The First Ziegenbalg Monument

Here by the grace of God
landed on the 9th of July 1706
the first Ev Lutheran missionaries to India
Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg
Heinrich Plutschau.

Writing at Ziegenbalg's landing site

Erected by the grateful congregations
of the Leipzig Ev Luth Mission
in the Jubilee Year 1906.

So reads the inscription at the Ziegenbalg Monument erected at his landing site on the shores of Tranquebar in 1906, two hundred years after his arrival.

Ziegenbalg (aged 23) and Plutschau (aged 29) were young German Lutheran missionaries who were sent to India from Copenhagen by King Fredrick IV of Denmark to spread Christianity and render social service. The Danish missionaries themselves showed little interest in going overseas. While Plutschau was called back to Copenhagen in 1711, Ziegenbalg continued to live in India till his death in 1719.

The tsunami of Dec 26, 2004 had hit the shores of Tranquebar, killing about 700 people. While water entered the streets and washed away several of the newer buildings, this stone monument (located about 50 metres from the shoreline) and some of the older buildings remained undamaged, on account of deep and wide foundations. In 2012 the monument was ‘upgraded’, with a stone-tiled floor and low boundary wall.

Ziegenbalg landing site and Danish fort on a Sunday evening
Respite from the harsh morning sun
Respite from the harsh morning sun
A view of the Parade Ground, and other old buildings on King Street
Front view of the monument against the backdrop of the Bay of Bengal

Pics: taken at Tranquebar, May 18-19, 2014
Information sources: locals at Tranquebar

Read about the other Ziegenbalg Monument at Tranquebar here.

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