Pondicherry (Puducherry), was the largest French colony in India. There is a strong French influence in the city exists to this date, especially in the old quarters, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries, although the city remains very much Indian. French is still understood, and the whole city makes for rather pleasant mix of East and West.
Pondicherry was designed based on the French grid pattern and features neat sectors and perpendicular streets. The entire town is divided into 2 sections, the French Quarter and the Indian quarter. Many streets still retain their French names and French style villas are a common sight here. In the French quarter, the buildings are typically colonial style with long compounds and stately walls. The Indian (Tamil) quarter consists of houses lined with verandas, and houses with large doors and grills. Pondicherry is very much a city with a dual personality: crossing from East to West of the central canal reveals two cities with very different characters.
Not to far, at a distance of 10 km is the quaint old town where Sri Aurobindo, a well known philosopher, patriot and savant established his Ashram. Auroville, the city of Dawn, was designed by the French architect Roger Arger and was started as an experimental commune where people of all nationalities irrespective of caste, creed or religion would live together in harmony.
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