There is no way in ten days I will gain anything other than a few meagre scraps of what it might possibly mean to be in India. I am only visiting three areas, all in Tamil Nadu and all within the cloaked comfort of tourism. So with that said here are my initial thoughts, and some photographs, from Puducherry (formally called Pondicherry) and the surrounding area….

Puducherry is:

  • A jigsaw of culture and religion, turn a corner and you are in the French quarter, turn another you are in the Muslim area, turn another and a chai seller is chasing you down the road.
  • Relaxed, laid back and a place to soak in the atmosphere rather than follow a set tourist path,
  • Full of awesome buildings that are falling into disrepair. Sad but also understandable, they are huge and from an era long gone.
  • Hot! It is the cool season – still hot.
  • Asleep in the afternoon – siesta 1pm-4pm and then comes to life again in the evening.
  •  French influenced but definitely Indian.
  • Good for a filter coffee.

The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (The Church of Our Lady of Angels). One of my favourite churches because it still looked distinctly Indian in many ways.

Beautiful colours light up The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (The Church of Our Lady of Angels).

Flower seller outside Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple. This temple sometimes receives more than 5000 visitors in day, there were at least 200 when I was there.

Some cheeky chaps in Puducherry!
Children very keen to have their photo taken in this town. Love the tough guy on the left!

Old and New
This photo sums up what is happening across Puducherry, old French style buildings being taken down to make way for new flats and smaller houses.