Beach Road Pondicherry- An Evening Walk to Enjoy
Bapu was born in Porbandar, a city with nice beaches, and historical port that was once major center of commerce, but that later became known for gang wars and movies were made on its notorious Gang led by the Godmother Santokben Jadeja, where Shabana Azmi played the lead character. But Bapu left Porbandar long ago and left his mark not only in this country but also in South Africa and other countries in the world.
To respect Bapu’s association with the beach city he was born in almost every city on a beach in India has a Gandhi Statue, on the beach not to say that cities without beaches don’t have them.
But the Gandhi Statue on Beach Road in Pondicherry or Pondicherry is the big daddy or Bapu of all Gandhi Statues in the country. Standing larger than life at 4 meters plus the platform it is in a Lutyens Delhi style Gazebo, surrounded by granite pillars giving it a grand look. The kids in our country love Baapu even today which was evident from all of them trying to pose with him when I visited the beach road in Pondicherry for a walk. Though the statue does not have direct access but kids make it a point to climb the triangular slides kind of approach and reach the base of the same. This statue is a little tough to photograph as the statue is made of black granite and is surrounded by white marble structure, with blue sky as the background so pictures either come too dark or too bright depending on where you are focusing.
I have never seen kids and even young couples getting clicked with a Gandhi Statue, and even if this was purely for a touristy purpose. I felt very happy that Bapu is not just idolized he is still revered to be clicked by a generation who only knows him through textbooks, most of them having missed even the epic Richard Attenborough masterpiece, Gandhi.
Let me come back to the walk on the beach road in Pondicherry is the central attraction of downtown Pondicherry or Puducherry. Though the name Beach is a misnomer as after the Tsunami it has been covered by the rocks and the beach is just a sliver of sand. Most people visit the road in the evening to enjoy the cool breeze, and the yummy street foods of India like, chaat, sev poori masala corns, bhajia, gol guppa or pani puri or puchka a favorite of all women in India. Once you have had your favorite yummy spicy treat haggle with some street vendors who are selling from balloons to semi-precious stones along the pavement, though remember the 50 Rs you are haggling to save from her could be her margin for the day. On the other side of the road, you will see historical buildings like the lighthouse and the old customs house, which looks like a haunted house in the picture I took.
The beauty of the Beach road is that traffic is not allowed in the evening and you can see both Indian families and foreign tourists enjoying the breeze and doing things that tourists are supposed to do. The Gandhi statue is very close to the famous landmark Le Café which has become a shadow of its Former glory and is able to sell food only because of its location. It is tough to judge which is lousier their food, the service or the cleanliness, but the view of the sea is undoubtedly beautiful. There are many hotels and restaurants on the beach road and behind it most of them are within walking distance, so take your pick.
So next time you are in Pondicherry or Puducherry as it is now called as part of renaming process don’t miss the beach road, buy some corn on the cob from the street vendor or if you are less adventurous some popcorn or peanuts and hold the hand of your beloved and take a leisurely stroll. Don’t forget to stop in front of one of the tallest statue of the father of the nation and ask any stranger passing by to click a picture of yours. You never know that stranger could be your friendly Desi Traveler as I did for more than 5 different groups during my last visit.
How to reach Beach Road Pondicherry?
All roads in Pondicherry end or begin at the beach road after which you will need a boat unless you want to swim. Pondicherry is very safe for all kind of tourists including single women traveler, especially the beach road area and you will find uniformed cops silently walking the area till late in the night.
If you go to the other end of the beach road you will find a small children’s park with a Statue of Dupleix. This 3 meters tall statue is of Joseph Francois Dupleix, who was governor of Pondicherry from 1742 to 1754, and I think Duplex apartments are named after him or my thinking is wrong and it is a coincidence. 🙂
Other useful blog posts in the Visit to Pondicherry Series
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