If you ever go to Pondicherry, you must go to Auroville and if you are there, don’t return home without having a meal at Solitude Organic Farm Café! Set in a six-acre permaculture farm, this little no-frills restaurant serves one of the best vegetarian food. Krishna, a British and one of the pioneers of this self-sustainable farming community also who runs this restaurant. The farm grows indigenous millets and rice, oil seeds, grams and pulses, a wide diversity of vegetables and 16 varieties of fruit trees. The produce from the farm is used in the restaurant and also sold at some of the Auroville shops. There are options of delightful smoothies and herbal teas. Vegetarian food is cooked and served so beautifully and it was indeed a pleasure to sit in the farm and forest setting to enjoy the food. Food was subtly flavoured and delicious. We have to wash our own plates and glasses after the meal with ash and the husk of the coconut!! It is truly one of my most memorable vegetarian meal.Read more
As I entered the hotel, I was surprised to see huge colourful Indian statutes arranged in a line in the garden, as if they are guarding the hotel! The original walls of the house in the lower floor have been painted white. The teak wood panels and columns and the floor have been restored with new bricks, cement and hand-made tiles from the villages in Tamil Nadu. Old wood collected from levelled houses have been transformed into local handicraft and furniture to give a sophisticated contemporary design. The pillars in the lobby and the dark brown front door apparently are original. However, the beautiful wicker lanterns, the polished charcoal black Kadappa stone floor with inlays of vibrant Chettinad Athangudi tiles and the painstakingly hand-painted maps of India and Tamil Nadu on the walls are new. Athangudi tiles are known to age beautifully and tend to gain more sheen when we walk on it more.Read more
I had the opportunity to check out the other rooms and found the whole hotel well decorated and furnished with state- of- the- art antique furniture, furnishings, wall tiles and handicraft selected from all over India. Some of the rooms are furnished with high pedestal traditional Indian beds. All these details give the hotel a kind of spaciousness and elegant simplicity which I fell in love with instantly. I am sure hundreds of guests who have stayed here will swear too. Even the keys of the rooms are huge and old fashioned – the vintage skeleton keys. I love them.Read more
When you travel to some countries you will have to deal with new cultural norms and language barriers and you will have to deal with all these with lots of sensitivity. Many of us come from comfortable backgrounds and cannot demand the same when we are travelling in developing countries. As you explore and meet new people you discover new ideas and approaches to doing things and solving problems; many of which you can later apply to your own life or when giving advice to others. As you travel on, you will come across many beautiful people on the streets who may not speak the same language or have the same skin colour or who is of different socioeconomic status, educational background or religious beliefs. Some will be just a passer-by in your life and many will be entering your life for some purpose. Enjoy time spent with everyone you meet.
Officially called Puducherry, Pondicherry, is a coastal city on the fringes of the Bay of Bengal and was a French colony until 1956. The synergy of the French and Tamil culture gave birth to Franco-Tamil! French is still one of the spoken languages here and many of the streets bear French names. Some people say Pondicherry is the “Riviera of the East” with all its European style buildings and homes with French windows and balconies, elegant walkways, quiet quaint cafes, boutiques, guest houses, heritage buildings, churches, and tree line wide boulevards and all these not too far from the seafront. The White Town and the Tamil quarter known as the Black Town is divided by a canal.