Monday, January 24, 2011

Bonjour Pondy!

Also catch this post on Vogue India website here

The famous French colony of 18th century, Pondicherry’s charms are famous far and wide. The relaxed lifestyle, the French eateries and colonial architectural influence are some of the popular attractions. What I didn’t know was that Pondicherry is also becoming one of the fastest growing markets for eco-friendly and natural products. Blame it on its proximity to Auroville or the constant foreign tourist rush, the city’s shops are flooded with hand-made products.

Being hosted by my long time friend, Bidisha Samantray, I was bound to see the places that even lonely planet forgets to mention. So, reporting from a secluded beach in Auroville, I’m writing this post sitting outside my hut with only the sounds of a roaring ocean and some chirping of the birds.

My shopping excursion had to start with Living Art, the freshest store opened in the white town on the street Rue du Bazar Saint Laurant. Housing some of the most beautifully crafted products, providing employment to several villages across Orissa, Rajasthan and Gujarat, Bidisha’s store is full of charming little things from apparel to home furnishings to antiques and furniture. Best thing about this store is its selection of merchandise and its apt pricing. Its a must visit for its gorgeous appliqué bags, kaftan tops and innovative home furnishings.

The second Destination was Via Pondicherry, which was particularly nice for its selection of leather bags and accessories.

Next, Bidisha took me to the magical La Maison Rose, a colonial bunglow converted to a shopping place and restaurant.

This Bunglow houses three beautiful shops Oh la la!, Domus and Amethyst. I loved Oh La La! for its simplicity of design. The crinoline skirt with a wired hem is perfect a statement piece or a petticoat for gorgeous shaping.

Giving high street a break, Bidisha took me street shopping to her favourite roadside vendor, Opposite the Post Office, this is a treasure trove for all export brands that Indians are devoid of otherwise. You would be surprised to find some incredible chic pieces here!

My final stop, before leaving to Auroville was the fisherman market which is a great place for the plastic weave ‘lunch box’ bags and traditional imitation jewellery and other knick-knacks. Do not miss this market. Its a great place for photography too. (Though I forgot mine in all the excitement)

Also, when in Pondy do not miss having cocktails at the terrace top restaurant Qualithe, a rather shady place, popular hangout for the young tourists and savvy locals. Satsanga, a fine dining restaurant is another recommendation for brilliant French food.

While you’re walking down the promenade and past the beautiful Indo-French architectural wonders, you come to realise that this city is as charming as the decadent rosebud carefully nestled in middle of that old romantic novel. So totally classic and yet so endearing and special. A trip I’ll never forget.

Much Love,


A Lot Like Fashion said...

Pondicherry for me is the ultimate getaway! :) In some ways, I enjoy it more than Goa! :)
Clearly you had a good trip! :D

Masoom R. Minawala said...

Iv never been to Pondicherry, but from your pictures it definitely looks like a place worth a visit :)

Spardha Malik said...

thanks girls!

Its definitely up there on the must-travel-to-destination list!!!

Mitr Friend - Bhushavali said...

The shops are great!!! Love the outfits!!!
Fashion Panache now Sells!!!

ClassyandFabulous said...

wow i love ur bag. and great pictures :)

Nishi said...

You didn't go to Hi-Dee-Zine? for some reason all the girls in my group made a huge deal out of shopping at it's outlet in Pondi, factory price or some such.

PS: I know you told me it's hide-sign but I'm sticking to my guns :P

shooting star said...

wow...pondicherry seems my kinda place!!!!.....

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