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Pondicherry a French colonial settlement in India

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

A view of Rock Beach/Pondicherry Beach

The year: 2018. The objective: One was to get enrolled into a masters degree programme at the Pondicherry University. The result: A two days trip for the wanderlusts.

By E Kay

A few phone calls, a little bit of planning and date shifting and it was done. The vibrant town of Pondicherry it was. So we converged from the north, the east and the South at Chennai airport and after a delicious and mandatory sambar-rice lunch we set off for the "educational" trip. We were on a low budget trip as always, so from Chennai we hopped on a local bus and proceeded to the hip and happening Pondicherry.

The French War Memorial

The ride was comfortable enough considering the fact that the bus had no AC, rock hard seats, glassless windows and a very noisy hot engine. We managed to sit through the three hour journey to Pondicherry at throwaway ticket rates, at a 100rs. We started from Chennai at around 4pm thanks to a slight hiccup as the actual purpose of the journey was sidelined. Anyways, because of that slight detour, by the time we reached the beach town at around 7pm, it was already dark. We did pretty much nothing the first day/evening. The second day was packed. While a pair went about fulfilling the actual purpose, another went about the beaches in and around the Pondicherry University, like the Auroville beach and the Serenity beach. An hour or two was spent at Auroville which is an experimental township devoted to an experiment in human unity, situated about 6kms from the main town of Pondicherry. Founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (also known as "the Mother") and designed by architect Roger Anger, the name Auroville was given as a tribute to renowned Indian spiritual visionary Sri Aurobindo and translates to City of Dawn.

In the afternoon, we took a trip to Paradise Beach that is accessible by ferries and takes about 20 to 30 minutes to reach. The journey to the beach was beautiful as we passed by the backwaters abundant with birds and other #waterlife.

Rock Beach, or Pondicherry Beach is a popular stretch of beachfront about 1.2 kilometres along the Bay of Bengal. It starts from the War Memorial on one end and ends at the #Dupleix Park on the Goubert Avenue, a park dedicated to

Joseph Francois Dupleix, who was the governor of Pondicherry from 1742 to 1754. You will find a number of landmarks along this very popular beach like the French war Memorial, the Gandhi statue, cafes and so on.

The French legacy is preserved in the laidback town of Pondicherry as evident from the French Quarter situated just a few metres away from Rock Beach. The tree lined avenues, the fashionable #cafes, the #colourful well maintained #villas and #cottages leaves you nostalgic as you stroll around the area.

We spent a lot of time walking about the lanes in the French Quarter, admiring the architecture of a bygone era. After spending a blissful two days at Pondicherry, we then proceeded towards Pamban island and the town of Rameshwaram, but that's a whole new story altogether.

Paradise Beach
Serenity Beach
The Matri Mandir at Auroville
Enroute to Paradise Beach.



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