Pondicherry: A Colonial Paradise

It’s 4:45 a.m. I struggle to open my eyes at the sound of the alarm. A little disoriented, I look around. It takes some time to remind myself of where I am. And what I have to do.

I wake them up, and we head down to the beach, a spectacle of jagged rocks, waves hitting against them and spraying the water of the sea onto our faces. A cool breeze caresses, as the fishermen begin their journeys and the early morning walkers start their exercise. Any minute now.

The sky begins to change. Subtle. A hint of blue, the promise of a sun.

And then comes shades of lilac, brilliant orange, a smidge of pink, a dash of red…

And before I know it, it has arrived. Another new day.

Pondicherry is a union territory located near Tamil Nadu in India. Previously under rule of the French, following Indian Independence, Pondicherry became independent as well. However, traces of French culture still lie in its preserved architecture, mostly along the Rocky Beach and the French Colony, hinting strongly of Pondicherry’s colonial legacy.

But Pondicherry surprised me in so many ways, because it wasn’t just a place of beauty and history, it was a food lover’s paradise. One of the must try places in Pondicherry is Cafe Xtasi, where they make pizzas so huge you can feed a table of five, and the vegetarian pizzas are better than the meat pizzas. Another place that is worth a mention is the Indian Xpress Kaffe, which delivers wholesome filling breakfasts, and is equally proficient in both Continental and Indian Cuisine. Their waffles are just about as good as it gets.

The Gelato Place located on Beach Road is simply to die for. Along with normal flavours like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, they have really refreshing flavours like lemon and ginger, roast almond, raspberry (with real pieces of fruit!), and tiramisu.

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The best part about Pondicherry is that transport is so different from that in other crowded cities. Since the French Colony sees less traffic, it’s possible to cycle with ease. Filled with shady lanes and quaint neighborhoods, cycling along Beach Road and through the Colony allows you to feel the vibe of the area. In fact, taking accommodation in this area is the best choice. It’s very easy to rent cycles, and rates are usually cheap, at 100 rupees for the day. Visitors can contact the Tourism Office located on Beach Road and it is convenient for any other information you may require.

Pondicherry is not a party place, it’s not a place filled with young people, it’s not modern. It’s a place that revels in its past, lives in its history, and breathes in its culture…

That sunrise? That is what Pondicherry is all about. Being one with yourself. The calm before the commotion of life. It isn’t the most beautiful sunrise in the world, but it is the most beautiful feeling. And that is what makes it worth it.

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