Pondicherry Journals

Pondicherry: A Writer's Haven

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A January 2010 trip to Pondicherry by phileasfogg

The Matrimandir Photo, Pondicherry, India More Photos
Quote: Part-Gallic, part-Tamil, Pondicherry is an idyllic little coastal town. When I got a chance to go there for a month-long writers’ residency, I leapt at the opportunity—and discovered, in my spare time, a lot about Pondicherry.

Adishakti Guesthouse

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Hotel | "The Best Place to Write"

Adishakti Guesthouse Photo, Pondicherry, India
Quote:
About 3 km from the Visitors’ Centre at Auroville is the Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Research. This is, first and foremost, a place where performers come together to evolve new techniques in entertainment—in theatre, music, dance, shadow puppetry and other forms of performing arts. Adishakti has its own inhouse theatre group (a small troupe consisting of about 10 extremely talented individuals). In addition, Adishakti works to promote art on a wider scale as well—and that doesn’t mean just performing arts; it also includes arts such as literature.Every year, between November and February, Adishakti hosts, along with Sangam House, a writers’ residency programme for writers and translators from ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 2, 2010

Adishakti Guesthouse
Adishakti Laboratory For Theatre Art Research
Pondicherry, India
+91 0413 - 2622287

Auroville: The Embodiment of a Vision

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Story/Tip

The banyan tree at Auroville Photo, Pondicherry, India
Quote:
Pondicherry may be French; Pondicherry may be Tamil—but it is also home to an unusual international community named Auroville, which has its roots in the philosophy of an early 20th century Indian philosopher called Sri Aurobindo. Aurobindo’s best known disciple, and the person who carried on and embodied Aurobindo’s philosophy, was a Frenchwoman who is now known only as The Mother. The philosophy of Aurobindo and The Mother revolves around the unity of all mankind, meditation, community service, giving back to the earth, and the attainment of ‘divine consciousness’.All of these principles were brought into play when, in the late 1960’s, The Mother (Aurobindo had since died), proposed the est...Read More

Bullock Pongal: In Celebration of Cattle

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Story/Tip

Celebrating 'bullock' Pongal Photo, Pondicherry, India
Quote:
There’s an old belief in Hindu tradition—at least in Tamilnadu—that many, many years ago the god Shiva sent a sacred bull called Nandi down to earth with a message for humanity: that people, in order to purify themselves, must have an oil massage and bath everyday, and must eat only once a month. Nandi, unfortunately, got muddled and gave the wrong message: that people must eat everyday, and have an oil massage and bath once a month. Shiva got annoyed at his bull’s blunder, and sent Nandi down to earth permanently, as a cow to help mankind earn his living.Since Pondicherry is contiguous with Tamilnadu, the beliefs and traditions here are the same as in Tamilnadu. Among them—and drawing from that st...Read More

Le Ciel

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Restaurant | "Great View, So-so Food"

Le Ciel Photo, Pondicherry, India
Quote:
Left to myself, I’d probably not have gone right across town for dinner. But when you’re part of a thoroughly eclectic crowd (and, as an Indian, outnumbered by Americans, a Dane, a German, a Brazilian, a Frenchman, and a Korean), one’s personal preferences sort of bow to public demand. So, whereas I’d have liked to eat either French or Creole of Chettinad for dinner, I end up smiling politely and saying I don’t mind tandoori. Which is just one of the cuisines Le Ciel serves up.The Hotel Ajantha Sea View is aptly named—it looks out on the sea. It stands on the broad curving boulevard that runs along the seashore, a strip...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on February 2, 2010

Le Ciel
50 Goubert Avenue
Pondicherry, India
+91 413 2349032

Pizza D'Auro

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Restaurant | "Excellent Pizza, Offbeat Ambience"

Quote:
I’ve been at Adishakti three weeks now, and I feel as if I’ve been eating rice, sambhar, papads and vegetables sautéed with grated coconut all my life. It’s delicious—there’s no doubt about that—and it’s fairly healthy; but it does tend to get monotonous after a while. And more than I, some of the foreign writers at the residency are beginning to find it boring too. One evening, Carlos (who’s from Brazil and says that back home he eats pizza once a week), suggests we go out for pizza. All of us agree, so the co-director of Sangam House, DW Gibson, also a writer and at Adishakti right now, asks the theatre group for suggestions. They recommend Creation Pizza, so we pile into two taxis and set of...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 2, 2010

Pizza D'Auro
New Creation Center
Auroville, Pondicherry

Satsanga

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Restaurant | "Great Space, Passable Food, Iffy Service"

Satsanga Photo, Pondicherry, India
Quote:
A friend of mine had recommended Satsanga, but without telling me what cuisine this restaurant served. With a name like Satsanga, I assumed the food would be South Indian—or at least Indian, which, frankly, I’ve had enough of over the past four weeks. So when someone suggests we go to Satsanga for dinner, I’m not particularly enthusiastic. Imagine my delighted whoop of joy, therefore, when I see the ‘French and Italian cuisine’ sign outside Satsanga!This is an al fresco dining place: a largeish yard, the ground covered with gravel and dotted with tables and wrought iron chairs (the latter with very bad upholstery—cushions that keep slipping all the time). The sloping roof jutting out over one end o...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 2, 2010

Satsanga
Rue de Bussy
Pondicherry, India