Pondicherry – French & Tamil fusion
While Pondicherry was once known as the French Riviera of the East (La Côte d'Azur de l'Est) and has retained the distinctive culture and architecture of their French heritage, it has also been substantially enriched by the Tamilian cuture.
Tamil culture and French influence blend unusually in this small town which remained under French rule for about 300 years.
Exuding intense colonial charm with beautiful avenues, tree lined boulevards, old cottages and French style buildings, it offers a heady mix of cultural synthesis and an enthralling experience to savour.The town is divided into French and Tamil quarters by a canal running from north-south. In the better planned French section, much of the architecture is typically Franco European, replete with French restaurants, churches, and a statue of Joan of Arc.
The dual personality of the city is revealed on the West side of the canal that has a quintessential Tamil character with rows of tile roofed buildings staggered by continuous wall to wall constructions.
The Portuguese first established a town here in the 16th century; they were followed by Danes. The Dutch also opened trade centres in Cuddalore and Porto Novo.
The French finally arrived in Puducherry in 1674 for trading. The 1st Governer General of The French establishment in India, Joseph Francois Dupleix developed Puducherry from a small town to a renowned port city. The Dutch took over Puducherry in 1693, but French regained its control in 1699. With the arrival of British officer Robert Clive, tussles with the French ensued and Puducherry was razed to rubble in 1761.
For the next 50 years relations between Britain and France kept deciding the reign of power here. In 1816, the French were given the control of Puducherry which lasted till 1954, even after the British left India.
Located 10 km from Pondicherry, Auroville is an experimental township where people of many nationalities live together. They work towards the goal of making this place a symbol of human unity in diversity. Lying in thick forested land, Auroville offers calm and tranquility to peace lovers. It was founded in 1968 and today boasts of 15 organic farmlands and houses with solar electricity. It follows the principles established by Shri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfalssa, the mother. Auroville offers meditation classes.
This little city has caught the fascination of many for its calm and serenity, the heavy French and Portuguese influence on its design and lifestyle and a sumptuous cuisine that is a unique and vibrant fusion of Tamil and French cooking that has also borrowed from Indian, Portuguese and Malaysian cooking. In Pondicherrian cuisine, many typically French dishes have been adapted to suit tastebuds used to spicier Indian food yet with minimal use of spices.
Since Pondicherry is right next to the sea, the seafood served here is fresh and varied. Crabs, prawns, squids and different varieties of local fishes are available in most of the popular restaurants. Vegetarians, vegans and meat lovers need not feel left out, since there is enough and more for them too.
Nearby Destination sand attractions
Nearest Airport :Chennai Airport (150 km / 3.5 hrs)
Best time to visit and Climate :
The best time to visit Pondicherry is between January - April.
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