Pondicherry is a famous city in Puducherry, one of the Union Territories of India. Pondicherry was named after Puducherry which originated from Putucceri, which translates to ‘new town’ in Tamil. It is located in the South-eastern coast of India and is surrounded by the state of Tamil Nadu.
Pondicherry, the former French colony, is a perfect amalgamation of the conventional Indian susceptibilities and French architecture, making it an illusive yet pleasant escape that offers the taste of both the lifestyles. A walk down the streets of this city can give us a deep insight into French heritage with the colonial structures and line along a grid of streets covered with bougainvillea bushes on the sides.
Due to its French history and being in Southern India, the cuisine is greatly inspired by a blend of both the cultures. Although rice is observed to be a staple food here and being a coastal town, it has an inclusion of a lot of fish dishes. Being culturally rich, many festivals are celebrated with some traditions dating back to a century or two back. Agriculture is one of the prime occupations here, Pongal (the festival of harvest) is celebrated around January. Masi magam, Mangani, etc. are celebrated with beliefs in certain deities. International Yoga Festival has also celebrated in January gathering the international yoga community and arranging seminars, shows and practices.
While considering the rich cultural heritage aspect of this town, one cannot just forget the beautiful coastline this town is blessed with, along with some great tourist destinations that attract multiple tourists every year. First, that comes to the mind is the Promenade beach. It is a famous stretch of beachfront that extends from War Memorial to the Dupleix Park on the Goubert Ave. This city is filled with churches, basilicas, and temples from the ancient heritage which are not just architecturally good but also well maintained till date. Vardharaja Temple and Thirukameshwarar Temple were built during the 12th century and still stand spectacularly well.
Another interesting destination is Auroville–a spiritual city and meditation center located just about 20 minutes north of the town. As this city is greatly inspired by Sri Aurobindo and his contribution to Yoga, there is an ashram and an education center under his name along with his samadhi.
Overall, Pondicherry is not just a city with a treat to the eyes with attractive places but also a delight to the mind and heart with its historical heritage and its love for the culture and yoga.