Ever experienced a place that takes one centuries back in time?
Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses, bakeries, Basilicas and chic boutiques. Yellow walls with white-framed windows passing aroma of sophisticated and fancy French cuisine teases the palates, while falling in love on a moonlit beach side or soothing your soul at the call of ringing church bells makes it picture perfect.
France, is it?
A city with dual personality that encourages you to believe that you are in a different land, but this is our very own city of Pondicherry lovingly known as Pondy which indeed promises to dazzle you.
With its French legacy preserved in its French Quarter and streets lined with trees and colonial villas Pondy makes a romantic yet mirthful getaway.
Still not convinced why Pondicherry should be your next destination? Browse below:
What adds to the grandeur of Pondicherry are its beaches. While the early morning serenity takes your breath away. Radiance of glimmering streets with fun, food and frolic in the evening hypnotizes you into its charm. Unlike the other beaches in India, they are pretty clean and well kept.
2. AUROBINDO ASHRAM
Yearning for peace and tranquility? Head to the ashram for a spiritual experience. A lot of importance is given to yoga for transforming mind and body. A number of guesthouses are run by the ashram. However, as they are primarily for the guests of the ashram, it might be difficult to get accommodation without prior notice.
Pic Courtsey- getawaymemories.com
The cuisine is a perfect blend of cultures. Thanks to the chequered history. The city has a bustling culinary scene with restaurants serving fare from around the world. Along with traditional south Indian delicacies and mouth-watering sea food, experiment your palate with authentic French cuisine and drool over numerous bakeries.
Pic Courtsey- www.chennaisoru.in
Pondicherry is home to several churches. The structure and architecture gives them a definite French feel. The Basilica of sacred heart of Jesus situated on the south boulevard, is an oriental specimen of Gothic architecture built in the year 1895. Look out for Christian weddings that take place!
5. OLD LIGHTHOUSE
One of the most famous landmarks, was constructed in 1836 It is not operational today but still remains a very interesting tourist attraction.
6. WATER SPORTS
Water babies got much in store! From parasailing, scuba diving, snorkelling to boating, canoeing and kayaking Pondicherry has got it all. You don't need to look out for international waters anymore.
Pic Courtesy: www.365hops.com
Get a glimpse of Roman culture in the ruins of Arikamedu. It was formerly a major port for trading with Roman traders and was believed to be the only town to have ties with Rome.
Saunter over to the enchanting city of Dawn. An international community dedicated to peace, harmony, sustainable living, and 'divine consciousness', where people from across the globe, ignoring creed, colour and nationality, work together to build a universal, non-religious township and realise good old human unity. It is based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
9. WILDLIFE: BIRDWATCHING AT OUSTERI LAKE
The century old manmade lake is situated at about 10 kms from Pondicherry town and has been recognized as one of the important wetlands of Asia by IUCN. The 390 hectare lake supports a variety of flora & fauna. It is a home to avifauna as well as migratory birds during summers & winters.
10. SHOP TILL YOU DROP
If shopping is your forte then Pondy is the right place for you. With street dotted with boutiques selling clothes, leather products and other bric-a-brac.
Hidesign , the leather company was born in Pondicherry. Along with the flagship store checkout the factory outlet for discounted items.
Sri Aurobindo handmade factory sells handmade paper in various colors along with stationary and gift boxes. Kalki, one of the best known boutiques offers everything from home decor to gifting items, clothing & jewellery. La Maison Rose is a deftly run empire of lifestyle. From chic clothes, home decorations, footwear it has got it all. The courtyard also serves food from around the world for shopping mid breaks ;)
Apart from luxury shopping, hit the local markets for reasonable shopping.