Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Puducherry, India

Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:30pm EST
 
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By Shivani Singh

PUDUCHERRY, India (Reuters Life!) - Puducherry, a small town on southern India's Coromandel coast, woos visitors with its easy French colonial charm, food and laid-back calm.

Formerly known as Pondicherry, the town provides an escape from hectic city life. With the nearest airport in Chennai, 160 km away, it is best reached by bus or cab.

The town offers luxury and mid-range hotels and, for those who prefer simplicity, a guesthouse run by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Puducherry is small enough to walk around but you can also hire bicycles or scooters to get about.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help you get the most out of a stay in Puducherry:

SATURDAY

6 a.m. - Catch the sunrise above the Bay of Bengal with coffee at Le Cafe, a former port office, on Beach Road, also known as Goubert Avenue, as the fishermen set out.

7 a.m. - Stroll down Beach Road, past the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, and the town's former Governor General Marquis Joseph Francois Dupleix to the French war memorial honouring those who fell in World War I.

7.30 a.m. - Don't miss the 19th century lighthouse before heading to the boutique Promenade hotel for a lavish breakfast overlooking the beach. A must-try is a South Indian breakfast of idlis -- steamed rice cakes with coconut chutney -- and sambhar, a tangy-spicy lentil dish.   Continued...