Pondicherry – The City with a Split Personality

Bathed by the Bay of Bengal, infused with colors and cleanliness, Pondy is rather an affectionate nickname coined for the ecumenical Union Territory of Puducherry. The trip to Pondicherry was a much cherished one. While a few acquaintances questioned our plan to spend 4 whole days in Pondicherry as there are not enough touristy things to do around, we kind of stuck to it, as the plan was not to hop around but to just sit back and soak in. As clichéd as it may sound, we wanted that perfect ‘Eat, pray, love’ undertone to this vacation on our 4th marriage anniversary and boy, was it one!

We ate our hearts out at the countless colonial eateries in the French quarter, attended meditation sessions at the Auroville, and loved every bit of those moments when we sat on the boulders by the sea as the sun set – all of it was surreal. Pondy surprises in ways more than one can imagine.

One can well appreciate the French-Tamil line of cleavage once you go around a little on those pastel-toned scooties. The town is divided into two sections: the French Quarter (Ville Blanche or ‘White town’) and the Indian quarter (Ville Noire or ‘Black Town). The plan of the city of Puducherry is based on the old French grid pattern and features neat perpendicular streets. In the French quarter, the buildings are typically in Colonial style, and many streets still retain French names. They are referred to as Rues and Boulevards, and have a hearty dash of quaintness, sophistication and quirk to it. The Indian quarter on the other hand, is more rustic, consisting of houses with broad verandas, big wooden pillars, dotted with filter coffee joints and of course, shops selling steel utensils!

The French Riviera of the East, Pondicherry is very much a city with a dual personality that will just make one fall in love with it.

So here’s us sharing some snapshots of our trip.


Pink and Pretty


Pastel colored scooties that can be hired to go around the city
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Squeaky clean streets lined by picturesque buildings
The Promenade Beach, that remains closed to traffic from 6PM to 7AM,  is any walker’s paradise
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The perfect place for an evening stroll
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Idyllic Times
Yet another villa, yet another Rue
Almost every alternate house in the French colony has been transformed into luxury heritage hotels or eat-outs
Even Rikshas stick to the color code
Graffitis strewn all over the white town, adds to the quirk quotient



The picture changes sharply as we move into the Tamil Quarters



You know you are in the Tamil Quarter when you spot one of these…yes they love their steel utensils
How can coffee not be there !


Temples can be found at every corner in this quarter
Jumbo Blessings


PS: Stay tuned for more of EATING OUT IN PONDY

(Devlina, in her own words, is “Just another Bengali woman proud of her Rabindrasangeet and Rosogolla roots ….. a psychiatry resident, still picking up the shells on the Freudian shore !”

Click for her other articles on Blong…Shong)


21 thoughts on “Pondicherry – The City with a Split Personality

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