Strolling through Pondicherry
Pondicherry Travel Blog› entry 4 of 37 › view all entries
After breakfast we get into the ramshackle bus again. Ajit is behind the wheel with a huge smile. Next to him is Lomash, apparently he’s Ajit’s co-driver. We arrive in
After we’ve checked into our hotel (for the life of me, I can’t remember which one…) a singing rickshaw driver takes us to a European looking boulevard at the beach, where we have lunch at Le Café.
After we’ve finished our lunch (which was perfect by the way) we stroll across the beach, where a lot of locals sit in the sand or at the rocks, staring at the waves. There aren’t many swimmers, probably because there’s a strong current. Within a minute we have a whole herd of salesmen surrounding us, but as soon as we’ve made clear we’re not in the market for anything, they step back. As soon as the salesmen have taken a bit more distance (we may change our minds about buying anything), dozens of locals start approaching us, asking if we could take their picture.
We’re a bit surprised about this, but start clicking away nonetheless.
We are so busy with all our models that the salesmen give up and look for other victims they can hunt down, and after everybody’s picture has been taken and the results have been thoroughly reviewed, we are on our way again. We decide to leave the beach and have a look at The French Quarter.
Before we reach the French Quarter we get cornered by at least thirty Indian people.
Of course, this is not a problem. We write down an address and after every single person has had a handshake the all leave, cheering. We remain with a growing affection for Indian people. They seem to like to move herds, but they’re all so lively and spontaneous!
When we finally arrive at the French Quarter, we’re bored in an instant. There are decent sidewalks, houses are all colonial European and everything is clean and tidy. There are even signs that it’s forbidden to use the horn in this area.
We may have been in
We cut most part of the tour we could walk through this area and proceed to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Not that we’re particularly interested in an ashram, but since it is the most important sight in
Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) was an Indian nationalist and freedom fighter, a poet, philosopher and yogi. In 1926 he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which he led together which his French wife, called the Mother.
Today, the ashram is a large institution, providing many charitable benefits to the area including free medical facilities.
It’s all more or less interesting, but there’s not much to see at the ashram itself. There are altars for Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, a library and a garden, but that’s it. There are no people in robes showing examples of the yoga this ashram is famous for, or anything.
We accidentally walk into a bit of a chaos in front of temple. It turns out this is the
First they give some money to the elephant. He grabs this with his trunk and hands this to the man standing next to him. Then he gently tabs his trunk on the person who gave the money and the person is thereby blessed.
Of course Rens and I jump in to get blessed as well. Then we walk towards another commotion of people a few meters away from the elephant. A man is standing on some sort of colourful cart and he rubs chalk on people’s forehead. They offer incense and pray and we love looking at it from a distance.
After a late afternoon nap in our hotel room we take a rickshaw to
We end up at the rooftop restaurant Aristo where we have a lovely dinner of Indian curries. Funny thing is, is that when Rens ordered a beer, the waiter said they only had ‘secret tea’. We didn’t get it, but ordered the secret tea nonetheless, curious what that could be. The waiter then served a stone teapot with matching cups and as it turned out, the teapot was filled with beer!
We later found out very few establishments in