Settled in the early 18th century by the French, Pondicherry on the Bay of Bengal in the state of Tamil Nadu has a Gallic flavour. Relinquished by the French in 1954, the town became the headquarters of the Union Territory of Pondicherry, administering three other former French enclaves scattered across South India.
There is, however, an enduring legacy of the Gallic rule. The first French governor Dupleix designed Pondicherry’s street plan, which still today consists of a central grid encircled by a broad oblong boulevard. Many streets still possess their Gallic names. Streets near the seafront are dotted with rows of houses that wouldn’t look out of place in Montpellier. Red Parisian style kepis (caps) are worn by the local constabulary, bake houses produce croissants and restaurants churn out quality Gallic-inspired cuisine. The town’s seaside promenade is a good place to stroll and people watch. The Hotel de Ville, which today houses municipal offices is impressive as is the Gandhi memorial, Government Place – a leafy provincial-style square and Raj Nivas, former home of Dupleix.
A short distance away on Rue de la Marine is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Established in 1926 by the Bengali philosopher-guru, Aurobindo Ghosh (1872 – 1950), spiritual authority was subsequently passed to a foreign devotee known as ‘The Mother’ who died in 1973. Many travellers come to Pondicherry to visit the popular ashram, whose spiritual tenets combine yoga and modern science, and to view Samadhi, or mausoleum of Sri Aurobindo and ‘The Mother’.
Here are some popular itineraries for a trip to Pondicherry
If you are planning a Pondicherry holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:
La Maison Tamoule Pondicherry
Originally belonging to a traditional Chettiar Family, this bungalow blends the French architectural style and Tamil heritage living. It has been meticulously renovated to its glorious past.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Pondicherry Tailor made suggestions
Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to Pondicherry.