THE FRENCH COLONY IN INDIA
Pondicherry is officially known as Puducherry. It is one of the seven Union Territories of India. It is affectionately called Pondy. This is a beautiful seaside town. You can find a perfect blend of Indian and French traditions here. Currently, this is the most populous city of Indian Union territory Puducherry. It has a population of 657209 and an area of 492sq Km. [Source: Wikipedia]
The Indian state Tamil Nadu borders the city. You can mostly experience the Tamil culture here. You can experience French architecture and culture perfectly with Tamil culture as well here. The best place for this is the Former French Colony of Pondicherry. It is a perfect escape from the busy urban world. In this place you can find peace, scenic beauty, reach culture, some exotic French cuisine, and a lot more. Here is a short travel guide.
How to reach:
This city can be reached both by train or air. By air reach Chennai airport first. From there go to Pondicherry by road. Chennai is 135 Km away from Pondicherry. It will take approx. 4hrs to reach Pondicherry from Chennai. A local cab will charge around Rs 2500 to Rs. 3000 for this trip. Bus services available on this route. Fare starts from Rs 250. You can be travelling by train. Go to Pondicherry station directly if so. Reserved Car fare will be around Rs 2500.
Where to Stay:
You can find many hotels and hostels of different budget range. Typical mid-range Pondicherry hotels will charge around Rs 2000 per day and the hostel will charge Rs.500 per day. The total package will cost around Rs 9000 for a couple.
Weather in Pondicherry:
Between October to March is the Best time to visit in Pondicherry. During this time the temperature range 15*C to 30*C.
Most popular shopping items of Pondicherry:
- Textiles. satin, twill, corduroy, poplin, chambray, oxford, cambric, and Khadi.
- Leather Products.
- Perfumed and embossed candles.
- Semi-precious stones,
- Aromatherapy product.
- French antique furniture.
- Tibetan handicrafts.
Famous Tourist Place in Pondicherry
Auroville Ashram is a ‘Universal Town’. It was founded in the year 1926 by Sri Aurobindo. Here, men and women from across the world of all cultures and traditions live together in peace. You can visit Seaside Promenade from here. This clean and well-maintained place is famous for its beautiful view of sunrise. Here you can actually feel the proximity to the sea.
Pondicherry Beach is another famous beach in the city. It is 1.2 kilometers long along the Bay of Bengal. This is the most famous road in Pondicherry.
Serenity Beach is the most beautiful beach in Pondicherry. This beach attracts many tourists every day. It is due to its calm & quiet environment.
Paradise Beach is situated in Chunnambar. It is very close to the city. This is a mesmerizing golden sand beachfront. You can enjoy the cold sea breeze anytime here. You can reach here by a 20-30 mins ferry ride. This ride goes across the backwaters.
Arikamedu is a primordial Roman trade center and is a hidden gem for the tourists. The name means ‘eroding mount’ in Tamil. Very little is known about any Indo-Roman business ties Before Christ era. Nontheless, with the discovery of Arikamedu many evidences were found regarding this Indo-Roman tie-ups. Ages ago, the port town was occupied by the people of Rome, Cholas, and French. It served as a famous maritime center from 1st century BC to 2nd century AD.
Things to do in Pondicherry:
• Enjoy the beautiful sunset at Ousteri Lake: This is a man-made lake. It is characterized by mudflats and marshy lands. A diverse variety of residential and migratory birds populate the place. Therefore it is the perfect spot for bird and nature lovers.
•Rent a 2-wheeler and explore the French Colony: Take the best-guided tours from the Pondy cycle tour/ Sita Cultural center. If you prefer walking, take the Heritage Walking Tour. It is given by French and English speaking guides.
• Visit the many diverse temples and churches: These are one of the most popular tourist places in Pondicherry. Temples like Manakula Vinayagar Temple and Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus- 300 church co-exists here.
• Visit the Botanical Garden, Marimalai Adigal Salai.
• Savour the delicacies of the local cuisine: From South Indian, French, European to many other Western cultures exist here. They influence the local cuisine of the city. The Pondy trip is incomplete without trying these traditional delicacies.
•Explore Auroville: Explore the ‘City of Dawn’/Peace Zone here. This township is the perfect example of unity in diversity.
Other things to do
- Scuba diving. Tick off your bucket list!
- Visit Shri Aurobindo Ashram. Surround yourself with spiritual ambiance.
- Pay homage. The valiant soldiers rest in peace at the French War Memorial.
- Go for boating at Chunnambar backwate.
Pondicherry will be a short trip of two days. You can enjoy the proximity of nature as well as culture here.