Pondicherry’s history has been quite tragic. As soon as the French set up their tiny little corner in Pondicherry, it was captured by the Dutch. While the French managed to take Pondicherry back, it was again sacked and destroyed by the British.
And even after Pondicherry had joined independent India, it continued to languish. This sorry state of affairs continued for quite some time until Pondicherry turned itself into a glammed-up version of its tragic past, which is like looking at India through a French pair of binoculars.
Lying on the East Coast of Tamil Nadu and around 163 km from Chennai, Puducherry, as it is officially called, is one of the seven Union Territories of India. A tiny coastal town with just about a million people living in harmony, Pondy is certainly a place that deserves your time and attention. Artsy and ‘too-French’ in design, this beautiful town has some of the cleanest beaches in India, quirkiest cafes for those perfect Instagram stories and serene Auroville for the restless heart.
Pondy offers a rather striking juxtaposition – the 3 and 4 storeyed dingy buildings that populate the poorer quarters vs the catholic churches, cobbled streets, quaint French cafes and the pale white, blue and yellow buildings of the French quarters. And the fact that you get to see all this in a tiny nugget sized coastal town makes it even more fascinating.
The peace and serenity of the Frenchified areas in Pondicherry afford the illusion of being outside India. For once, there will be no hawkers, vendors, horns blaring, no traffic or chaos. As has been said correctly, there is not much to see in Pondicherry, but there’s a lot to feel here. So expecting a vacation full of outdoor activities would be quite foolish.
Pondicherry never fails to amaze its visitors – be it Indian or foreigners. Indians love how French women drape a saree like they have worn it all their life. And foreigners like how this tiny little corner in South India makes them feel right at home.
While French attempts at colonization turned out to be fruitless, Indians have found a way of making money out of this legacy they left behind.
Everything in Pondicherry is too good to be true – be it the cobbled streets, the smell of freshly baked bread, filter coffee or the Tamil quarters that have houses painted in darker shades of green or red, and of course, too many Vespas parked randomly around the town forcing you to take out your phone to click a picture.
Let the affair with Pondicherry begin!