I went to Pondicherry for a weekend with friends, expecting it to live up the the hype and photos I’d seen on the internet. It turned out much better than what I had in mind. Pondy (as it’s fondly called) was ruled by many – the Portuguese, Dutch, British and finally the French – that left its mark in colonial buildings and stately architecture in the charming French Quarters. Pretty and colourful, it reminded me of Europe as I roamed around the bougainvillea-lined wide streets. Here are a few glimpses of what I think is the most colourful town of our country.
Most of the houses and buildings here are in yellow, pink and white colours. They have typical French colonial architecture.
Quirky stores and boutiques are sprinkled all across the French Quarter. They sell everything – from handmade soaps to cotton kurtas, unique lamp shades, ethnic jewellery, candles to chocolates.
Most houses with typical French architecture have wooden doors, big windows, ornate balconies and large courtyards. The word ‘rue’ instead of ‘road’ is commonly used in road signs of White Town, the French Quarter of Pondicherry.
Café des Arts is a charming cafe with a small garden that has a colourful cycle rickshaw. The building goes back to 1880. It has a small library as well.
The entrance gates and doors, one of the most prominent elements of the French villas, are usually wooden and look really classic.
Every nook and corner of Pondicherry is colourful.
One of the landmark monuments in Pondicherry, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi located on the popular Promenade road. Not many know that this is one of the biggest Mahatma Gandhi statues in Asia. It was brought from Gingee, a fort located 70km away from the city.
An early morning walk along the 1.5 km long Promenade, which lies along a rocky beach, is a must, especially to see the sunrise. An evening walk is also a good option as the area is traffic free from 6pm and 7.30am everyday.
Instead of shacks, you’ll find people sitting on the rocky edge of the beach, gazing at the sunrise. Waking up early has its advantages.
Lighthouse, the rooftop bar of the Promenade Hotel is one of the best spots to view the Promenade. Go there for sundowners and watch the sky change colours with the sea on one side and the Old Lighthouse in front of you.
Classic, old school and pretty! In this day and age of instant messaging, it’s so good to know that people still post letters. This letter box reminded me of my school days when I had a penfriend. You cannot compare the joy you feel on opening those letters to receiving an email or a message.
The gorgeous bougainvillea lined wide streets of the French Quarter. I could go back just to roam around these lanes again.