Pondicherry or Puducherry, is a place I have visited a couple of times in the past few years. Sometimes I have driven past the place and a couple of times I have walked the beach or visited someplace nearby. But a proper trip to Pondy is still on the cards. Once again during a recent trip, I happened to land in Pondy and had to drive further. Grabbed the opportunity to explore a few streets closer to the promenade and enjoy my lunch en route, in this charming place. Until a planned travel happens, the few hours spent walking the streets of once-a French-colony and a visit to one of the 4 churches established by the Capuchins, needs to be written.
Puducherry, a city and the capital of Pondicherry, a union territory, was the largest French colony in India. Apart from other things to do and places to visit, one strong desire was to visit the famed ‘white town’ or the French Quarter and eat in one of those popular cafes there. The silent streets and those heritage structures simply blew my mind. Wandered off a couple of streets, admired the huge mansions, fell in love with the yellow, pink and white colours painted on the walls and compound of those huge structures. Some graffiti actually put a smile on my face.
An impressive structure I happened to walk into was ‘Domus Dei’ (House of God) or ‘The Church of Our Lady of Angels’. A simple but regal building, this is located close to the promenade. The prominent features of this church are the 2 square bell towers in the front portion of the church and the symmetric staircases. The Corinthian columns, reasonably large prayer hall with a long aisle and the work on the roof looks very attractive.
The interiors of the church are very interesting. The light enters through the side doors and glass-painted windows and illuminates the interiors. The dome on the high altar glows with the rays of sun sifting through the windows.
A place of worship, be it a temple or a church or anywhere else, always has this soothing effect irrespective of one being a believer or otherwise. A few minutes spent in the church was rejuvenating. After having clicked some pictures, it was time to move and fill my empty stomach.
Floating past the canopied streets of this French colony, I made my way into an eerily silent hidden cafe around 2 pm. The sun shone brightly in the sky. The mint juice was refreshing and a bowl of pasta in white sauce with buttered garlic was just perfect to fill my tummy. Easily spent an hour in the cafe and enjoyed the I, me, myself time along with my meal. Again, it was time to hit the highway and proceed. A couple of halcyon hours in Pondy will be remembered for days to come.
Pondicherry is a favourite vacation destination.
It is connected by air – Pondy has an airport with small aircraft operating.
Pondy is well connected by road. Chennai is around 165 Kms away. One can drive on the famous East coast road (ECR) or take public transport to reach Pondy. One can also drive from Bangalore.
Pondy is also connected by train to Chennai through a broad gauge railway line through Villupuram.