When people talk about Pondicherry they have an idea in mind - it's a beach town where the booze is cheap and the cafes are plenty. But one of the main things that many people don't know is the fact that Pondicherry is also a brilliant place for shopping - whether you have a love for naturally dyed fabrics or maximalist accessories, whether you love thrifting branded clothes or buying curated books - there is a place to for them in the bright streets of pondicherry. With a host of brilliant designers based out of Pondicherry and the nearby township of Auroville, a lot of the boutiques here feature curated designs from local, national and even global labels.
Founded and managed by the Hidesign brand, Casablanca is an upscale boutique in Pondicherry’s Mission Street in White town. The multi floor shop is housed in a building that has the classic Pondicherry aesthetic - inspired by the colonial influence of the french. The store features a curated list of brands featuring lifestyle products. This includes everything from pondicherry made skincare brand of global recognition like Maroma, to artisanal chocolates from brands like Mason and Co., and beautiful attire from varying brands. They feature a stunning curated array of jewelry at the store, and some of the best Hidesign bags and accessories. Casablanca is one of the best places to get a retail taste of Pondicherry, if you are visiting. Featuring a small cafe within the store called Le Pondicherry, that offers great coffee and assortment of baked goods, this store is a quintessential stopover for those that are looking for a curated selection of brands and products from Pondicherry or loved by those of Pondicherry.
This boutique, including the book store CMYK inside it, was a part of the iconic Coromandel Cafe earlier. Post pandemic, the boutique has been shifted to a nearby building within walking distance from the cafe. The boutique and bookshop takes Founded by the chennai based Amethyst brand, the boutique and cafe are a reflection of Pondicherry that has been carefully curated through the medium of lifestyle. Featuring some of the best that India and the world has to offer - from Claymen knick knacks and gorgeous ceramic interior pieces, to stunning clothes and beautiful accessories from select brands that cater to the aesthetic and taste of Pondicherry locals and travellers alike.
Founded by Vasanty Manet, a pondicherry origin dancer who inherited the Franco-indian culture of the coastal town and has lived in Pondi and Paris, Via Pondichery is a staple visit if you are travelling to Pondicherry. The boutique located in Mission Street features ladies bags, shawls and products that have been meticulously curated by Manet - and are inspired by Indian tradition in terms of textures, colours, craftsmanship, but yet have a very contemporary and trendy feel. It was founded in 1998 and today, Via Pondichery is a boutique which has also become an that curates lifestyle collections that have vibrant Indian and French inspirations.
Raghav Collections/JN Street
This one might be a suggestion that is off the left field for this list, but if you are in Pondicherry some of the best of fashion that you can get is found at the most unassuming places. Jawaharlal Nehru Street in the town features a lot of street shoppers who feature discounted pieces or factory rejects, much like Commercial Street in Bangalore or Sarojini in Delhi. If you are someone with the patience to dig through and find hidden gems, Raghav Collections is what looks like an unassuming store, but is one of the shops that feature the best discounted attire that you can get in pondicherry. From Old Navy and MANGO to Disney originals, if you are lucky and have a little patience, Raghav Collections and the street shops in Pondicherry are great places for those that love a good thrifted deal.