center for the Archeological Department of Machilipatnam.

They started one week ago to construct a walking path around the tombstones. They expected to finish this work in one month. My English speaking driver Shahazan helped translating.

The oldest tomb was from 1610, a young boy. Other Dutch inscriptions have dates between 1660 and 1689.

Udayagiri Fort: De Lannoy’s tomb under renovation 2020

Fortunately there were clouds this morning on my way by car to De Lannoy’s tomb inside the Uduyagiri Fort. On an earlier trip in Tamil Nadu and Kerala our driver had missed out on this one.

Finding the tomb was not so easy. It is in Thuckalay, Padmanabhapuram, Tamil Nadu. We drove two hours and 20 minutes from Trivandrum. When we reached there a school bus with young children was being off loaded by their teachers. Entrance to the fort was 20 rupees only. A sign outside said this was a bio diversity and animal park of the Tamil Nadu State Department of Forestry.

For the tomb I was pointed to walk up the pathway om the right. There I noticed that on a platform labourers were doing some heavy stonework. I also noticed the sign to De Lannoy’s tomb on the ground. When I asked for the tomb they pointed me to continue on the pathway I started on. The road condition worsened, it was some five minute walk. And there it was, a big tomb that had been whitewashed completely. The bamboo skeleton used for that still around it. At least 20 workers busy painting, de-rusting the metal fences. The pathway had just been completed. I walked around and inside the tomb. On the tombstones I saw English texts from 1813. No trace of De Lannoy’s tomb.

De Lannoy’s tomb on Udayagiri Fort

The young guy who was around turned out to be under contract of the Tamil Nadu State Department of Archeology. His name is Anton, a civil engineer and specialist in use of limestone. He explained that he is overseeing this renovation and that it may take another two months until it will be completed. He was very keen to see my site, as well as following me on my other social media outlets.

In Trivandrum we stopped briefly at a large church and an ATM for money.

Sadraspatnam fort and cemetery 2020

Early February 2020. Sugu Naidu, the tour guide we used earlier, picked me up from the hotel. We booked a car for the day trip to Sadraspatnam, some 70 km out of Chennai. In Sadraspatnam the Dutch Fort now has a new fence and gate and a new info board from the Archeological Survey of India. At the back a higher wall has been addded. The guard with the keys is under contract with the ASI.

The small cemetery inside the fort remains impressive with long flat tombstones, each of which tell a story. A ship captain, three Dutch East-Indian Company staff members drowned here in the 17th century.

After the excavations here, the kitchen floor with tiles, the mounting place for elephants with steps, an additional water source and the warehouses are all in better condition than 30 years ago when I visited here for the first time.

On the way back Guide Sugu showed me the major carved rocks of Mahabalipuram, the story of the god and normal people. She mentioned Theresa a “Dutch Palace” in Kovalam, but that turned out to be only a leftover old stone hump near the beach in one of the posh resorts here. It had a short history of the Dutch here, carved in black stone.

Pulicat: Dutch cemetery in 2020

The drive to Pulicat on 19 February took two hours. Xavier Benedict was waiting for me in his AARDE Pulicat Museum close to the Dutch Cemetery. From the Fort Geldria there not even the sign board anymore. Xavier told me that like in Sadraspatnam excavations on Fort Geldria took place. But the owner of the land, the Tamil Nadu Fisheries Departement opposed the central Archeological Survey of India on this. Now you only see a big bush.

The cemetery is impressive with again many stories to be told from the tombstone here. They are well protected and preserved. Although the red stones of the two-stories high monument are starting to crumble.

Xavier is founder of the Art and Architecture Research, Development and Education (AARDE) Foundation.

Xavier’s passion is the large waterbody in this lagoon area that he is trying to preserve through his foundation. He is linking it with people and culture, including the European heritage. He is an architect, teaching part time at a college near Madras.

Especially the gate is very spectacular, as you can see from the film clip I made. I never forget the first time I was here in 1989 when all the tombes had been whitewashed totally. It hurted my eyes.

Xavier explains his passions