Pondicherry (or Puduchechery), often referred to as ‘India’s Little France” or “French Rivera of the east,” is a picturesque tow, set on the Coromandel coast.
A French colony until 1954 (and under french rule for about 280 years), the distinct flavour is reflected in its grand colonial mansions, placid promenades, tree-lined boulevards, churches, statues, signboards, names of roads & public places etc. The french connection is also reflected in the range of restaurants, serving a melange of culinary experiences; providing a heady mix of experiences that draw travellers from far and wide.
Pondicherry has also been greatly influenced by Sri Aurobindo, the 20th century seer, prophet and poet. About 10 km away, Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental township, founded by ‘Mother,’ the spiritual collaborator of Aurobindo. It is meant to be a universal town where men and women from all countries are able to live in peace and harmony, above all creeds, politics and nationalities. Designed by disciple and French architect, Roger Anger, the utopian city was conceived as an experiment in international living. The ashram there is a well-known spiritual centre, its tenets representing a synthesis of yoga and modern science.
The overall endearing mood beckons one to imbibe the spiritual & cultural heritage, as well as natural beauty.The town aims to preserve what remains of the ambience once created by this unique mix of cultural heritage. Pondicherry is also a popular weekend destination, which can be reached easily from the nearby cities like Chennai and Bangalore.
Places to visit: Sri Aayi Mandapam (Park Monument), French War Memorial, Dupleix Status, Botanical Garden, Serenity beach, Church of our Lady of Immaculate Conception
By air: Chennai airport (135 km)
By rail: Villupuram (36 km)
By road: Well-connected
Official Website : pondytourism.in