Puducherry or Pondicherry as it was formerly known was part of French India, i.e., the parts of India which the French controlled. The largest city, located in south-eastern Tamil Nadu, about 150 kilometres south of Chennai still retains some of its Francophile identity. This, along with the presence of traditional Tamil elements makes for a very unique place.
With a fantastic beach and many tourist delights, read on to find out what makes Puducherry an amazing holiday destination!
A Unique Destination:
Puducherry is a quiet town on the southern coast of India. The entire planning and layout of this town still retains a unmistakable French Connection. This and the tree lined boulevards, the quaint colonial heritage buildings, the spiritual sceneries, the endless stretches of virgin beaches and backwaters and a surprising choice of restaurants serving a mélange of cuisines make for experiences that are so unique that they draw travelers from not only India, but all around the world.
The blend of French Influence in India coupled with some very distinctive colonial aspects, Tamil Culture and the cosmopolitan melting pot it has been for the many souls who have built their lives here has given rise to a special aura that resonates throughout the entire town. This is obvious along the promenade near the sea-shore, one of the older areas in this town.
Places to Visit:
Being a small town compared to an urban metropolis, you should try to explore this destination in its entirety during your stay here. Check out the colonial buildings, some of which date back to the 18th century, stretch along a grid of clean straight streets which house French institutions, Hotels, Guest Houses, Restaurants, Boutiques and private homes. There’s an almost Mediterranean vibe to many localities here.
An iconic hallmark of Puducherry is Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Founded by Sri Aurobindo, the ashram grew under the stewardship of Mirra Alfasa, (The Mother) and has seen a plethora of people staying here, away from their hectic lives and trying to fulfil a sense of attainment in their lives. Auroville was envisioned as a Universal Town, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs, can live in peace and harmony. It is an attempt to realize a new society as envisioned by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Nearly people from 35 countries are living here to realize on human unity and transformation of consciousness.
Auroville welcomes people from all parts of the world to live together and explore cultural, educational, scientific, spiritual, and other pursuits in accordance with the Auroville Charter. Visitors to this area are greeted by mellow hues of cream, yellow, pink and grey compound walls interspersed by flamboyant bougainvillea bursting over gates and walls of courtyards.
Place du Panthéon / Aayi mandapam and Bharti park: This monument is the emblem of the Government of Pondicherry, previously called as La Place du Panthéon and later change into Aayi mandapam. This monument is surround by five parks, and is maintained to remind us the beauty of French architecture.
Also, don’t forget to check out the iconic botanical park and the zoo which formed an important part of the award-winning novel ‘Life of Pi’ and was seen in the movie based on the book.
A Gateway of Tamil Nadu:
One of the best things about Puducherry or Pondi is that it not only has some amazing attractions, but also serves as the perfect base to explore the rich destinations of Tamil Nadu around it. The international City of Unity, the imposing Gingee Fort, the holy temple towns of Kanchipuram, Thiruvannamalai and Chidambaram, the heritage sculptures and magnificent rock temples of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) and the cool lush hill stations of Yercaud and Kodaikanal are all within reasonable distance and if time permits, should be part of your travel agenda.
Fete De Puducherry:
This is festival of culture and it occurs on November 30th. It coincides with the Liberation Day and the Independence Day of Pondicherry, as it was known then. The Government of Puducherry organizes free evening cultural presentation in various places of the city. If you are visiting during this time, be sure to soak in the vibe of this great festival.
Putting it all Together:
Puducherry is an eclectic mix of French and Tamil culture, civilization and history. Add to the fact that it’s been a melting pot for many cultures is something truly extraordinary. For the ultimate experience, you want a place that translates all of a destination’s qualities into a serene, picturesque resort that exudes the local vibe. With convenient access to the iconic buildings, monuments and attractions, the beautiful Club Mahindra resort in Puducherry is definitely one of the best places to stay.
With Vacation Ownership, the signature offering of Club Mahindra, you truly get to vacation at amazing resorts like the one in Puducherry and 39 others across India and abroad. What’s more is that with a seven night/eight day stay every year, this can be the fabric of magical moments that you cherish forever.