Ananda Ranga Pillai’s MansionPondicherry
Historical | Scenic
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Puducherry is a scenic Union Territory and once a French Colony located in the Southern Coast of India. Surrounded by Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry became Puducherry in the year 2006. Also known as the ‘Europe of India’, Puducherry attracts a huge number of national and international tourists every year! Chennai and Bangalore are the nearest cities. Puducherry is famed for its colonial buildings, tree covered roads, endless beaches, spiritual centers, churches and exotic backwaters and boat houses.
Pondicherry is that last sojourn where one can still find the old European genteelness. The serene beaches of Pondicherry is one of the key attractions of the place apart from the Aurobindo Ashram, and is ideal for travelers looking to slow down the pace of life.
162 kms from Chennai, Pondicherry is devoid of hills and forests. A union territory with a spiritual vibration, many sages have visited this quaint place time and again. A blend of Tamil, French and spiritual influence, Pondicherry is a cosmopolitan city that captivates backpackers as well as travelers having a divine longing.
Pondicherry food is a mix of French and local cuisines. A great place to try authentic French delicacies, Pondicherry also caters to a good number of south Indian, Punjabi, Gujarati and Bengali delicacies. Some of the French preparations that are authentic to this land are Quiche – made of eggs, meat, cheese and vegetables, a must try French savory! Coq au vin is chicken casserole fried with garlic, lardons, mushroom and wine. Salad Nicoise, a continental salad is prepared with generous amount of lettuce, eggs, potatoes, olives, tuna and tomatoes. Croque Madame is a filling bread sandwich made of ham, cheese, egg and béchamel sauce.
Besides, one can find lots of French pastries, Baguettes, croissant and various custard desserts in and around Pondicherry restaurants and food corners. Also one can find Idlis, dosas, coconut curries and other typical south Indian recipes in Pondicherry.
As this land is a mishmash of Indian and French culture, their festivals also portray the same. In addition to Dussehra, Christmas and Diwali, this region has few unique fairs and events that mark the culture of this tiny yet historical region. International Yoga Festival is a major event organized in the month of January luring large number of visitors across the globe. Yoga and meditation, yogic food and therapies are the main highlights of this festival. Different dance forms are also showcased here.
Fete De Pondicherry, a day observed in the remembrance of freedom of this place from foreign rule. Lasts for three days, various exhibitions and completion programs mark the event! Birth Anniversary of Shri Aurobindo, the revolutionary turned saint, on the 15th of August is observed with complete dignity and devotion. Also Mothers Birth Anniversary on 21st February deserves a special mention!
Bastille Day on the 14th of August is celebrated as the national day of France. In Pondicherry this day is observed as Bastille Day when retired soldiers commemorate the evenings with Indian and French national anthem. Villianur Temple Car Festival is an annual event that takes place in the month of May. Temple deity roams around in a highly adorned chariot dressed in gorgeous attires. The attendees in the chariot distribute food to the commoners and car pullers. French Food Festival organized by the Pondicherry Tourism Department is held every year where different French delicacies are showcased.
Other than these, Pongal, Masimagam, Holi, Tamil New Year, Good Friday and Republic Day are observed with equal fanfare!
Perpendicular streets and French architectural patterns mark the profound culture of Pondicherry. One will still find many streets of this place with French names. Pondicherry has a so called French and Indian quarter where one can find French and Indian style houses and villas. While exploring the city, one will come across various French period monuments and consulate. No matter what, plenty of auto rickshaws on the streets, traffics and Hindu temples will always make a traveler aware that he or she is in India after all!
Many people residing here are good in French and hold French passport as well. Many streets and alleys have signs in French language till today. One can find traditional as well as modern art form in this beautiful place.
Puducheri bommai is a traditional handmade doll of this place which is made of pure terracotta and papier-mâché. Korai mats are also quite popular indigenous products made of locally grown grass.
To get a more thoughtful perspective on Pondicherry culture, one needs to visit the Aurobindo ashram, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Basilica Of The Sacred Heart Of Jesus, French Institute of Pondicherry, French War Memorial, and Pondicherry Museum, Romain Rolland Library, Sita Cultural Center and many such cultural and historical landmarks!
Pondicherry is well known for its traditional handicrafts. Leather craft is quite a sought-after handiwork which manufactures bags, holders, brief cases, shoes, belts and other items. Pottery is famous. The shiny finishing of Pondicherry pottery makes them stand out. Various decorative items are manufactured via this art form. Textile of Pondicherry is simply remarkable! Khadi is another textile form made by the locals in Pondicherry. Handmade paper is a locally made product mainly produced by the Aurobindo Ashram.
Clay and terracotta is used in manufacturing figurines, table ware, dolls, vases, coffee sets and other decorative materials. Jute craft is also quite popular in Pondicherry. It’s used in creating rugs, carry bags, wine bottle bags, and various eye-catching showpieces.
Wood carving hold a prominent position as this handicraft is used in manufacturing toys, animal figurines, spoons, and other striking kitchen ware items.
One can buy any of these exclusive handicrafts from Auroville gift shops and ashram stores.
Besides French, many people speak Tamil. Many locals are fluent in Telegu and Malayalam. English follows next. English and Tamil are the main medium of instruction in Pondicherry!
By Road: Ananda Ranga Pillai’s Mansion is on Ananda Ranga Pillai Street which well connected by roads. One can avail taxi and private cab services from the airport and train station to reach the place.
By Train: Puducherry train station is 1 kms from the mansion.
By Air: Pondicherry airport is approximately 9 kms from the destination.GET DIRECTION
There are plethora of sweet shops and restaurants catering a blend of French, Italian and south India cuisines!
From September till March are the most preferred times to explore Pondicherry!
The ground floor was built in Indian style with courtyards and wooden pillars. The forts floor depicts European design with terraces and elegant columns supporting each other!
Botanical Garden: The fountains and aquariums make this place is a must visit!