Pondicherry Heritage Walk on Tamil Quarter area
Pondicherry (Now also called “Puducherry’) is an erstwhile French Colony at 160 kms South of Chennai and now a renowned beach and heritage getaway. A walk around heritage bylanes could be an endearing experience for an experiential traveler.
The buildings in the Tamil streets are characterized by rows of tiled roofed buildings almost joined together by continuous wall-to-wall constructions. While the older buildings more or less retain their “Tamilness”, the later constructions have acquired certain gallic features behind the Tamil facades. A synthesis of these two styles has resulted in a town that has a unique ‘Franco Tamil’ architectural identity.
Though unsympathetic modifications and extensions have ruined many wonderful samples of the native quarters, increasing awareness and work by certain non-governmental agencies like the INTACH, have ensured restoration of some of the structures.
Places that could be covered
Easwaran Koil - Also called the Vedapureeswar Koil, this is just 50 meters from the Varadharaja temple. These two temples act as a nucleus around which the town evolved.
Easwaran Koil Street Houses - The wall to wall construction of houses give the Tamil street a homogenous look. All houses have a thalvaram (a covered verrandah that extends almost to the street) and a thinnai (a semi private space with benches for pilgrims and visitors). The central courtyard is the most distinctive feature inside the Tamil house.
Bharathi Museum - This building became the residence of the Tamil poiet and nationalist, Bharathi who sought refuge here from the British. The building in the typical tamil style is now a museum containing Bharathi’s works.
Rangapillai Mansion - Residence of Anandha Rangapillai, the former Dubash to the French Governor. Get permission to visit.
Starting Point - Easwaran Koil (Temple)
Walk ends at VOC School
Distance covered - 2 kms
Approximate time taken - 1 hour
Seasonality: October To March