Pondicherry is a town we visited late on our India trip. Situated on the South Eastern coast along the Bay of Bengal, it used to be a French colony (with stints of Portuguese and British rule in between before being turned back over to India in the 1950s). It shows. Cobblestone streets and crumbling colonial buildings intermix with ramshackle Indian shops and street-side stalls. The typical organization and planned beauty of a European town is juxtaposed against the third-world nature of garbage strewn streets. Many of the streets have French names. Several beautiful churches remain. It is an interesting town to say the least, and we wished we would have gotten to spend more time there. We did get some great pictures though that I thought I would share!
Watch out! These touts were VERY persistent!! You couldn’t even sit and enjoy the view without them bugging you to buy this drum or that necklace. Bargaining here is like it is in many Asian countries: the vendor starts ridiculously high and you pretend to be shocked, you counter ridiculously low and they feign serious pain. Finally you come to an agreement somewhere in the middle. We have learned over the past few months that the ultimate goal in bargaining is not getting the lowest price, but coming to a price that both parties can agree upon. By this time in our trip though, we were pretty tired of this. Sometimes bargaining is fun but other times I was glad to see places with “fixed prices”–higher, maybe, but easy to take or leave, no pressure.
Sri Aurobindo Press. Sri Aribindu was an British educated Indian lawyer, turned freedom fighter, turned yogi and spiritual teacher. He built an Ashram near by to teach Integral yoga and wrote much on the subject of bringing the divine into our daily lives. He was the first Indian to create a major body of literature in English.
To give you an idea, we began our India trip in Goa for a 3 week Yoga program, traveled South East for 10 days by train and sleeper bus stopping in Hampi and Pyramid Valley (not on map), Bangalore and ending in Pondicherry/Auroville. We then traveled back to Bangalore for a week to volunteer.
More to come on all the rest later!