As my culinary extravaganza comes to an end we took one final day trip to the city of Pondicherry which is located 3 hours south of Chennai. It is a costal town known for its beautiful beaches that attract visitors from around the world. France ruled Pondicherry (the name for the region) on and off from 1674, alternating with the Dutch and English due to political disputes, until 1816 when it started its last rule that ended in 1954 when Pondicherry became part of India, seven years after the country was formed.
I noticed the French influence right away in the architecture of many of the old buildings. In the downtown section near the beach, the buildings run continuously down the block with high garden walls and elaborate wrought iron gates, balconies with iron brackets, white painted columns built into the walls and wooden shutters. Many of these buildings have been restored and painted with bright colors while others appear to be waiting their turn for facelifts.
We toured the Aurobindo Ashram, a spiritual community that attracts people from around the world. The facility is beautiful and serene with the most beautiful gardens in the courtyard. Built in the 1920s, Sri Aurobindo led the ashram until his death; Mirra Alfassa continued in his footsteps. Very close to the city is an experimental town, Auroville, built in the 1960s by Mirra Alfassa (called “Mother”) with the mission to be a place where all people could live in harmony.
We had a lovely lunch sitting under the awning in the courtyard dining area at Le Club, the first French restaurant in Pondicherry. The menu includes Indian, French and Italian entrees. I don’t know why but we ordered Indian items: Pondicherry fish cutlets, Hyderabad Chicken Curry and Chicken Pulao. This restaurant caters to tourists who want international cuisine and offers a good, filling meal.
This was a very nice trip. I would like to go back sometime to spend more time.
Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.
All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.