The first mention of Puducherry, also known as Pondicherry or Pondi, located on the southeast coast of India was recorded only after the arrival of colonial powers like Dutch, Portuguese, English and French. All these four colonial powers competed for the ownership of Pondicherry. At the end, when British occupied most of India, Dutch kept their presence limited to Goa and French got their position settled in Pondicherry and other smaller coastal areas of India.
Puducherry still holds a great French, Portuguese, Dutch and English influence in many aspects - food and architecture being two major ones.
Food in Puducherry bears a close resemblance to French cuisine where their spices, cooking techniques and ingredients are beautifully blended with Indian cuisine. Thus, presenting an array of exceptional Indo French fusion cuisines. Most of the dishes served in restaurants of Puducherry have same names as used by Portuguese, French and English decades back.
Though the recipes have evolved over the years, most curries are still served with French baguettes. Delicacies like Dodol from Goa come from Portugese cuisine.
Most of the architecture of Puducherry bears a strong imprint of French colonies in their local buildings and monuments. The great French heritage imparted to this place is seen in places like statue of Joan of Arc, Children’s park Dupleix statue, the Mairie building which is now the Puducherry Municipality, Romain Rolland Library, Church of Lady of Angels, French War Memorial and the Consulate Building of France.
Not just that, boulevards around the main city, city center with it’s oval design, street signs in Tamil and French, French styled roads along the sea are a few other remarkable examples of French and Dutch influence. As one strolls through the roads of Puducherry, one won’t miss the local French people who have been living there for years with the native Indians.