One of the best places to get away from the stress and rush of big cities is Puducherry also known as Pondicherry which is a town on the south-east coast of India. The obvious French connection, streets lined with trees, the attractive colonial heritage art, the spiritual sceneries, the never-ending untouched beaches, black water and unique range of restaurants attracts travellers from the cities. If you are willing to take a break from your hectic lifestyle then Puducherry is the best place to visit.
Even if you are casually walking on the promenade beach you cannot ignore the colonial past of Puducherry is hard to ignore as there is a statue of Francois Dupleix. Not too far away is one of Joan of Arc. It's like a trip to France as one passes via symmetrically aligned streets in Puducherry.
Puducherry has been the home for Portuguese, Dutch, Danes and English men. By the beginning of the 18th century the small fishing village had turned into a huge port. French came to Puducherry in the year 1670 and rule their till the year 1954, since then not much has changed and the history has become punctuated. This beautiful state is filled with nostalgia feeling and people there are living up to a heritage that speaks so much. Visiting there is like a time travel as its history goes back to before the Roman Times. But the main history was started from the arrival of French in 1673, which build the town from scratch to its present form during the two centuries they occupied it.
"Puducherry" is derived from the French word "Puducheri" which means "new settlement". Many travellers to this date take a halt in this town on their way to Rameshwaram, thus enriching its culture.
The culture of Puducherry is varied and lively as it has a strong impact on French culture. People of Puducherry celebrate Mask festival every year in March and people enjoy wearing fancy dresses and masks. Sri Aurobindo's birth anniversary is celebrated on the 15th of August when devotees flock to the ashram and pay homage to his soul. They also celebrate international yoga day every year. French war martyrs were also honoured on a popular festival called Bastille Day. When it comes to music and dance, Indian classical dance forms such as Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi are very famous in Puducherry.
Tamilians living in Puducherry follow a beautiful tradition of putting dolls at their doorsteps which is called "Kolam". The potters and sculptor in Puducherry also imitate Tamil and French cultures. 'Puducheri bommai' is a type of handcrafted doll and 'kowai' mats are made from a particular type of grass, grown locally. You can find traditional Tamil and French pastries, brioches and baguettes in the shops and bakeries of Puducherry.
Places to visit
Matrimandir is the Golden Globe inside Auroville that glows and shines in the sunlight. This dome is the symbol of peace. Auroville is constructed in the memory of Aurobindo. One must know the background of this spiritual destination before visiting. You have to check the day of the opening of this dome (Matrimandir) and make a prior booking, as it's not open all days of a week. There are best Yoga Practitioners for affluent health of mankind. Auroville is a place serving visitors free of cost and It is a jungle with different sorts of trees. It preaches to the world around the globe about Indian Spirituality. You can get cafes with mouth-watering French cuisines out there.
It's the 19th Century the Lighthouse built by France Government in Pondicherry. The 10-floor climb is tiring but the bird-eye view after climbing is astonishing. Whole Pondicherry can be sighted from this top. This lighthouse is partly a museum in the bottom inside. This is uniquely constructed lighthouse in terms of its design. If you are in Pondicherry and you didn't visit the lighthouse, it's a blunder. The entry fee is just Rs. 10. So just be there once. The opening and closing time is 3 PM and 7 PM respectively every day.
It's one of the most beautiful beaches in Pondicherry if not the best. The early morning sunshine on sand makes it golden & silver. The soft sand eases stroll on the edge and it is the most enthralling experience you can have at Paradise Beach. A boat ride on the blue water is what enunciates this beach Paradise.
Promenade or Rock Beach is attached to White Town. The beach is fenced with rocks to sit on enjoy the waves on the lengthy shore of this beach. It is also called Promenade Beach. The beach is a spot for different camps all over the country. You can see wrestling on the sand of Promenade Beach. There are enough numbers of Resort and Hotel making it destiny for honeymoon and family trip. Promenade Beach is the most beautiful getaway to stroll and cherish the sunrise.
How to reach Puducherry
By Air – Puducherry's Domestic airport is connected to Bengaluru via daily flights
By Train – Daily connectivity to Villupuram, Chennai and Tirupathi are available
By Road – The best connectivity is definitely by road. Multiple buses ply daily to and fro between Chennai and Bangalore.
Puducherry is a heaven that you didn't know about and the best time to visit there is between October to March.