Have you ever fancied visiting the French quarter? Well, I have! I can go on and on about how much I have always admired it all my life. The beauty of the French Quarter is unlike anything I have ever seen. It is just as quaint as it is enthralling! Oh, and before you get me all wrong, I am talking about Pondicherry. The city is officially referred to as Puducherry and is one of India’s seven Union Territories.
What has always piqued my interest in Pondicherry (lovingly called Pondy) is its French Colony or the French Quarter. An amalgam of the traditional Indian sensibilities and the quaint French architecture makes it an unlikely but dreamlike place that offers you the best of both worlds!
The French Quarter is indeed stunning by all means, but it is only after I visited the wondrous Pondy that I realised the city was so much more than just the French Quarter; the city is a true gem!
Pondicherry and its sightseeing potential are beyond amazing; I fell in love with the city on my first sightseeing tour of Pondicherry. Since then, I have visited Pondy more times than I can count. The city’s authentic French bakeries, bohemian stores and cobble-stoned paths that are absolutely delightful for taking a stroll or bicycle ride; come on, what’s not to love! It’s no surprise that Pondicherry is one of the top 5 trending touring destinations in India.
My experience of the ‘French Riviera of the East’
Just as I stepped in town, I was acquainted with a peculiar vibe, one that is a blend of spiritual aura, colonial heritage, Tamil culture, and the cosmopolitan flair. Specific to Pondicherry, this vibe is just as relaxing as it is invigorating. Each time I have gone sightseeing the local wonders in Pondicherry, I have been mesmerised by the city’s quaint colonial heritage buildings, the unambiguous French connection, the spiritual sceneries, the tree-lined boulevards and the endless stretches of unspoilt virgin beaches and backwaters. The experience is nothing less than divine!
Moreover, the streets of Pondicherry’s French Quarter, also famed as the White Town, are dotted with charming mustard-yellow colonial structures that have their walls laden with flamboyant bougainvillaea. Another thing that I absolutely loved was the interspersed cafes and chic boutiques that offered delectable French cuisine and beverages. The French Quarter did feel dreamlike; in fact, it felt like living in a dream that I wished would never end.
Despite the fact that I have visited the city multiple times, I cannot wait to go back to the lovely Pondicherry. If you too plan to go touring and sightseeing in Pondicherry, remember to visit the places mentioned above and do explore the place wholeheartedly. You’d be more than happy to have done that!
If you too plan to one day go sightseeing in Pondicherry and rejoice its beauty, I would suggest you that don’t skip the following sightseeing places in Pondicherry:
Pondy’s Beaches (especially the Promenade, Paradise and the Rock Beach)
Most Pondicherry sightseeing packages include Pondy’s beaches; and well, they better! Because after visiting the amazing Pondy so many times, I’ve realised that a lot of the city’s grandeur comes from its beaches. The tranquillity of taking an early morning walk on these serene beaches is breathtaking, to say the least. The beaches here, especially the Promenade, Paradise and the Rock Beach, are more than just sightseeing wonders of Pondicherry; the streets radiate with fun, food, and frolic.
Every evening that I have spent at the beach, I have been hypnotized by its charm; it’s glorious! Besides that, Pondy’s beaches are very clean and well kept; they are just as pretty, if not more than, as they seem when you do an image search! What’s more, are the water sports that one can enjoy here! I had a ball indulging myself in scuba diving, and parasailing. But there’s more, you can even do boating, canoeing and kayaking here. I must say, my sightseeing tour of Pondicherry ended up to be something so much more than a sightseeing excavation!
Basilica of Sacred Heart of Jesus
Pondicherry has a pleasantly overwhelming number of extremely beautiful churches. There hasn’t been a time that I’ve not gawked at them! The unequivocal French resemblances in the structures and architectures of Pondy’s churches make them some of the local sightseeing gems in Pondicherry. I am especially fond of the Basilica of the sacred heart of Jesus that is situated on the south boulevard. This is an architectural masterpiece and an oriental specimen of Gothic architecture built in the year 1895. I even attended a Christian wedding in the church; and boy, was the experience sublime.
Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville
My wanderlust has always been driven by the pursuit of peace and tranquillity, which is why I could not have skipped the Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville. I must say, that the experience was physically rejuvenating, mentally refreshing, spiritually reinvigorating and individualistically empowering to say the least. I even managed to find accommodation in the ashram; although, it was only possible as I had communicated them a prior notice.
However, my most spiritually active moments were spent sauntering over to the enchanting city of Dawn, Auroville. Taking those languorous walks in Auroville was the best thing I did in my tour to Pondicherry. Built by some of the best people from across the globe who came together to form the Auroville as a universal, non-religious township and an international community dedicated to peace, harmony, sustainable living, and 'divine consciousness'. The thought alone of a place like this existing seemed too hard to believe, but trust me, once I did visit Auroville, I was acquainted with one of the most spiritually charged places in all of the world! I would encourage you too to visit the Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville if you plan to go sightseeing in Pondicherry one day.
Pondicherry is a marvellous city; a city that houses rues and boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses, bakeries, Basilicas and chic boutiques. I cannot stress enough about how much I love the city. Pondicherry’s list of sightseeing places, its culture, spiritual appeal, cuisine, people and most importantly its beaches are etched into my memories like beautiful artwork; these have been memories of exploring, moments of pure joy! If you think that sums up the greatness of Pondicherry, witness people falling in love on a moonlit beachside or soothe your soul at the call of ringing church bells. Once you do that, you’ll know exactly the kind of jouissance I associate when I talk of Pondicherry.