They say if you can’t afford a ticket to Europe, travel to Pondicherry instead.
Stroll through the white part of town and be transported in time and place to a laid back French town. Or just wander the streets to absorb the distinctive Franco-Tamil culture of the place.
This small seaside town has a lot to offer for those who are looking for a leisurely laid-back holiday.
There is always coffee and croissants to intersperse your endless explorations with. For, Puducherry is blessed with both – cafes & heritage – in abundance!
Once an important port of call and a very prominent fortified town, as it changed hands, it was razed to ground and its ramparts flattened to what are today the tree lined boulevards of Pondicherry.
Laid out in a grid, the town is divided into the French and Tamil quarters by a storm water canal.
Both these quarters are so distinctive that you can tell which part of town you are in just from colour and style of the houses that go from classical European architecture to vernacular Tamil in a step.
As a lingering shadow of its European past follows you along its every street or rue as it known here, the historical richness of this town comes to life. In its art & architecture.
My first day in Pondicherry, I walked 9.6 kilometres to be exact. Discovering urban street art and restored heritage bungalows.
Besides, in this town of neat little blocks, self reliance comes easy to a girl, who just wants to explore, camera in hand.
I have been to Pondicherry thrice. & my longing for it only gets the stronger. 🙂
PS: INTACH or The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage has been working with the Government of Pondicherry and its public to conserve and restore the unprotected architectural heritage and townscape of Pondicherry. Almost all of the heritage buildings you see today have been brought back to life by them. Even the rocks to tame the sea on the famous promenade were by them.
They conduct heritage walks in the white town every morning and evening. Ending on the promenade, this hour long walk is a perfect way to to get to the beach just in time for dusk.
Read First: Streets of Pondicherry – Part I: Art