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Pondichery, or Puducherry as it now styles itself, sits along the Bay of Bengal surrounded by the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Pondichery itself has a French rather than British history; it remained a French territory until quite recently. The French legacy remains in the relaxed atmosphere, cleaner town centre in the French Quarter, and of course the availability of good food and wine.
As with all things French, Pondichery has its anarchic moments, its surreal, artistic flavours. This is best expressed within the now fully independent Auroville, a self supporting commune built from wasteland that's now an oasis of calm and peace for those wanting a more spiritually enlightened, hippy style experience. Visitors can wander around the lush gardens, relax under banyan trees, or queue to meditate in the large metallic dome built around a crystal chamber.
The Promenade in Pondichery and the French Quarter nearby are the main focal points for tourism. Lavish and modest accommodation are both available. A relaxed walk along the Promenade reveals lovely vistas of the Bay of Bengal, a few handy crafts markets, and plenty of watering holes. The architecture here is clearly French Provencal, with heavy lashings of Tamilian thrown in for good measure.
Locals do speak French and English as well as Tamil. They have adopted some of the French 'customer service' as well, which isn't what you'd expect in India. But a totally divine experience can be had within this small Indian territory, totally unique from all other Indian experiences.
Travel? Fly or train to Chennai, Pondichery is about 3 hours' drive south from there. Hotels or travel agents in Chennai are happy to book a driver & car for day trips or weekend trips down to Pondichery. There is also a regular coach service between Chennai and Pondy, as the locals call it.