Pondicherry (also known locally as Puducherry) is the only place in India where you can still breathe in a little French influence. Once known as the "French Riviera of India," this place is a former French colony and, even today, still has some distinct characteristics found nowhere else in this massive country.
Pondicherry is best enjoyed on foot or bicycling around -- there is a seafront walking/biking area very popular with tourists and locals alike. This makes for a perfect spot for people-watching, particularly in the evenings, weekends, and holidays. The buildings around this area, in variable states of conservation, mix French and local architecture.
The symbiosis between French and Indian traditions is also notable in the cuisine -- local dishes are a fusion of French preparations and Indian spices and can therefore be very interesting. As it is located by the coast, seafood is always a good option, too!
There are a lot of accommodation options in Pondicherry, as it is quite a touristic area of the state of Tamil Nadu. For backpackers and the budget conscious, there are several Pondicherry hostels and small guest houses to choose from. The closer you are to the sea, the pricier the Pondicherry hostels tend to be, as this is the main touristic area. Go a little inward towards the centre of town for cheaper options if you'd like, and be rest assured that auto-rickshaws and tempos (small collective autos) go by all day and until fairly late at night. The ride shouldn't cost you much.
If you see the movie "Life of Pi," you'll recognize some scenes shot in Pondicherry, as the main character of the movie (and book) is from there!
Hi, I'm zararock,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Pondicherry hostels. Welcome.