[Photo story]: Pondicherry, a sensory treat

Pondicherry or India’s French town as it is fondly known, is one of the most popular sea towns of the country. Each year, thousands of travelers flock to explore this French utopia, situated farthest south in India. My earliest memories of Pondicherry, though, lie in my childhood, on a joint family trip, my mom had planned. We scavenged through southern most towns from Mumbai and then eventually ended our trip back in Chennai at Marina Beach. To be honest, I don’t have many clear memoirs drawn, except for some ‘sadhu museum’ which in fact is the Auroville village, I am told now. Last year, when I had the chance to tour Pondicherry, I decided to make the best out of it and make it a trip (this time around, I would remember.) So, I decided to focus on a theme, that I would come to cherish. That was the architecture– the soul of the place.  As luck, would have it, I returned to Mumbai, to attend an exhibition hosted by Bhau Daji Lad Musuem in Mumbai and the Netherlands Consulate in Mumbai, which flipped by notions about the French Pondicherry 360 degrees.

Pondicherry is usually called a French town as it was under the French influence and a french colony for a long time, whose influences can be seen in its food, architecture, way of life, etc. However, my mind was quite blown away, when I was told that the earliest architectural plans of this sea-town were drawn by the Dutch and not the French! Unfortunately, I missed exploring the Dutch remains and ended up focusing more on discovering the ‘French slice’ in India. Some day, perhaps, I will visit again to unlearn the French code and learn the Dutch code, the town abides by. But till then, here are a few glimpses of the Pondicherry, I captured through my lens:

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The East Coast Road (ECR) makes for a beautiful ride from Chennai to Pondicherry

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The mandatory southern filter kapi (coffee)

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Pondicherry is divided into Black and White Town. The Black town essentially symbolizes the native Tamilians who inhabit the place. Tamil town is full of green building like these

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A simple life, A roadside hut

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A dog cooling his heels in the backwaters of the sea, a very usual routine

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A town with vast green spaces is what the doctor ordered right for!

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The Matri mandir, the center of life in Pondicherry

 

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A textured Pondicherry, the beach

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The architecture is reminiscent of towns of 20th century Europe

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No, not Europa. It is India!

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The ‘White Town’ section of Pondicherry, painted with the whites and yellows. Historically, the white colonist space which housed the Dutch and then the French. 

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Apparently, this is the tallest statue of Mahatma Gandhi, in whole of the world

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Doors of Pondicherry

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Architecture of its own

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Wonder, what stories behind the closed doors enclose…

 

 

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10 thoughts on “[Photo story]: Pondicherry, a sensory treat

  1. Lovely photo post. Pondicherry is beautiful no doubt. It has an infectious calm and I so love the doors here. I prefer to call the quarters French and tamil though. And as much as I admire the French quarters I love the rustic charm of the Tamil quarters too.

    Like

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