In December 2013 Christiaan and I drive some 65 kilometres from Tranquebar to Nagapatnam for our exploration there. In Nagapatnam we first ask Baidu, our driver, to go to the beach and harbour area where the Dutch heritage must be located.  Bauke van der Pols’s chapter and pictures on Nagapatnam are a great help to us. We show people we ask for help in Nagapatnam his pictures of the St. Peters Church.

The St. Peters Church of Dutch design in Nagapattinam

St Peters Church

We drive slowly and look around. Suddenly Christiaan stops the car when he sees some ship repair going on behind huts in a side lane. We start walking. And while I take my pictures of these very scenic local boats being built and under repair we find what is left of the high wall of the fort on the riverside in Nagapatnam.


It is what remains after the 2004 tsunami from the Amsterdam Bastion, part of the VOC fort that was demolished by the British, and that is now part of the harbour and boat repair yard.


The old Dutch cemetery in Nagapatnam was washed away in the tsunami. Four of the 17th-century stones were rebuilt into the wall on the riverside. With the one remaining tomb it is now gated ‘Protected monument, Dutch Cemetery, Nagapatnam’ under the Archeological Service of Tami Nadu.

On walking distance from the church we find the new cemetery called ‘Karicop’, after the Dutch word ‘kerkhof’ under the management of the Church of India. The dome shaped stone of Anthonia Nilo- Van Steeland stands out, or what is left of it. Locals call it ‘Rani Kallarai’, cemetery of a queen. The angels wings were originally copper coated.


Domed grave of Anthonia Nilo-Van Steelant

One can see that not much of its grandeur is left.

The tombstone reads:

Beati qui Moriuntur in Domini

Hier legt begraven d’Eerbare, Deugd en Zedenryke Mevrouwe

Anthonia Nilo, Zaliger gemalinnen van den Edelen

Heer Johannes van Steelant. Gouverneur en

Directeur dezer Kuste Choromandel

Nearby  local boat construction goes on full swing





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