Le mielleur de Pondichery.

17 March 2015

As we depart Pondichery/ Pondicherry/ Puducherry (depending on which language you choose to name it), we are left with its many highlights; there were no low-lights 🙂

  • Our wonderful temporary home at La Closerie … Bay of Bengal in the French quarter. Stylishly decorated and warmly hosted by Annie and her sari-clad team.

La Closerie

  • Promenading on the esplanade at sunset with the locals.

Evening Promenade

  • Wandering past a local version of “India’s Got Talent“, complete with sitar and tabla drums. Seven-thirty at night, our sunglass-wearing compere with greased-back hair, open shirt and assortment of gold chains had the audience eating out of his hand.

India's Got Talent 1

  • Stumbling upon a Gendarme Marching Band; although, due to the heat, they were more of a Gendarme Sitting Band. The clash of brass and drums was faintly reminiscent of my school band at assembly. Like listening to a car crash: the slow, awful sound of metal clashing together.

Gendarme Sitting Band

  • Attending a contemporary theatre production (in heavily French-accented English) by a young troupe in a theatre lit by a hundred oil burning lamps. Very hot, very atmospheric, and perhaps the reason the theatre burnt down several years ago.

Indianostrum Theatre

  • Driving two bumpy hours to visit stone temples and rock carvings from the 6th century. Amazing and memorable. So memorable that on arriving at the granite-hewn monoliths of Mamallapuram, sweat dripping off me in the 38 degree heat (only Ganesh would know the humidity level), I realised I had visited this same historic site twenty-five years ago on an earlier trip to India.

Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Relief

  • La Maison RoseSpecial mention goes to the wonderful French restaurants. Incredible food; I even felt on a few occasions that I was dining in a Parisian brasserie, so authentic was the typical laissez-faire (ie arrogant) ‘style’ of service that some of the waiters exhibited …

A French colony in a style that only the melting pot of French and India cultures could produce.

I’ve just read my Lonely Planet India and it seems there is a Danish colony further down the coast. Sounds intriguing. I’m already picturing The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo done Bollywood style. I do think there is room for a roly-poly blue Ganesh in Hans Christian Anderson. The Indians could take the Tivoli Gardens to a whole different level.

Although I don’t think my stomach is quite prepared to accept curried rollmops.

About Freoroamers

Richard has worked in hospitality and travel for almost three decades and has been a regular traveller since childhood. He now travels for both work and pleasure, and is a Senior Contributor to Trip Advisor and other digital media travel platforms.
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