Pondicherry Heritage Getaway
Pondicherry (Now also called “Puducherry’) is an erstwhile French Colony at 160 kms South of Chennai. A remarkable degree of French influence in Pondicherry exists to this date. Pondicherry was designed based on the French (originally Dutch) grid pattern and features neat sectors and perpendicular streets.
The town is divided into two sections: the French Quarter and the Tamil quarter. Many streets still retain their French names, and French style villas are a common sight. In the French quarter, the buildings are typically colonial style with long compounds and stately walls. The Indian quarter consists of houses lined with verandas and houses with large doors and grills. These French and Indian style houses are identified and their architecture preserved from destruction by an organization named INTACH.
A Walk down the heritage bylanes is very charming. Bylanes are home to some small charming restaurants. A romantic evening meal at a restaurant serving French, European or India cuisine could be a romantic experience. Guests can walk around visit Aurobindo Ashram, do some shopping in Aurobindo Ashram designated shops that sell goods manufactured by Ashram, French Church, French War memorial, botanical garden, the promenade etc.
There are several Churches in and around Pondicherry that are of architectural significance. Auroville Commune (12 kms) nearby is also an architectural case study by itself and a major tourist attraction.
French heritage in Cuisine is still intact in Pondicherry with several hotels and restaurants serving French cuisine. Use of French language is still common.
Around Pondicherry there is Gingee Fort (70 kms), which is one of the few forts worth a visit in Tamilnadu. The fort is situated at a height of 800 ft and consists of three hills, connected by walls enclosing an area of 7 square kilometres. Guests travelling from Bangalore can visit Gingee fort enroute. Thiruvannamalai is only 40 kms from here.
Pondicherry is full of small heritage hotels in every segment (Budget to premium) that are charming and huge on style and character. Some of them are right in heart of French Quarter and Tamil Quarter area. These are popular with heritage travellers because of convenience of the location and experience that they offer.
Pondicherry is a compelling getaway for heritage travellers looking for a mix of walks, heritage monuments, architecture and some lovely heritage cuisine alongwith a stay in small and charming heritage hotels.
Recommended stay Duration – 2 to 3 nights Season – October To March