Amita's Guide to Pondicherry
Located on the Southeast coast of India, Pondicherry also known as Puducherry is the perfect destination to absorb the melodic fusion of various cultures. Travel back in time as you marvel at the antiquity Pondicherry has to offer through their preserved architecture and design. Transport yourself from culture to culture with every corner you turn. It was once a French colonial settlement in India until 1954, and is now a Union Territory town of India. From earlier settlement, the French have left behind a lot of their culture which can still be found deeply rooted into the infrastructure of Pondicherry.
Some of the structures are said to have been dated over a century year old and now have been turned into hotels and mausoleums for the public to view. Its legacy is shown in its French Quarter with tree-lined streets, stunning mustard-colored villas, French/Indian fusion cuisine and chic fashion filled boutiques. One thing that you will find apparent about Pondicherry is the energy of unity in the atmosphere. The structures themselves emit their own individual energy which adds to the collective diversity that makes Pondicherry.
Travel with us as we uncover the treasures and gems that Pondicherry has to offer!
Welcome to Auroville! Located just north of Pondicherry. This township is meant to be a universal town where people from all walks of life are able to live in peace and progressive harmony. To this day the progressive mindset of love and unity is embedded in the ambiance of Auroville from their cultural diffused cuisines and architecture to their diverse community of teachers, artist, writers and healers. Auroville is also known as “the City of Dawn”. The name derives from the french language, “aurore” - meaning dawn and “ville”- meaning city. There are a lot of activities to enjoy like Yoga, Tai-Chi and Watsu. The variety of things to do increases during the visitors' season from December to March. Auroville is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Pondicherry, India.
One of their more renowned landmarks that you’ll find while visiting is the Matrimandir Dome. Matrimandir means "Temple of the Mother" in Sanskrit. This architectural cocoon of peace and quietude has been said to first appear in various visions of The Mother during the birth of Auroville. Aside from the eye catching and exquisite architecture of the golden dome design the meditative atmosphere will encapsulate you into a state of peace and reflection.
La Villa Hotel is a 19th century mansion recreating the charm of yesterday. The French Colonial flair and mid-century modern decor creates an atmosphere of rustic elegance you wouldn’t find elsewhere. La Villa is one of the oldest standing structures of Pondicherry despite what the newly pristine white interior and wood embellished designs would have you believe. If you’re in search for food, you won’t have to go far. The Villa restaurant is located in the garden beneath the arches of the Villa. The restaurant effortlessly blends Indian and French cuisines throughout their unique variety of entrees. Though items are dependent on the season, you’ll always be met with a menu full of rich flavors and varying textures to satisfy any pallet.
The Patricia Guest House is one of the more French influenced structures within Pondicherry located in the heart of the white city. The Guest House is a family heirloom that was bought by Patricia’s great grandfather who was a merchant. As you walk past the bold and vibrant yellow exterior you’re instantly engulfed in its lively and energetic essence. This hotel is one of the few refurbished houses, along with La Villa, redesigned to accommodate guests. With open courtyards, furnished balconies and wooden furniture Patricia Guest House is one of the go to’s when it comes to accommodations and comfort. Patricia Guest House allows you to feel as connected to the community as much as it allows you time for seclusion of reflection and peace.
Palais de Mahe
One of the most luxurious hotels in Pondicherry is Palais de Mahe. Perfectly situated in the French Quarter of Pondicherry. Palais de Mahe features splendid French architectural patterns that will immediately capture your attention. The building is designed according to the French colonial building styles. A stay in here is truly memorable.
The table of Host is an absolute must try when visiting. Their cooking can satisfy even the most pickiest of eaters. Chez Pushpa and her husband pay homage to their hometown with the creation of the most authentic Pondicherry cuisine through teaching cooking classes. This is not your typical cooking class, you’ll enjoy intimate nature of their cooking lessons that remove you from vacation and bring you back home to your family and loved ones. Request a date and be ready to spend 2-3 hours in the loving hands of Pondicherry’s native and home-chef, Chez Pushpa.
Villa Shanti is where you can go to find the perfect fusion of European and Indian cultures. Treat yourself to snacks inspired by Indian street food at the Villa Shanti café bar or sit for an indulgent menu at the restaurant where continental dishes are served. With gorgeous beaches, beautiful shops, unforgettable cuisine and plenty of sites to see, Pondicherry may be one of the best hidden gems of India. From intellectual museums, meditation halls to extravagant botanical gardens, there’s a bit of something here for everyone to enjoy.
May beauty inspire your heart to travel!