Porto Novo, perched atop a hill overlooking the Bay of Bengal
, is 34 km south of Cuddalore
and is known as ‘Parangipettai’ in Tamil meaning ‘European village’.
Porto Novo was occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and British successively during the colonial period. Under the European rule, Porto Novo emerged as an important harbor and major trade center with industries like ship building and fishing. The first iron foundry in Asia was built here. The place is associated with the second war of Mysore. Except for a flag mast and plaque, all other remnants of the colonial rule have disappeared and today, it is a fishing village.
Porto Novo is a major pilgrim center of Muslims. Saint Malumiyar, Araikasu Nachiyar, Hafiz Mir Sahib and Sayed Saheb are the famous
dargahs situated here. The Centre for Advanced Studies in Marine Biology of Annamalai University is located here and its Marine Biology Museum is worth a peep.
The temple town of Chidambaram is nearby. Pichavaram, Poompuhar and Neyveli are the nearby places of tourist interest. Pondicherry is 60 km away.
Nearest airport is at Chennai.
Parangipettai Railway Station is on the Chidambaram - Viluppuram rail route of Southern Railways. The National Highway 7A connects Porto Novo to Tuticorin port. Tamil Nadu State Transport Coorporation buses ply from Porto Novo to nearby towns.