There is only one time-tested way to beat the summer heat of New Delhi. No, not nimbu pani. It is to simply get out of New Delhi. That was my plan last month when I set out to select a place based on vibe, visuals and most importantly, wife’s choice. So, Pondicherry was decided upon (almost) unanimously. For those who rightly failed geography in middle school, let me take this moment to educate you about Pondicherry.
Pondicherry is a beach destination of the size of Cyber City Gurgaon on the east coast of Tamil Nadu. It is called Puducherry in Tamil, the name comprising of two parts ‘Pud‘ meaning beautiful and ‘Ucherry‘ meaning unbearably hot during summers. It is basically Goa without the rampant problem of hoards of drunk Punjabi men making everyone around them uncomfortable.
Pondicherry has a rich French culture, because this town was a territory of what we now know as “Republic of France”, and it boasts of a lot of restaurants which we now call “Le French Restaurants because they start with Le”. Other than French cuisine, Pondicherry is famous for French buildings, which are normal buildings but with jaundice.
Now you may come across multiple travellers who will overtly romanticize French quarters of the city, but if you take my word, they are just buildings with yellow walls. The shade of yellow is one for which, if you use in your own room, you will be judged by people even from East Delhi and you can forget about being friends with people from South Delhi.
One of my favorite things about Pondicherry was the vibrant night life, which meant that after 10PM almost all the restaurants (Le restaurants) were closed and you had all the time in the night to be sad about your choice of season to visit Pondicherry. During evening time, however, Pondicherry is a lively place with cheap rates of alcohol and live music events including, but not limited to, Remo-like-artists singing out Shigdi-bagdi-bagdi-beyaa and other such songs which made no sense to you because neither do you know french, nor do they sing here in that language.
Pondicherry is in close proximity to Auroville, which is a meditation ashram where people come to find inner peace and overpriced handicraft items. If you do not believe me, just ask me how much I paid for a pack of 10 incense sticks there. The answer is ZERO because the pack was very expensive and I didn’t buy it. I did buy a T-shirt saying I ‘heart’ Auroville because it is compulsory as per the modern rules of travelling, although it turned out to be the wrong size.
I also did my first Scuba dive there, but I’ve already written a separate post about that. So, the take-home message is that for a vacation, only if you’ve been to Goa too many times, and are looking for a change, think of Pondicherry. Then decide against it and go to Goa instead.