Mahé, known as Mayyazhi in the local Malayalam language, is officially a part of the Union Territory of Puducherry. Mayyazhi means “eyebrow of the sea”. It is a small 9 sq kms beautiful town surrounded on all sides by Kerala. Mahé has a small railway station where very few local and express trains stop, the nearest major railway station being Thalassery and Kannur. Mahé was formerly a French colony until 1954 when the anti-colonial struggle began and it got culminated with Indian territory.
Being duty free, the liquor shops are scattered all over the town and I could see the ratio being 1:3, one liquor shop for every three shops in town. St. Theresa’s Shrine near Civil Station is the most famous Christian Church in Malabar area. This church was built during French rule and stands as a monument to the legacy of French rule.
Mahé has a very beautiful riverside walkway where walking or just relaxing in the evening is a bliss when cool Arabian Sea breeze beats the day heat. Walkway is being extended few hundred meters more, the construction of which is going one. A statue of Marianne just at one of the entrance to the walkway still stands as one of the proudest symbols of the French revolution. Marianne is an imaginary character established by the French for the 100th anniversary of the French revolution. During freedom struggle of Mahé, this statue was smashed out and thrown into the sea but later taken out as repentance and erected on a stone which is now a well maintained park after the name of a famous poet Tagore.
A small bridge joins old Mahé with new Mahé but old Mahé is where you will find the real essence of French rule.
Make your hotel reservation before arriving as this small place has very few hotels & lodges which remains full most of the time.