Travel

Right up your Rue: Your Weekend Guide to Pondy



 The sun is no longer lurking under the covers! Summer is back on, with the languorous air even more pronounced now. When you’ve ambled through the alleys and combed the beaches, you can always find respite and free-flowing conversation in one of Pondy’s myriad garden cafes. Or seek out one of those old-fashioned shade-endowed benches for a good, long read.

  TUCK IN:

Linger with food made for you: There are days when you want to just linger- but not at home. Pondy’s unhurried pace usually invites ‘lingering’, though the weekend rush may not make it always feasible. Which is why, the city seems to have space and takers for any number of cafes and lounges.

The attest addition to the city’s welcoming spaces is the Buddha Lounge on the terrace of the Red Lotus on Canteen Street. Earlier privy only to guests, the breezy terrace is open to weary travelers and tourists now. Despite its tin roof, the lounge is airy most of the time with the persistent yet faint hum of bustle from Nehru Street below making a backdrop for conversations on the cushioned settees scattered with bright blue cushions. Run by Chris and Daniela, the Red Courtyard has rooms with individual themes. But consultant Esther envisions the lounge is working as a place where people can laugh, relax and chat. “Here you won’t have anyone looking at their watch, tut-tutting that it’s time to go; we want it to be a place where guests feel familiar, are smiled at asked if they are comfortable and what they prefer.”

The lounge has several breakfast combos ranging from South-Indian to Continental. On mornings you feel like a greasy English fry-up, you can indulge in ham, tomatoes and eggs; if you prefer to keep up the French airs, then the ‘Parisien’ breakfast with croissants, home-made jams and French coffee may be right up your alley. Vegan options , an Auroville bread basket with selections from the Auroville bakery are also on the menu.

As of now, lunch and dinner are only on reservations, which have to be placed a day before. But the pains you take to book in advance might pay off, as the menu is customized to your preference. “I ask my guests what their tastes are- and if they like to be surprised, then I improvise,” says Esther whose forte is fusion food. Chicken with mango sauce, cheese pasta ,orange chicken are some of the staples here. “Call 9944237698 for reservations.

  SUMMER COOLER:

Kulfi in a corner

Easily the busiest street in the city, Nehru Street holds surprises that you may easily miss if you’re not looking closely. If you’re all hot and bothered after a spell of shopping, look out for Lallus/Honeydew.

 Close to the Canteen Street intersection, at any time of the day, all the little stools in this hole-in-the-wall establishment are taken up by folks who seem to have forgotten conversation, while being engrossed in digging out the contents of little white tubs.

While it is sought for its stash of Bengali sweets, the plastic tubs of kulfi have their own patrons. For a small price, you get to spend a few minutes lapping up a thick, creamy, milky mess which comes spiked with chocolate, pista and perhaps the best of the lot, saffron. A desi way to cool your heels!

  SPLURGE

 Bag masseuse: It’s not just people who get stressed; apparently, leather bags may need some rejuvenation too. If you own a Hidesign bag or wallet, you can take it to the flagship store on Nehru Street for a ‘nourishing massage’ with special cream and polish during the ‘Leather Care Week’. The store will also teach people how to care for leather accessories, anytime before June 1.

 PONDY ON THE WEB

All about Pondy: There are a handful of city portals which keep tourists and residents updated on events in the city while also providing a roster of accommodation options and fun things to do. Toutpondi, run by expats, is back with an upgraded and is a more exciting version of a city guide with practical advice. Be it holiday rentals, getaways near the city or important contact numbers, the website has a comprehensive list running. Find them at toutpondi.com.

WHAT TO DO

Tapping art out of nature: Can you conjure art from nature’s ever changing moods? Rivers and Tides, a multiple-award-winning documentary film, reveals how artist Andy Goldsworthy made ephemeral sculptures from elements of nature. The documentary will be screened by Tasmai art gallery at Kuruchikuppam this Sunday at 6 p.m. The film will bring the curtains down on the current art show, Kirti Chandak's Installations Part II. For more details, contact 0413 2221052. 

Weave your own handloom:  Pondy’s love for the natural, organic and handmade is no fleeting dalliance; there are new initiatives sprouting every now and then to keep this fascination going. Nature Eco Products has roped in weavers from Erode to teach handloom weaving techniques using natural fibres and grass. The store specializes in natural, bio-degradable handicrafts. Call 98435 91618 for details.

Find clues to combat climate change in a photo series: Heavy downpour and wintry climes in summer and dry spells during monsoons — the seasons as we know them are no longer the same. Climate change is a phrase bandied about often. The Alliance Francaise Pondicherry makes the concept vivid and clear through a photo series, ‘60 solutions against climate change’ by Yann-Arthus Betrand, supported by The Good Planet Foundation and Agence Française de Développement (AFD). Catch the images at the Maison Colombani on Rue Dumas. The exhibition hopes to inspire citizens in understanding and combating climate change.

Make time for a Bharatanatyam duet: Classical dance exponents Bakthan and Gayathri will showcase their repertoire where traditional style meets contemporary thought, at the Bharatha Kala Mandalam   on Aurobindo Street at 7 p.m. on Sunday.


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 10:22:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/travel/right-up-your-rue-your-weekend-guide-to-pondy/article7231937.ece

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