Monday, 27 February 2017

Pondicherry,The once french capital of India



A yearning for French architecture bought us to Pondicherry. Interestingly this little piece of old France is some 7000 km away from where you expect to find France in map. Its a place in India called Pondicherry establised by the French East India Company in 1764.

We came to Pondicherry from Mahabalipuram driving along the absolutely scenic East Coast Road. From Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry is 100 kms and takes around 2 hours to reach along the East Coast Road. As the name signifies, the road runs along the east coast.In every 500 metres on the road, there will be small signboards pointing to a nearby beach. We stopped at one of the eateries on the road and were treated to awesome filter coffee with appam.

There are a few lakes that will fall on the road. They are so huge that we could not see the other end. These lakes were mostly formed because of the sea water getting inside the land. We stopped at one. A few fishermen were there, wrapping up their catch.Lots of seagulls and storks.Far we saw a very long white line of birds and we were sure they must be flamingoes. I did a 50X zoom with my camera and voila it was a huge group of flamingoes!! We also saw the sign boards of several shrimp hatcheries. I was just wishing if I had a farm, I surely would have taken some to cultivate.

Welcome to Pondicherry

A 'Welcome to Pondicherry' slab greeted us as we entered Pondicherry. We crossed the bustling city and went towards Promenade beach. Something not so funny in Pondicherry city is that no body cares about traffic rules. Cars meeting at any intersection moves in a random zigzag fasion. Its too noisy However as one leaves the city and approaches Promenade beach the scene changes completely. The places are so very clean, the buildings are so very different that one can mistake it for some western place.

The iconic statue of Gandhi

The iconic statue of Gandhi rules the Promede beach. The status is so very beautiful,pure and big, build right at the shoreline of the beach on an elevated pedestal. We also stood on the beach for sometime. Its a rocky beach and one can sit on the gigantic size rocks and feel the wind and the water splashes, but can't get down. After that we went to the adjacent cafe 'Le Cafe' for some coffee and sandwiches. The place is heavenly. You sip coffee in a beautiful quaint cafe looking at the sea.What more to ask for!

Promede Beach

Pondicherry Roads

Pillar

Opposite to the Gandhi statue is the French War Memorial. Its a small beautiful memorial and will not take more than 10 minutes.We started moved in the lanes and bylanes, took photo of as many beautiful houses as we could. The houses are so very beautiful that we could not help but admire each and every that we saw. The road names are written in French and Tamil, but no English. Maybe the french in Pondicherry still do not approve of English :)

War Memorial

Enjoying the sea breeze

Posing for the camera


There are quite a few good number of statues to see in Pondicherry. Apart from the Gandhi statue which is so very hard to miss, there are statues of Joan of Arc and Dupliex. There is the French War Memoral, old light house,Place de la Republique, Museum and Governor's Residence.One can take the French Heritage Walk (organized by INTAC and Puducherry Tourism Department). It is a 2 km walk that will cover all the above places of interest.

A show piece outside a shop

What beautiful houses!

All lane names are written in tamil and french

wow...what a beautiful house

Pondicherry lanes and avenues

vibrant!

Pondicherry has something for every wanderer. There are french cafes serving freshly baked pastries, croissants, creme caramel, cheese platter, amazing french crepes and many more which I do not remember.For the spiritual seeker there is Sri Aurobindo Ashram. We skipped the ashram this time since we already have been there before.And for the 'all you can see' type there are monuments, beaches, cafes.


Pondi Police

Foot Note: The police in Pondicherry still wears the red high hat :)

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