It was a little before 1 by the time we left Mahabalipuram, with another 95 km to go before reaching Pondicherry, a stop en route to drop my uncle off at his office, and then a 160 km drive back to Chennai, so we'd have to hurry a bit. Which is too bad, because we saw another set of ancient temples on our way out of town, and we also had to skip the famous "Sea Temple".
More beautiful backwaters. The color contrast of the water here is particularly striking.
Some things never change regardless of where you are in India, though. The crowds and chaotic traffic are two such things.
On our way to the center of Pondicherry, a cow creates a traffic disturbance. Well, not really. It walks into the street, and people just drive around it. Cows are sacred to Hindus, and as such, are usually given free reign, even when roaming loose in the streets.
We arrive in the old center of Pondicherry shortly thereafter. Pondicherry was a French colony until 1964, at which time it was turned back over to India. My dad used to say that French was a required class in his medical school when he started, but the handover to India occurred a few months later, at which time they stopped teaching French. I don't know if that's true or not, but it sort of makes sense. Anyway, you can see the French influence in this part of the city - wide, tree-lined boulevards with typical French colonial-style buildings. Even the street signs are in Tamil and French. It's almost like being in the French Quarter in New Orleans, without the booze or beads.
...followed by an OK photo of the sun setting over the backwaters.