" Puducherry Peregrinate "

5th Oct 2008

We were planning for long, repeating the same old sequence of serious talking for a day and dropping it thereafter and taking up the matter again after a few weeks. In fact, we had talked and forgot about it so many times that nobody believed we were actually going to Puducherry (In September 2006, the territory changed its official name from Pondicherry to the vernacular original,Puducherry, which means "New village" in the Tamil language) until the Toyota Innova picked us up at Four in the afternoon on 5th of April,2008.

We were eight odd souls in total, all working in the same group. We traveled(walked as well..) all evening to reach Puducherry at 8 in the night. We lost a good 2 hours on our way because of the talented driver(and tour operator) who forgot to re-register the expired road/travel permit required to enter Puducherry Union territory. We spent that 2 hours in a teashop placed in an otherwise deserted place surrounded by total darkness. The shop was playing a local nebulous song adding to its eerie atmosphere.

We got in a 2 star hotel called Devis Grand,near Promenade Beach. A nice bath, a good one-hour rest and a good snacks/Dinner (with crabs) in the same hotel are all that happened before we hit the road again. We went to the Promenade beach first. Before even reaching the shore of the sea we were stumped by the sea of girls, Indian and foreign, floating all around us. That was fabulous!!

The experience of the unmistakable French connection,the tree lined boulevards,the quaint colonial heritage buildings, the spiritual scene, the endless stretches of unspoilt virgin beaches, backwater, a surprising choice of restaurants serving a melange of cuisines, provide a heady mix that draw travellers from near and far , I think, was the best part of the tour. We had a ride on the steamer, enjoyed a long bath in the waves and of course, relished the beauty both of the nature and the people. After having a good time of a couple of hours, we decided to move on.