A trip to Pondichéry – Part 1 – India’s French Connection

There is a cycle. Once every six months, my feet start to itch in a hunger for travel. And satiate it, I must. Travel is something I enjoy immensely, as it gives me a recharge like nothing else. I just hope I can keep this wanderlust intact till the end of times (or the zombie apocalypse, whichever comes first :P).

Considering that the last trip I’d been to has been in January, it was time for another adventure into the unknown and there I was at Pondicherry on a short two-day trip. There seems to be a lot going on everywhere in the city, in every nook and corner. I guess it’s gonna take me a lot more visits to completely cover this place. But at least, due to my well-planned itinerary I was able to visit most of the important stuff in my trip. I consider this time as more of an ice-breaker.

A little note on Pondicherry: Initially a French colony and now a Union Territory of India, Pondicherry (aka Puducherry) has the quintessential makings of a quaint European town. I don’t know if any other place in India can give off the same vibes. Always teeming with tourists (more foreign), Pondi feels ever lively and vibrant. One more reason for the vibrancy being the yellow (more like ochre) façade on a lot of buildings. I never realized what great a color this is, and it transported me into an other place and time. This definitely is not India.

Presenting: The French Quarters

Charming. Idyllic. Bright colored houses. French Street signs. Almost deserted roads. And quiet cafés. It feels as if the time has frozen amidst these narrow roads and elegant houses.

I mean, just look at this!

WP_20150614_16_19_47_Rich
Rue de Bussy

Pondicherry has a clear division between the Tamil Town and the French Town, a little sewer separating them both. The Tamil Town looks like any other Indian town and it’s hard to believe that only a handful of blocks later, the place completely transforms itself as you step into the French town. It is also closer to the seashore, which adds one more feather to its cap.

You can do a DIY stroll through the French Town beginning at the south-end of the beach and going in zig zag through the lanes that are arranged in a neat grid (which if you ask me is non-existent in the more organically grown Indian cities). You can end your walk at the imposing yellow building on the north-end of the beach which is the French Institute. I was simply awe-struck by this one.

What’s important is taking your time as you explore these parts, looking at those curiously curved iron grills, the big windows, the bright paints. And if you ever feel a little parched, step into the numerous little cafes at every turn that serve good coffee/tea and simple French food.

Oh, and one more curious thing that delighted me were the Street signs. Looks like the locals did not bother changing them when the French left (and just as well), so I had a lot of fun reading up all the names of the Rues (that’s roads in French). By the way, did I mention that I studied French for two years? 🙂 My spoken French is pretty bad but I can pretty much understand most of what is written. One more reason why I love this place.

WP_20150614_17_27_08_Pro
Because ‘Dumas Street’ is just too mainstream.

I’ve created a little gallery below with some photos of the streets (and the signs, I went absolutely crazy on them). Hope you enjoy it. Click on any photo to open gallery.

 

In a stroke of serendipity, today’s Photo 101 theme is Connect. 

Part 2 coming up soon with other explorations of mine!

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “A trip to Pondichéry – Part 1 – India’s French Connection

    • You are so lucky!! to have spent all your summers in Pondy! This was my first time there and I didn’t want to leave! 😦

      I’m totally in love with the French Quarters and those little continental cafes! It was just like out of a dream. I made a mistake of booking a room near the bus stop, but next time I’m gonna book one near the beach! 🙂 Pondy feels like two completely different cities stitched into one and I much wished the entire city was like the French town!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I was. Did you visit a place called Chunnambar there? It’s a boathouse on the banks of the backwaters of some river. From there you can go on a boat to a small island on a 20 minutes ride. That island has blue water surrounding it and is usually devoid of much crowd. If you’re lucky, you can even spot a few dolphins. Oh, they also have water sports there.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly no. I read about Chunnambar and Paradise Beach as well but couldn’t make it there due to time constraints. Anyhow, I’m hooked to Pondy now and I decided to visit it at least once in a month from now on, so I do have something to look forward to next time. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

I love it when you comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s