Sure, long walks on the beach are relaxing and romantic. But this one is a bit different. With a war memorial at one end and a mesmerizing park at the other, Promenade beach is one of Puducherry’s most popular attractions…
WORDS BY- AMOG
The Promenade Beach is one of Puducherry’s most famous attractions. This one and a half kilometer stretch in Puducherry is all about long walks, warm conversations while having cold drinks, munching on peanuts while watching beautiful sunsets over the still waters of the Bay of Bengal and reminiscing about all things simple. That’s Promenade Beach for you.
Puducherry, India’s erstwhile French Colony and now a Union Territory, has been built by following an excellent town planning idea. Everything is in its place and nothing is too far away. Everything is clean, looked after and organized that the place is better known as White Town (referring to the French side of the town). The Promenade Beach is not too far away from the city. It is also referred to as Pududcherry Beach owing to how close it is to the city. The beach is dotted with several landmarks. There’s the French War Memorial that was inaugurated in 1971. It was constructed to commemorate and salute the fallen soldiers from French India in the First World War. There’s a statue of a soldier pointing his gun down depicting the distress. The back of the memorial carries a bronze bas-relief representing the arrival of Joseph François Dupleix.
Then there’s the inspiring Joan of Arc’s statue, the heritage town hall, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, Dupleix’s statue, the old Light House and then the remains of the old pier and customs house. These speak of the splendours of a bygone era, best enjoyed over a cup of hot tea sold by local vendors throughout the beach. But what really is the crown jewel of the Promenade is the Le Café.
The sunrise and sunset views from the beach are especially beautiful and so does the view of moon shimmering on the seawaters at night.
Soft sands under your feet, coffee snacks and of course croissants; all this and much more while the waves almost kiss your feet. This café feels like a vacation in itself.
Whoever walks this beach, finds something that piques his interest. There’s something for everyone. From fancy restaurants to food carts, guesthouses to luxury hotels; there’s everything for any discerning traveller. Don’t forget to shop and purchase a souvenir from the various handicraft stores on your way back though. There are tiny statues, lamps, incense and candle stands. Or if you’re looking for some fashion, there’s hand-printed kurtis and beautifully knitted bags and beanies.
At the Beach, all activity begins early in the morning. One can spot joggers and runners sweating it out in the morning sun or some just taking a relaxing walk to begin their day with the sun rising. There are also skating and yoga that happens here on a daily basis. And the best part is before 7 30 am and after 6 pm, the beach and surrounding area doesn’t allow vehicles. So people can go about doing what they love and kids can run around free without the fear of speeding vehicles or polluting air. The fresh juice stalls and coconut water vendors make sure you’re hydrated while the
chaat vendors and cut fruits with salt and chilly give you a few more reasons to stay back a little longer.
The Tourist Information Centre of PTDC is at one end of this grand stretch, housed in an aesthetic heritage building facing the sea.
It is well furnished and many visiting tourists simply walk in to ask their questions and to know more about the history of this beautiful beach.
The sunrise and sunset views from the beach are especially beautiful and so does the view of moon shimmering on the seawaters at night. The beach turns golden during sunrises and silvery white on moonlit nights.
And that’s one thing that this beach offers – it’s versatile. There are soft sands and foamy, silent waters on one end and a rocky end with waves crashing in. Whoever comes here finds their peace in the chaos of the city.
Families picnic here often. The colonial building, the salty air and the delectable food, they all make for a perfect day at the beach. Take a trip; a long walk on the beach is surely worth it. We’ve heard it is best enjoyed barefoot.