I’m not sure if it it just the contrast with the bus ride from hell, but Pondicherry(now called Puducherry) is a total surprise and delight. There is a much calmer pace of life here compared to most Indian towns and cities. The colonial architecture is quite sweet, and the city has a grid layout making it very easy to find one’s way around. And it has sidewalks! The Park Guest House (associated with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram here) where I am staying, is quite nice as well.
Today I plan to stroll around the city a bit more, then explore nearby Auroville tomorrow.