Pondicherry- The Paris of the East

Puducherry being one among the Seven Union Territories of India, is popularly known as French Riviera of the East. The reasons that implicate are its signature history and the Indo-French culture followed in the region until date. Right from the splendorous beaches to the enticing food, from the colonial streets to the French architecture, Pondicherry, is in all ways, regarded as the Little France of India.

Pondicherry (Pondi), renamed officially as ‘Puducherry’ in 2006, is the capital of the Indian Union Territory of Puducherry. With a population of about 711,934 and extending on an area of 492 square kilometers, Puducherry is a modern city situated on the southeast coast of India. The city also known as Pondi, holds the pride of being a portion of France existing in India still.

Why Pondicherry called as ‘The Paris of the East’?

Tamil translation of the word ‘Puducherry’ meaning ‘New Town’ is the brand official name of the city named by the French Tamilians, settled over there. It has most of its community originated from France. The majority of the community consists of mainly Indian citizens originated from French ancestry, who had set right since the 17th century.

The impetus to Union of France’s Indian possessions was given during the period of independence of India in 1947. This possession with former British India stipulates an agreement between India and France in the year 1948. According to this, the inhabitants of France’s Indian possessions were free to choose their own political governance.

But the de jure union of France and India did not take place until the year 1962. The bureaucracy was united on a the fact basis with India, on Nov 1 1954. As a result, Puducherry was structured as a Union Territory of India in 1963. And, the city becomes a part of India.

The city also has the historical record of colonial powers ruled by Portuguese, Dutch and British. There were also records of the recent expatriates settled from France. Officially, the government also declares that a portion of France is still preserved in the French Quarters of India in Puducherry. And, exists a history of being pioneered and acquired by the Royal French ancestors.

Due to the fact that the portion of its territory is still a replica of French tradition and culture, Puducherry gains its pride to be ‘The Paris of the East’.

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There are number of languages used in the territory. Being the official language Tamil is among the majority of the inhabitants. Other local translations along with Indian French, is very common in the territory.

  • Indian French It is a kind of French dialect spoken by Indians originated from the former colonials of French India. These include Puducherry (Pondicherry) , Chandannagar (Chandernagor) in West Bengal, Mahe, Karaikal (Karikal) in Pondi and Yanam (Yanaon).
  • English- The language is common among all the inhabitants of Puducherry.
  • Indo-Aryan of Chandannagar- This language reflects from the north eastern part of India.
  • Other Regional languages are Dravidian Tamil, Yanam Telugu, Mahe Malayalam.

Popular Places to Visit in Pondicherry

Here are some of the things that you need to explore in the territory:

1. Cruise on it beaches

There are several options to perform several activities along the beach side. Along with enjoying the enchanting beauty of the waves and tranquil beach walks, the beaches of Puducherry have always presented a limelight for its visitors. There are more than ten beaches around the territory. For surfing, you may go for Auroville Beach.

And if you are the person enjoying backwater boatings, you may visit Paradise Beach. For the people who would like to have a peaceful place for yoga, they can visit Promenade Beach.

There is a Serenity Beach for sun bathing and Mahe Beach for fishing too. What more? Yes, you have more. For Canoeing, you are granted with the Beach of Karaikal in the territory.

2. Stay at French Quarters

The best example of Indo-French habitat is down the streets in French Quarters. With the influence of South Indian culture, the French Quarters restores the French colonial architecture fondly known as ‘White Town'.

Holding the heritage and architecture of Cathedrals, marvelous villas are seen all over with huge compounds housing with colors like peach, yellow and white.

These beautiful heritage buildings, with the hoard of expats cruising around, will make you feel that you are gallivanting somewhere around the corners of Paris. Visitors love to get the ancient glory in ‘White Town’ to experience the Indian French culture and to revive the French traditions. You can cruise on to Bharathi Park, Aurobindo Ashram, La Maison Rose, Curio Centre and Notre Dame Anges, which are around the French Quarters.

3. Spend your Day in Auroville Commune

You are doing unjust when you are not visiting Auroville, in Puducherry, and leaving the city. The place is globally known for its high quality essentials oils, incense sticks and exquisite handicrafts. Auroville Commune found in 1968, was in the aim to create a nation of different people having broad thinking to form a cultural structure. Over 2000 residents are now occupied in this commune.

Most of the residents have given up their entire life in developing a new slate contribution towards nature. You will get to know about Matri Mandir, impressing red sand stone amphitheater, Boutique d' Auroville, Mantra Pottery, La Farme Cheese and eateries of Auroville bakery. Never deny these spots or you may miss knowing the true ethics of the Territory.

4. Visit Tamil Quarters- ‘Black Town'

To present a glimpse of the old traditional house that belongs to the Tamil merchants and Brahmins, Tamil Quarters or popularly known as ‘Black Town' is the sensible place. The place preserves its heritage by ruling its governance on the popular tamil buildings like Maison Tamoule and Maison Perumal. It also stocks an artistical treasure in its Aquarellas Gallery. People love to visit these places in order to experience the Tamil heritage and culture, in these places of Black Town.

5. Shop at various Destinations

Places like Kalki, Hidesign Factory, Titanic and Casablanca Streets are the popular shopping destinations in Puducherry. You will find your requirements like all the varieties of essential oils, soaps, incense sticks, household accessories and unique hand painted crafts in Kalki Street. Updated fashion trends and clothing stores engulf the area in Hidesign Factory outlet. And if you are looking for the best price fashion outlets, Titanic street is the suitable destination. What more? In Casablanca, people love to shop for more discounted products including eateries.

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Cuisine in Pondicherry

Whether it’s for heading to drink something or to eat various world class cuisines, Puducherry offers you numerous options. It may be an Italian Cuisine or the Western favorites, dine in one of the following restaurants to feed your hunger. So, it literally mean that people from any part of the world can delicate their senses with extreme excitement around the territory. Just check out the following options:

  • La Maison Rose (# 8 Rue Romaine Rolland)
  • Le O’rient by Neemrana(#17 Rue Romain Rolland)
  • Le Dupleix (# 5 Rue de la Caserne)
  • Le Club (# 38 Rue Dumas)
  • Baker street (Rue de Bussy-Lal Bahadur Sashtri St)
  • Tantos (Auroville road)
  • Villa Shanti (# 14 Rue Suffren)

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Where to Stay in Pondicherry?

You also have excellent choices in selecting the best suitable suites for you to have your pleasant stay in Puducherry. Check out the following star hotels to choose the best option for you:

  • L’Orient by Neemrana Hotels (# 17 Rue Romain Rolland)
  • Hotel Du Parc (#5 Jawarharlal Nehru Street)
  • Palais de Mahe-a CGH property (# 4 Rue de Bussy)
  • Mango Hill (Old Auroville road)
  • Le Dupleix (# 5 Rue de la Caserne)

How to Reach

  • There are several local and metro bus transportations to reach the city of Puducherry.
  • There are two trains - New Delhi Pondicherry Express and Nagarcoil Express to reach the territory. The nearest railway station is the Villupuram Railway station, which is just 35 kms far from the city.
  • There are also options to fly to the territory of Puducherry. The nearest International airport is The Chennai International Airport, which is just 150 kms away to Pondi. It is very well connected to all parts of India and to other countries too.

Puducherry is undoubtedly a residual past of colonial France, which was once left back in India. This territory has an aesthetic benefits of the Bay of Bengal coastal trades. The coromondal beaches, colonial architectures, historical monuments and others unique destinations make this territory the best gateway.