Thursday, October 13, 2011

French Connection, Pondicherry


I am lucky to have a French family connection with my sister having married Jacques a French citizen.  Going back to the roots of the French connection in India, could we have enjoyed better freedom and progress under their reign is quite debatable.  The genesis of  Pondicherry dates back to port trading days with the Romans with the discovery of Artifacts at Arikamedu.  It was known as Poduke in ancient times among the historians.

Sometime in 1985 when i visited Pondicherry for launch of a confectionery product. I distinctly remember sipping beer on the balcony of  a reputed resort on the seashore.  It was full moon night waves were literally lashing the beach front.  It was a heady and refreshing feeling, after a full day labour in the market place, gulping down mug after mug, with my colleague who was chomping away chicken kabbabs and other bites.

One of the fine ways of exploring Pondicherry is obviously undertaking a heritage walk in the alleys of this ancient French colony (  Portuguese landed earlier and started colonising but incurred the wrath of Gingee ruler and were expelled )  Dutch established their base in Fort David in Cuddalore.  We undertook the walk by default, from Aurobindo Ashram pass the French consulate, and on to the beach front.

The beach front is fully spruced up with wide footpath for almost 4 kms stretch, which soothing change from the past.  Earlier the beach front was filled only with rocky stones preventing the sea erosion.  Now I find that an elevated pathway has been created for tourists to walk around.  The pathway leads to famous landmark of Pondicherry, Mahatma Gandhi statue. What a coincidence we were almost there on Gandhi Jayanthi ( 3rd Oct 2011)

Just a few meters away from the Mahatma Gandhi statue there is a coffee shop, the only restaurant on the beach front.  We were literally lured into the cafe with a signage of  buffet lunch @ Rs 99, the waiter clarified it is only on weekends, which may just a gimmick to lure customers.  Anand Bhavan offers a lovely limited veg luuncheon @ Rs 65.

A few metres away from the beach front cafe is Pondicherry tourism office, wherein we bumped in and booked our half a sight seeing package.  We were misguided on the phone that they don t operate full day sightseeing, on weekends they definitely operate full day sight seeing.  The package includes lunch @ Rs 200 currently ( Oct 2011)  and half a day package is quoted @ Rs 100 per pax.  The package includes all major sightseeing points in Pondicherry including Auroville.  We undertook our Pondy visit with Chennai as a base, next time around i intend to stay at Auroville and seek a different perspective.


Pondicherry is haven for revellers with subsidised booze available in liquor stores.  This time around i did not venture into drinking or buying cheap liquor because it was purely a family trip.  The heat was searing, on the hindsight it was a wise decision.  Since there is a heavy excise checking on all vehicles coming from Pondi to Chennai en route and secondly it would aggravated the dehydration suffered because of  heat.  Next time around i would definitely prefer to stay at Pondi and enjoy the rustic and tranquil beauty.

18 comments:

R Niranjan Das said...

Its a beautiful destination on ECR.

www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

Deguide said...

Thanks Niranjan das for your confirmation.

mycreationz said...

Pondy... with the smell of french...

and the famous yellow wall..

Regards,
J
http://mycreationz.wordpress.com/

Tanmay said...

The beach looks so clean and devoid of crowd. Thanks for the tips!

Sujatha Sathya said...

pondi is lovely :)
been there twice & loved it

bhupendra said...

nice post,3 years back i went pondy and visited auroville too, lovely place! did you visit the auroville beach too thats a sandy beach.

Team G Square said...

Lovely place to visit .

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Do visit Alampara fort nearby..

Nidhi

Vikram said...

Visited Pondicherry two years ago, the place is very beautiful,

ben said...

Ah its great to see someone writing about my hometown ..I m from pondicherry !!!

http://www.travelnlife.com/

Deguide said...

@ Srinidhi i saw the alamparai fort signboard, we avoided it after reading your post Lolz

Nisha said...

Been there, done that. It's a beautiful place.

P.S.- Can you pls enable the Name/URL option for commenting ?
Nisha - Le Monde-A Poetic Travail

Deguide said...

@ Nisha i am not tech savvy, moreover enabling links invite virus, let me keep away from unwanted trouble

arunthetraveller said...

Can we get 2-wheeelers for rent in Pondicherry? I am planning a visit to this place in a couple of months.

Deguide said...

Arun i heard two wheelers and bicycles are rented out, but i don t know where exactly it is available maybe you can contact Podi tourism office.

Geeta Singh said...

wonderful :)

Hair Hair Hair

जाट देवता (संदीप पवाँर) said...

लगता है कि यहाँ भी जाना ही पडेगा

Ambika said...

Nice tips on Pondi! I especially love the French-inspired parts of Pondi, very stylish buildings. And the city is well laid out, although I always get lost in its parallel streets :)

avinash

avinash
cannons ready to fire

About Me

My photo
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Basically i am down to earth, take friendship to its logical end. It is my endeavour to create a wealth of co-operative ventures. Basically being a marketing man i have the acumen to spot winners. I am privileged to travel the length and breadth of the country, courtsey my father, who was with Indianoil, my employers such as Nutrine, Kurl-on, Hindustan Pencils, Prestige, Crystal, Bell Ceramics, Pentel, Sezal, Commander. Currently i am involved in Tourism, Booking Air Tickets, Agent for Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited and Taj Group of Hotels and a numerous hotels across India. Depending on the needs of a traveller i would recommend the destination and accommodation best suited to their budget. Humour takes me on. Let us have a win win situation for all. I love travelling for sake of adventure, photography and discovering the heritage. Life is a journey and let us enjoy our drive. Come share your travel experience on indiabackpacker.