puducherry has a special ambience, not felt anywhere else in India. It is a blend of spiritual aura, French colonial heritage, Tamil culture and the cosmopolitan flair of many nationalities in a small but varied town. The inherent ambience of Pondy, as it is fondly called, becomes most evident in the oldest part of the town which flanks the seashore boulevard. Colonial buildings, some which trace back to the 18th century, line along a grid of straight
clean streets and house the French institutions, private homes and businesses, and the sprawling premises of the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The visitor is greeted by mellow colours of cream, yellow, pink and grey with flamboyant bougainvillea bursting over gates and
compound walls of cool courtyards.
Quiet beaches and peaceful resorts to the north and south balance the town's bustling, yet easy going life. But Pondy hasn't only its own special attractions to offer. It is a perfect base to explore the rich destinations around it (Tamil Nadu), even in daily trips: Auroville, the international City of Unity;
the imposing Gingee Fort, the holy temple towns of Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai and Chidambaram, the heritage sculptures and magnificent rock temples of Mamallapuram, and the cool and lush hill stations of Yercaud and Kodaikanal.
Puducherry is best accessible by road from Chennai, Bangalore and even from Kerala.Chennai has an international airport which directly connects to the highway to puducherry. And good transit hotels are available in the vicinity for travellers who arrive in the night.
Puducherry has a wide choice of hotels for most visitors: beach resorts for the easy going tourist and families, heritage hotels for those who want to experience something else, high class commercial hotels for the corporate visitor and the neat Ashram Guest Houses for the spiritual seeker. And ambient restaurants serve a rich variety of French, Indian, Asian and continental food, with the latest pizza for an American bite.
For the shopper puducherry has a lot to offer and is fast becoming a
favorite shopping destination of the southern metropolitan cities. puducherry is soft on your purse with taxes low or non-existent. It is known for its traditional doll-making and textiles and silks. But it is also the birthplace of several world class brands in leather, pottery, aromatics, fashion and handmade paper. These excellent products came to renown solely by their superb quality. A new trend is the proliferation of exquisite decor boutiques and export-quality antique furniture galleries.
As we shall see, however, the Pondy Experience is considerably more than either of these unique and cloistered aspects. It is an experience that captivates all kinds of visitors; tourists, seekers from metropolitan stress, and the families of visiting business people and conventioneers who can sightsee and shop when they want a diversion.
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