Puducherry: The Little France of India

From taking morning walks amidst French villa’s to ending the day witnessing the sunset at the Serenity beach, Puducherry can surprise you more as you enter the world of colour and joy.

Being colonized by the Dutch, Portuguese, English, but majorly French, Puducherry, also popularly known as the ‘Little France of India,’ is a beautiful amalgamation of the Tamil and French cultural backdrop of traditions and architecture. Since the French forces set their foot in our land, they started influencing the locals in many ways than we can imagine.

From language to cuisines, even citizenship was influenced and semi-owned by them. They started building different French-styled gallic architectural buildings all along the French Quarter of the Union Territory including the egg-shaped central city and the beautiful French villas across the sharply edged right-angled streets with its bright colours and graffiti. From locally producing their handmade paper to making aromatic candles and organic beauty products, the locals have a buzzing art and craft hotspot within its boundaries.

From Crepe’s and Croissants to their world-famous Ratatouille, the French left their distinctive cuisine behind in Puducherry and the locals used that as an opportunity to blend it with their own Tamilian recipes. Tourists could walk into any café in town and experience the famous flavours of the French cuisine mixed with their Tamilian spices, making them experience their entire historical heritage in just one wholesome bite.

“Even today, the dosas I make at home are more like crepes, with cheese and meat in them instead of masala.”

Bitasta Samantaray, one of the organisers of the Pondicherry Heritage Festival to Hindustan Times.

“Pondicherry cuisine is a variant of Tamil food, refined by French influence. The use of spice is much less, because of the French influence. So you get the flavour, but not the heat of the spice.”

Lourdes Louis, of Tamil-Vietnamese background to Hindustan Times.

The French business companies in various fields of food, technology and even fashion are highly prevalent in Puducherry. From St. Gobain to Louis Vuitton, these big brands have a strong base in our territory making tourism boost not only for outsiders but also encourage a flourishing economical boost for the locals involved.

These brands could easily go against the Make in India policy of the government which focuses on sustainable locally produced goods rather than supporting fast-track companies. However, to achieve more holistic development of the Union Territory, some industrial foundations had to be in place.

Having said that, the locals of the place have beautifully accepted French culture that has been passed down to them through generations and has also managed to maintain their own individuality at the same time.

The volcanic sand and bright coloured shells of the Auroville beach makes it one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire territory. Some other famous beaches are the Serenity beach, the Quiet beach, and the Rock beach, which owning to their names are exactly how they’re described. With everything from delicacies to French colonial architectures, topped with white sand beaches and vibrant heritage walks, Puducherry can surprise you!

Read also: https://dubeat.com/2021/01/travelling-in-2021-road-trip-your-way-through-this-new-year/

Image Credits: Trip Savvy

Hridika Rao



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