Pondicherry, more formally known as Puducherry, was under French colonial rule until 1954; the faded colonial buildings, churches, Gallic street names and cosmopolitan flair found in the French part of town is a clear indication of its unique past. Pondicherry still attracts Indian and European artists from all over and its world famous ashram have resulted in the town enjoying a somewhat bohemian feel. There are a wonderful variety of churches dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries to peruse, Promenade Beach, and an eclectic selection of boutiques that line the quiet cobbled streets. Converted colonial hotels provide a chic one or two night stay here, and there’s also the option of visiting nearby Auroville or taking part in a cookery lesson at a local home. Pondicherry combines brilliantly with Mahabalipuram and the temple towns of Tanjore and Trichy and we feel it’s a real highlight in Tamil Nadu.