Blessed with seafront boulevards, wide pathways, charming scenic beauty, rich and enduring traditions of French culture, and the popular ashram, Pondicherry, is unlike any other travel destination throughout South India. It could sound rather surprising that due to former French colonization, way back in the 18th century, the state still retains a moderate Gallic background superimposed on a traditional Indian culture.
The French relinquished their influence on the Union Territory of 'Pondy’, as it was known then and still now. A major highlight of the state is its alluring and sumptuous delicacies, served at restaurants, which constitute mostly the French cuisines, and some of the luxury that still holds the magnificent French architectural heritage. The streets outlined still holds the French names such as Rue St. Louis, Rue Dupuy, or Rue St. Gilles.
Topography of Pondicherry
The city of Pondicherry is alienated into two parts by a canal, and all the major roads that run parallel to one other that leads to the offshore. As there is no harbor at Pondicherry, ships have to be anchored about 2 to 3 kilometers offshore, though the roadstead was once measured as the best along the Coromondel Coast. All across the state are artisan wells that provide water for irrigation purpose. The chief crops include rice, sugarcane, peanuts and cotton. The main industrial sectors are related to manufacturing of textiles, timber, paper and electrical appliances.
Culture of Pondicherry
The major languages spoken in this region include Tamil, Telegu and Malayalam. While Tamil is spoken predominantly in the southern parts of the state, Malayalam is predominant in the districts of Mahe, and Telegu is widely spoken in the district of Yanam. There are mainly four religions. Hinduism forms the bulk of all these four religions, while Christianity stands in the second place. Other minority sects include Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.
Tourism of Pondicherry
The French townships transport tourists to the former magical era with its colonial bungalows, verdant pathways, and courtyards that spill over with different variety of bougainvilleas. The famous Shri Aurobindo Ashram is a big attraction for the spiritually inclined people. Many tourists come here to learn meditation and Yoga and there is always a large group of foreigners in Pondicherry from all across the world. It is a peaceful and serene place with the Samadhi of the Shri Aurobindo Ghosh and Mother beneath the shade of a tree. The entire setting within the ashram is subtly enhanced by the fragrance of blossoming flowers. Auroville, just a 30 minute ride from Pondicherry was established in the year 1968 by the Mother as a commute for world citizens to live in communal harmony in lap of nature. Tourists can take a trip to the Matri Mandir. A journey through the thickly wooded commune and tree-houses and a view of the solar kitchen is highly recommended.
Pondicherry offers a dash of Indo-French flavor that manifests itself in pleasant surprises scattered all over the town. All those who come to this place would be definitely lured to make visits again, to revive their old memories and create new ones.