"Pondicherry: Relaxing & Charming" Top 5 Page for this destination Pondicherry by Donna_in_India
Pondicherry Travel Guide: 187 reviews and 434 photos
Pondicherry is a small town located on the East coast of Southern India, a few hours drive south of Chennai. Its earliest history dates back to pre-historic days when it is believed that it was the seat for the great sage, Agasthya. At the time it was known as Vedapuri.
The excavations at Arikenmedu are proof that later, Pondicherry was a fishing village that was one of the major ports of trade during the Greco-Roman period. Artifacts from the excavations are preserved at the Pondicherry Museum and well worth a look.
Pondicherry then came under the Pallavas, Cholas, Vijayangara Kingdom and sultans. Sometime later several European settlements (Dutch, Portuguese, Danes, English and French) stepped in. They all influenced the city.
But it was the French who controlled Pondicherry for almost 300 years. Pondicherry was settled by the French in the early 18th century. Although the French reliquished control of Pondicherry 50+ years ago, the French influence is still there.
The French Quarter has colorful heritage buildings - villas with gardens and flowers. Streets are named Rue Bazar Saint-Laurent and Rue Labourdonnais. Local police wear red kepis (caps). French food is served in restaurants and cafes. You'll hear French spoken in the streets - many locals speak French. And you'll find many French tourists as well.
The French Quarter is set up in a grid pattern that makes walking so easy and enjoyable. Another wonderful way to get around is to rent a bicycle. Words you will hear to describe Pondicherry include quaint and charming. And it is both. I would add laidback and relaxing.
The French Quarter butts up to the Promenade along the Bay of Bengal. Traffic is minimal - although "Beach Road" (Goubert Ave) can become busy at night. Pondicherry is much quieter and calmer than most Indian cities. But there is an Indian side (Tamil Quarter) as well, which should be explored.
Even though Pondicherry has many interesting churches, parks, beaches, monuments, museums, etc., it is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram that draws visitors from around the world. There are Ashram buildings, shops, guesthouses, and workshops all around the city. Everyone (over 3 years old) is welcome to visit the Ashram. (Additional information is on my Ashram tip.)
This is a delightful place to spend a few days exploring!
- Pros:Laidback, Relaxing, & Charming.
- Cons:Hot & Humid!!
- In a nutshell:A great place to escape the bustle of India
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Donna_in_India's Related Pages
Pondicherry Travel Guide
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- "Pondicherry: Relaxing & Charming"
- "Pondicherry - Just nice!!!"
- "Pondy- Serene and beautiful!"
- "Pondicherry - India's French Connection"
- "Pondicherry - The French Town"
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- Transportation in Pondicherry
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- Warnings and Dangers in Pondicherry
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