French culture has always played a dramatic role in my life; whether it is French movie, renaissance arts and not to miss the special French Kiss!!! When you don’t have that luxury of travelling abroad, you bleed to find the space locally. India’s own French Riviera – Pondicherry.
The French East India Company established this town as their headquarters in 1674. Later on, the British captured Pondicherry from the French but the Treaty of Paris (1763) at the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War returned it. Pondicherry has a tropical wet and dry climate.
Let me take you through the places you simply cannot ignore:
White town: The French Colony
The place is inspired by European architecture. While sashaying down the lanes here, you will spot the arched doors in pastel shades and bright colors. The bougainvillea plunging out of the walls and letting you dive in tranquility. The place definitely give an Indo-Western feel and captures the French connection.
The Promenade: A Walk to Remember
“What’s in a name”; but sometime the name says it all. In French, promenade means a walk along the seafront. Strolling along the promenade and listening to the gurgling of the waves, one could easily get lost in the serenity of the place. And when you need a tea break, just check in to La Café. The terrace gives a panoramic view of the sea where you lay back and sip the tea watching the dance of the waves.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram: The Harmony Home
Few steps from the entrance, a visual treat waiting for you. The placed filled with exotic flowers, shrubs and bonsai. There is Samadhi (shrine) of Sri Aurobindo decorated with colorful flowers and it is the perfect place for meditation and spiritual awakening. The aura of the place plays a charm on you and takes you to that ecstatic state where time and space becomes one.
Auroville : City of Dawn
This is an “experimental” township located 8 km north-west of Pondicherry meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.
In the middle of the town is the Matrimandir, which was conceived by the Mother or as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection”.
Apart from this, there are many churches out of which St Basilica Church is built in Gothic architecture. The French War Memorial is a war memorial dedicated to residents of French India who died for the country during the First World War.
Café and Eateries: The Food Fiesta
Eateries covers a wide variety of cuisines ranging from French, Indian and Italian to Mexican, Thai and Chinese. Some restaurants also serve a unique Indo-French cuisine that gives tourists a taste of Pondy’s colonial influences. Some of the popular eateries include Baker’s Street, The White Town Cafe, Zuka, Carte Blanche and La Maison Rose. You can arouse your taste bud and try the wood-fire pizza at Tanto Pizzeria.
Shopping: Shopping Spree
Wellness products like candles, incense sticks, and essential oils are available at really affordable prices.
Well guys, if you are in search of a place to find yourself, relax and to let go, then this is the place – a blend of French culture, nature’s beauty and Indian spiritualism. Indulge in ecstasy and make your holiday worth celebrating.
With Love & Life,
Engineer by education, Analyst by profession, Artist by passion and a Dreamer by intention.