Pondicherry, a Union Territory, is known as 'The French Riviera of the East' since it was a French colony and was ceded to India around 1956, well after India got it's independence in 1947. The French influence can be seen(only) in the houses and streets by the shoreline.
the Pondicherry seaside. tiny snails crowded on these rocks:
the sea, rocks and the pier:
view from a motor-boat, at the Chunnambar back waters:
tripsheet: reaching pondicherry involved hopping on the bangalore-chennai overnight train, and catching a bus from the central bus-stop in chennai to pondicherry. the bus went along the scenic east coast road and promptly broke down half way. after waiting for 2 hours, another bus came to our rescue and transferred us to pondicherry. this one's window panes were missing on all windows and it rained like crazy all along. it was one cold ride.
after breakfast/freshening/catching-up, the Auroville township was the first destination... a trip to the Matrimandir, the huge golden dome that marks the centre of the township... could not go inside as it was closed due to ongoing repairs. the garden around the Matrimandir were very pretty and well-tended to. lounged around pondicherry for the rest of the day... and made way to the neighbouring town the next morning. this was more fun. the boat ride takes you to a small deserted island and you get to spend as much time here as possible. there is a very small lagoon that connects the sea to the backwaters. now that was fun, to see how backwaters are formed. this island is also where some music albums were shot. it's a pretty, small and sandy island with plastic-roofed small shanty shops standing out like sore thumbs. we saw the govt. botanical garden and aquarium.. and all the french colony by the seaside boulevard at pondicherry. and a lot of churches. most of these churches are easily recognised from the ads and films and music videos shot here.
a section on Pondicherry has the old-world charm.. and the rest of the city is like any other town in Tamil Nadu. we also visited a hanuman temple where a really tall and huge hanuman idol stood and the temple was work-in-progress.
all in all, visiting pondicherry is like visiting any other city with an envious share of beachfront and lot of history.