Having backpacked through the greater part of the country, I am always on the lookout for the next travel haunt and my search ends (for now) with Puducherry. This offbeat little union territory soaked in Indo-French culture has been softly beckoning me to leave my busy life behind and explore it's historic lanes, for some time now. And the more I read about it, the more irresistible becomes the city's hold over me. So I will list down the reasons why I plan to visit Puducherry next, hoping that my obsession inspires you too.
1. Because walking through the 'Ville Noir' is just like walking through time.
The Tamil Quarters, also known, as the “Ville Noir” contains such beautifully preserved old-timey buildings that it actually feels like you've been transported back in time. I've only seen pictures from my peers' vacation and it is already making me long for a trip there.
2. Because nowhere else would you find the French culture so seamlessly melting in with ours.
A walk through the streets of Puducherry would instantly transport you to the French Quarters of New Orleans. The classical French influence on architecture namely the white houses with dark shutters and bougainvillaea trees dotting every street lends a distinctly Mediterranean feel. I can almost imagine living in a pristine white private house on Rue Romaine Rolland and have a lazy brunch at Palais De Mahe.
3. Because its many pristine beaches are perfect for a beach bum like me.
Knowing me, I'd probably be 'vegging out' at the first decent beach that I can find. To that end, Puducherry's many stunning beaches will be putting up a formidable fight for supremacy. The Promenade, Serenity Beach, Auroville waterfront and the famous Paradise Beach are just some of the sandy beaches that I have on my bucket list. I've also been looking forward to taking a long walk along Goubert Avenue and experience the mesmerising melee of sun, sand, surf and Ocean Spray Pondicherry.
4. Because the 'French-tipped' town is all my shopping dreams come true.
I've been meaning to visit the ever-crowded Mission Street, ever since my research on Puducherry began. Said to be the home to exquisite linens, silver jewellery, handmade candles, sweet-smelling incense and vintage bric-a-brac, the city has something for all. I'll most definitely be packing an extra suitcase for all the stuff I bring back from there.
5. Because the city's nightlife is a hoot and a half.
Puducherry is a haven for party-lovers, especially due to the tax exemption on liquor. I've heard wonderful things about Le Space rooftop bar, most of which includes rave reviews on the food and the generally chilled out ambience. Here's to savouring some of the finest single malts with a chic crowd amid dazzling neon lights. Puducherry, here I come!
6. Because Auroville, 'nuff said!
To those who have not heard of Auroville before, it is one of India's newest experimental towns, building its way into the modern world with the only goal of integrating unity in diversity. The township is a self-sustaining amalgam of culture, art, education, philanthropy, industries and the coming together of many nations to form the next step in harmonious cohabitation. Such a wonderful thought warrants a visit.
7. Because it's impossible to not hit a spiritual high here.
In a city filled with churches, temples and mosques, it's really difficult to keep the religious stirrings at bay. I plan on visiting the Ashram Centre at the heart of Rue De La Marine just to see the carefully preserved tomb and living quarters of Sri Aurobindo. Also, pictures of the Notre Dame De Anges Church have been taking my breath away. When a church is modelled on the Lourdes Basilica, it becomes almost criminal to not visit it.
8. Because the place is a paradise for lovers of Creole and Indo-French cuisine.
Puducherry offers a scintillating cornucopia of Tamilian cuisine with subtle French undertones that only a true foodie can appreciate. From French quiches, Creole Gumbos to hearty curries and rice, the city covers it all and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into all of these awesome dishes.
While I'm pretty sure that my list of reasons has already made you start packing, it's important to do your own research before you make the trip happen. Fortunately, I found all my answers at Cleartrip.com. I found the cheapest flight tickets and whopping discounts on hotels in Pondicherry. Know more about them here.