July 19, 2008

Peaceful Pondicherry

The Portuguese have been here. So have the Dutch.. The Danes. The English And the French. Pondicherry it is. Somwhere in my heart I had developed a love for this city and needless to say, I surely was hugely excited when I got a chance to visit the city for a weekend hide out :)

A trip to puducherry is like a journey in time with a vibrant present celebrating its interesting past. “History goes back to the Roman times, but factually started with the arrival of the French in 1963, who founded the town and built it in its present form, during the two and a half century they occupied it. “Puducherry” is the French interpretation of the original name “Puducheri” meaning “new settlement”. Many pilgrims have shared the town’s hospitality on their way to the temple town of Rameshwaram, thus enriching its culture.

An overnight journey surely made me tired but once I stepped into Pondicherry the feeling was different above my tiredness. The city didn’t disappoint me at all. At last I was assured that surely there is a “City” that is so isolated pollution and noise. I could only envy people of Pondicherry at that moment :)

I was sure, two days was not enough to experience everything in Pondicherry but I surely was determined to make the best of everything I could along with friends ralph and reshma along with my younger brother rony.

We started off by picking up the map of Pondicherry which ended up being so handy. You really don’t need a guide when you have this map. Its not easy to get lost and people are so helpful.

If you cannot walk, feel free to hire a Cycle :) That’s the best I liked about Pondicherry. People looked so much at ease and happy going around the city in cycles.

We started off with the Aurobindo handmade paper Industry. This a great place for green lovers. One can find all kinds of utilities made of paper only including Jewelry. This surely is a must visit.

Well I was sure it was going to be boring for my little brother, but I couldn’t get off from seeing the Pondicherry museum. The museum has a collection of rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties and artifacts excavated from Arikamedu, including remnants of Greek and Roman jars, 200 year old beads made from glass and precious stones and even objects from the Tsung period in China. The museum also has a Geology room, a shell and fossil room and a collection of handicrafts, coins, church relics and French furniture. Also on display is Dupleix’s bed.

After feeding ourselves enough with Pondcherry’s past history it was time to visit my favorite and the main reason why I went to Pondicherry. The Beach! It was just magnificent to view the blue stud! The 1.5 km long promenade running along the beach is the pride of puducherry. There one can relax or take a stroll at any time of the day.

On the sea front are several land marks out of which I got to see The War memorial cold and dispassionate throbbing the memory of last dreams, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, a four-meter statue surrounded by eight magnificent granite pillars, which were supposedly brought from Gingee, a fort some 70 Kms. from Puducherry and

an Old light house that used for the first time on July 1st 1836 and continued to be used upto the year 1979. This now- abandoned lighthouse stands on the edge of the sea.

It was noon and we started planning towards Auroville. We were not left with a lot of time and decided to just visit the Auroville Beach. The Auroville Beach as the name indicates is close to Auroville. Located around 12 kms from the main puducherry town, its shallow waters and small waves make it an ideal place of swimming. Blue sky and the blue sea is a real heartthrob! It was fun unlimited and unlimited means….Tired :)

It was time to leave this quiet and pretty city but we just had to end it the right way and what more than to visit the beautiful Botanical gardens.

The gate leading to the garden is reminiscent of French architecture and it stands out from its immediate surroundings because it is smack in the middle of the old Tamil town. The Botanical Gardens were laid out in 1826 in the ornate French style, with pruned trees, beautiful flower beds and gravel lined paths and fountains. The French introduced many exotic plants from all over the world, many of which thrived. With over 1500 species of plants, this could actually qualify as one of the best botanical gardens in South India.

The cannon ball flower (state flower of Pondicherry) and the 12 million year old fossilled tree was the grand finale!

Well that ended my most memorable journey to Pondicherry but I surely promised myself that I’d come back again! Wait for me Pondicherry :)


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