Tangasseri, India

Tangasseri or Thangassery is a heavily populated beach area on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Kollam city, Kerala, India. It is located about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the city centre and 71 kilometres (44 mi) from Thiruvanthapuram, the state capital. Archaeologists recently discovered Chinese coins and other artefacts along the coast, which reveal the historic background of the location. Kollam Port makes Tangasseri an important place on the world maritime map.

In 1502, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to establish a trading centre in Tangasseri and the area soon became a major centre for the pepper trade. In the wars with the Moors and Arabs that followed, the ancient church of St Thomas was destroyed. Tangasseri’s St Thomas Fort, built by the Portuguese in 1517, was destroyed in the subsequent wars with the Dutch. In 1661, the Dutch took possession of the city. The remains of both the Dutch and Portuguese forts can still be seen in Tangasseri. In the 18th century, the kingdom of Travancore first conquered Kollam, followed by the British in 1795. Tangasseri remains an Anglo-Indian settlement in character, though there are few Anglo-Indians in the population. The Infant Jesus Church in Tangasseri, an old Portuguese-built church, remains as a memento of Portuguese rule. The old cathedral was demolished and replaced by a new cathedral at a cost of around 4.5 crore (US$700,000); it was consecrated and blessed on 3 December 2005. The metallic cross on the top is one of the largest crosses in India.

Tangasseri is a picturesque seaside village with a three kilometre long beach on which stands a 144 feet tall lighthouse—a silent sentinel warning seamen since 1902 of the treacherous reefs. There are also ruins of Portuguese and Dutch forts and 18th century churches.

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