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Pondicherry : Exploring the French Town

India is undoubtedly nothing less than the utopia of an itinerant. Vast and disparate that it may be, each part of the country is in itself a marvel of nature. South being the land of heritage, beaches and temples comprises states that epitomise natural beauty and essence. Bound by south-eastern Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry is one such place. To visit a place and make the most of it  are two different things, and to achieve the latter, we bring to you a guide to the perfect Pondicherry trip. This enlists all the things that you cannot afford to miss out on when you visit the union territory!

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THE FRENCH QUARTERS – Pondicherry was once a French colony and its French quarters bear testament to this fact. Visiting the French quarters takes one back in time. The houses in this region are symbolic of the Franco-Tamil or Creole architecture. The French left in the early 1950’s but the heritage that remains is beautiful. 

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AUROVILLE – the city of dawn as it is better defined, definitely calls for a visit. The Matrimandir, which is a golden metallic sphere located in the centre of the town, is the abode of peace and tranquility. Auroville is a township that was envisioned by the Mother, spiritual partner of Sri Aurobindo. You cannot miss out on exploring Auroville, it is a different world altogether. I haven’t spent much time there myself but I promise I will write an entire blog on Auroville once I go back again.

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HERITAGE WALKS – Another exciting aspect of visiting the city is the Heritage walk in which one discovers the city by literally walking through the lanes of history. The four and a half hour tour will acquaint you with the past and the present heritage of the city. The tour starts at the Ashram Post Office and Hotel de I’Orient is the end point. The tour can be taken on any day  in the mornings or afternoons. There are many heritage walks groups that you can choose from. We walked around the city on our own and did the bike tour which was exciting.

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BEACHES – The union territory is home to some of the most scenic beaches of the country. If you’re looking forward to relaxing in the lap of nature, the Paradise beach is the perfect spot for you. Beach volleyball and eateries are some of the services that the beach offers. The Serenity beach with its enormous waves is another picturesque place that is meant for the adventure enthusiasts and is suitable for surfing.

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CHURCHES – Being the land of religion and culture, Pondicherry has some of the most beautiful churches where one can find peace and composure of the mind and body. Our Lady of Angels is the only church that offers mass in three languages :  French, Tamil and English. so next time you are there do not miss the mass in French!

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HANDCRAFT SHOPPING -Also, the local markets are a shopping paradise for all shopaholics and art lovers as they offer a plethora of handmade stuff and interior decorative material. Handicrafts and art pieces are other specialties of the place that are a ‘must shop’. I bought many tiny handmade books and bookmarks for my friends and myself. 

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CAFE CULTURE – Pondicherry  proves to be a utopia for all gourmands and connoisseurs. The union territory offers a plethora of restaurants and food outlets that serve delicacies one can relish and I bring to you some of the best restaurants you can’t afford to miss when you are in Pondicherry. I went to more than ten restaurants in three days and I have written a separate article on this which you can read here!

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