Dansborg Fort, Tharangambadi

HolidayIQ Traveller Aritro Dasgupta lists down places in India that still carry the mark of European culture. Read on.

HolidayIQ Traveller Aritro Dasgupta share a list of lesser known enclaves in India that are very ‘European’ and are worth a visit.


1. Chinsurah, West Bengal


Not too many people know of the rich history of this town now known as Chuchura. This was once a bustling trading hub under nominal Dutch colonial rule. Though many relics haven’t survived well, there still exists the Old Dutch Cemetery, the old barracks, the Governor’s residence and the Old Factory building, which now acts as the Divisional Commissioner’s office. The town also boasts an Armenian Church, as the Armenians being a trading community, built their first church on the subcontinent near their residential areas here.

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2. Kochi, Kerala

flickr – Tim Moffatt

Kochi’s importance as a sea port cannot be underestimated as at one stage 3 colonial powers went head on in pursuit of this strategically located agglomeration. The Dutch Church here is particularly significant. The architecture is minimalist and the interiors lack frills of Portuguese churches. The major fort, streets and several old houses all bear the Dutch imprint.

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3. Tharangambadi, Tamil Nadu

flickr – Joseph Jayanth

Known as Tranquebar in earlier times, it was the capital of the Danish empire in India. The town was located strategically near Dutch, French and British zones of influence and thus became a major trading hub. The town is home to Fort Dansborg, the second largest fort built in Danish style anywhere in the world. Once inside the fort, you feel like you’re a part of Shakespeare’s famous play Hamlet, which was based around Danish royalty.

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4. Serampore, West Bengal


Located near Kolkata, this town was once known as Fredriks Nagore and served as a trading hub for Danish colonial rule. St. Olav’s Church remains the most prominent extant Danish piece of architecture in this town while the Serampore College which has gone through multiple changes still bears as its foundation a Danish style. There also exists a Danish cemetery and the colonnaded Government House.

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5. Nicobar, Andaman & Nicobar


The Nicobar Islands offer a different case of Little Europe. The Habsburg monarchy occupied these set of islands for a very short period of time and there are no major relics intact which may be used for tourism purposes. Instead the relationship is different. The Austrians carried with them during the 18th century local artifacts for purpose of research. Now due to the calamitous effects of the 2004 Tsunami, a number of tribes in the region face extinction in terms of numbers as well as physical establishments. Post the tsunami, the Austrian authorities restored some of these artifacts back to the local leaders so that the Nicobarese people can at least take comfort in familiar everyday items.

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6. Diu, Gujarat

flickr – Kailash GiriDiu will soon be getting India’s first ever live Oceanarium. This place was under Portuguese rule for more than 400 years and thus boasts of scenic Portuguese style churches and a prominent fort. There is also a museum which has kept alive the European as well as non- European cultures associated with this town.

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7. Daman, Gujarat

flickr – Ashok Prabhakaran

Due to Gujarat (which almost entirely surrounds this town) being a ‘dry’ state and alcohol being legal in Daman, this town has become synonymous as a watering hole for people looking to quench their thirst buds. Daman also boasts some scenic beaches like Devka. Being a former Portuguese colony, Daman houses very prominent Portuguese style churches, chapels and a fort.

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8. Chandannagar, West Bengal


While changing hands many times, the British finally granted the French usage rights of this town after what then seemed the end of the wars between the 2 countries. The town is unique in actually having hosted a plebiscite where post India’s independence, the townspeople could vote to either join the Indian union or remain part of the French Republic. Needless to say the vast majority voted for union with India. There is a famous museum and institute where French cultural influences in India are well preserved. There is also a prominent church erected in French style architecture.

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9. Yanam, Andhra Pradesh


While Yanam does have an old church built in the French architectural style, there is another physical (almost) colonial presence here. This town is apparently among the most spooked in India and frequently reports sightings of French ghosts!

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10. Kapurthala, Punjab


While Kapurthala was never under any direct European rule, the ruler of this once princely state had me an almost devoted passion for everything French. He thus built up a lot of architecture in this town based on original structures in France. The most famous such architecture is the Jagatjit Palace which was created as an exact replica of the Palace of Versailles near Paris while the Elysee Palace was created as an attempt to even better the iconic Champs-Elysees.

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Contributed by : Aritro Dasgupta