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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Pedal in vintage style around Pondicherry’s historic centre

You’ll see the small details you’d miss from a car or bus and really experience the sights, sounds and smells of the town…

By Manisha Ray
Cooking instructor and expert cycle guide at Sita Cultural Center

Bicycle is a perfect way to explore the heart of Pondicherry as you can go along the smallest and quietest of lanes, see the small details you’d miss from a car or bus and really experience the sights, sounds and smells of the town in the cool of the morning. 

During the relaxed guided two-hour ride, we visit all four heritage districts – the Muslim, Indian, Sri Aurobindo ashram and French quarters – where we make lots of stops to look at things and take photos. We go to Goubert Market, where there are vendors selling everything from fruit and vegetables to flowers and fish, and we also explore Kuruchikuppam village, where the fishermen live. I take people to see the basilica church – there’s a spot at the back of it where there are lots of trees and everyone takes pictures there – and we also see the mosque where The Life of Pi was shot and a Hindu temple dedicated to Ganesh. The main sight in the ashram area is a modernist building created by a Tokyo-based Czech architect, which is amazing and very different. 

The bicycles themselves, which we have in a wide range of sizes for all ages, are a sight in their own right. We use vintage cycles as they’re very strong and comfortable, so you won’t feel as if you’ve covered 6.5 kilometres, and they’ve been beautifully decorated in bright colours. Everyone loves them – when we’re out on them people will even stop us on the street to ask if they can take photographs!

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Alfred & Manisha Ray

Manisha Ray was born in Nagaland into an Oryia family and moved to West Bengal before finally settling in Pondicherry, which she loves to explore by bicycle. Having travelled so widely as a child, she speaks four Indian languages fluently along with English and French. She inherited her inborn talent for cooking from her grandmother and has mastered cuisines from all around the country, which she enjoys teaching to others.