Pondicherry is an absolutely enchanting town situated in the Union Territory of Puducherry in South India. Mainly known for its French history, even today entire place seems to be in some kind of time warp! The city’s history was not penned down until the French, Dutch and the British came to make Pondicherry one of their colonies. The nearby places, Villanur, Ariyankuppan, Arikamedu, Kakayanthoppe and Bahur were the places where the French East India Company initially colonized. Later these places collectively were called as the union territory of Pondicherry. The French established this city as their base of operations back in 1674. A fun trivia- in October 18th' 1954, there was an election for freedom of Pondicherry. 170 people voted for the freedom whereas 8 against it. Finally on November 1st' 1954 the control over Pondicherry was transferred from the French to the Indian Government although the agreement was signed much later on August 16th 1962.
Lush gardens, cute heritage buildings with yellow facade are the trademark of this cute historical town. The food in general conforms to the continental taste and in particular to French finesse! If you have heard or planned a trip here, you are sure to have stumbled upon the mention of Utopian township- Auroville, Basilica of the sacred Heart of Jesus, French war memorial and Sri Aurobindo Ashram. But these attractions are not the only things to do in Pondicherry! In this article we will tell you about some awesome classes that are organized in this historical French town. These are typical Indian things and ancient Indian Art that you can learn in Pondicherry within just a few hours!
Ayurvedic Medicines....Of course it is India After all!
In Pondicherry you will find classes where you can learn about Ayurvedic Medicines, their uses and how to prepare them. A trained instructor will teach you about the uses and remedies of the meds. In the course of 3 hours you will be taught about the 3 doshas, the five elements of human anatomy and other myths of the medicine which has been practiced in India for over thousands of years. The main purpose of this course is to make you familiar with your own physical constitutions and how you can use Ayurveda in your daily life. In Ayurveda there are a lot of things you need to know and even if you just try to grasp the basics, you need to first learn the purpose and philosophy of Ayurveda. This will be taught to you by the instructor who would also provide you a with a health chart for your internal metabolism and a guide on using Ayurvedic medicinal herbs. This course will help you understand Ayurveda in an intimate manner and open your eyes to the harsh side effects of modern medicines. It will definitely give you enough prowess for treating simple ailments of yours and your loved ones using Ayurveda!
Traditional Kolam......an auspicious pattern for your home entrance
In the Southern parts of India, every morning women draw patterns outside the doorstep with powdered rice. The main purpose of doing it every morning at the crack of dawn is to bring good luck and to draw in positive blessings from the Goddess. The class is for one and a half hour where you will be taught how to draw the Kolam patterns and glimpses of Indian Heritage and Culture.This class usually takes place in the Sita Cultural Center. It commences at 10 am in the morning slot and 3pm in the afternoon slot. The instructor is very helpful, he will explain you step by step how to use the rice and color powder together so that you can mix the two and make a breathtaking Kolam. This class can be attended by any age group. They also welcome groups with the maximum size of 6.
Art of Mehendi.....the temporary Tattoo but with most Intricate designs!
Mehendi is a typical Indian Henna based temporary tattoo, that brides, bridesmaids and even grooms get drawn on their palm, hands and feet. This tradition has been followed for thousands of years and is considered auspicious. In India, you don't get married without getting Mehendi! Apart from Weddings, Mehendi is donned during other auspicious occasions and social events too. The best thing about Mehendi is that, it is not permanent, it stays on for a week and then fades and finally comes off. In this one and a half hour class you will be taught how to put on these exotic and intricate designs. The class will also impart tips on how to make the patterns look brighter and how to take them off.
The instructor will also tell you what is the importance of wearing mehendi by the Indian girls. First you will be given a paper to practice the design then when you are comfortable with the twists and turns of the design, you either do it on your hand or on your friends’. All in all when you leave the premises you will have a beautiful memory of getting mehendi done and a palm full of them.
Tingle your taste buds with Traditional South India Cooking
Indian cuisines are world famous and there are so many of them! If you are a foodie and have a knack for cooking this course is the perfect one for you. Here you will be taught how to fix perfect and delicious South Indian traditional dishes. This includes food making with rice, fish/or chicken, vegetables and gravy. You will also learn how to make desserts. Out of 30 different types of culinary wonders you can take your pick, which can be one or more according to your convenience. You will be taught how to cook, serve and garnish it. There is an abundant array to pick from in the category of vegan dishes too! This class is best taken with your family as a family activity which makes it more fun.
The class commences somewhere around at 10 am where you would be accompanied by the cooking instructor who willhelp and teach you all about traditional south Indian cooking. You would be taken to Goubert market, which is a vintage market of Pondicherry, to buy the ingredients. Going to the market will give you the exposure to the typical south Indian market, food ingredients, aromas of spices and the buzzing atmosphere that these marts bring with them. Apart from South Indian food, you can also ask the chef to help you in cooking North Indian dishes. After the ingredients shopping when you come back to the centre, the chef will help you get familiarized with the spices and ingredients. Then you will be given a basic lesson about South Indian food cooking style. Feel free to ask any questions and the chef will be happy to answer them all for you. If you love the lessons and food, come back for more!
These were our pick of classes and things to learn in Pondicherry. The duration of the classes is short and can be comfortably accommodated in your holiday. Let us now give you some information on how to reach and where to stay in Pondicherry.
By Road: Pondicherry is very well placed and can be reached easily by Road, from Chennai which is the closest Airport. You can either hire a car or take bus which will take the scenic East Coast Road through Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) along the beautiful stretches of the seaside.
By Train: For people who are more comfortable in trains, they can also board the train from different places and cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kanyakumari, Pune etc. There are a lot of direct trains too.
By Air: Pondicherry does not have an Airport and Chennai is the closest one. The distance between Chennai and Pondicherry is 106 miles (170 kilometers).
Where to Stay In Pondicherry
Pondicherry has many options when it comes to accommodation. Here are our top picks across the budget spectrum, so whether you are on a tight budget or looking for luxurious indulgence we have it all here.Alternatively, you many simply type Pondicherry in the nice little hotel search box given here for a complete list of hotels.
Pondicherry is a place where you can relax and unwind. It is the perfect place where you can just let yourself go. The town is small but provides all sorts of facilities as it is one of the most visited places in South India, particularly by international travelers. Just mix up a little learning routine and refine your skills with these amazing classes. Next time when you come back from India, just carry a little more of it with you!!