27 Jun 2022

Sita Cultural Center: Experiences That’s Straight From The Heart


The multi-layered cultural canvas of Pondicherry has been deeply inspirational in drawing visitors to this coastal hub from home and abroad. It has been no surprise that even chance visitors down the ages were lured into making it their home. Fleur, an avid traveller and culture buff, felt the strong pull of Pondicherry’s exciting culinary heritage and decided to put down roots in the town. Through the Sita Cultural Center, she has been helping visitors make wonderful discoveries in the culinary arts of the region through classes and workshops.

Fleur recalls how all her travels, from a very young age, were synonymous with discovery, culture, food, and the arts. And, since she often travelled the world on her own, she loved to combine her trips with new learnings and acquiring new skills. In the course of her travels, she started learning different dance forms in many countries she visited. She also learned quite a few languages, tasted new cuisines, and even learned how to cook them. This is what inspired her to share and offer similar experiences to the travellers coming to Pondicherry.

Furthermore, living in this tourist hotspot she really appreciates it when visitors respect the place, its inhabitants, and its culture. Pondicherry has a lot to offer, much more than restaurants and Instagram ‘able walls, she feels. That is what they want to propose to guests at the Sita Cultural Center – that they discover French and Indian traditions, and dive into the very unique Creole culture found only in India – at Pondicherry.

It is here visitors get their very first introduction to Pondicherry’s Creole cuisine, which shouldn’t be confused with what you will find on the eat streets of Louisiana in America. In fact, Pondicherry’s version of Créole food is all about the marriage of French and Tamil food.

The most appealing aspect of offerings provided by the Sita Cultural Center is that it’s an all-in-one space where all the culture and arts lovers can find an experience which suits their taste. They even have a package for the travellers who want to make the most of their stay and enjoy a half or full day of activities. Apart from their cooking classes the most popular offering is the Pondy Cycle Tour. The popularity of these is fuelled by the love and huge effort to offer the best experiences to the traveller by the entire team at the center. And the fact that the team really enjoys what it does is what makes a huge difference in making these travel programmes such a success.

Maintaining the appeal, charm and novelty factor of the programs for even repeat guests is what fuels their enthusiasm. There are guests who have been coming back since the past couple of couple of years, so the centre keeps adding new activities or improving its current ones. For instance, they started with a general India cooking class; then they widened the range of the recipes offered during this class. The centre also designs new classes– excellent examples are the Snack cooking class, the Tiffins at Lakshmi’s or even the Creole cooking class. So regular guests keep coming as they know there will be always something new for them to experience.

Apart from this, what also attracts them to return is the great atmosphere and sense of family that they find here. Visitors from the past often pop in on the first days of their trip in Pondicherry to say hello and get news. This was even more noticeable after Covid when borders re-opened. Some travellers were so happy to be back they almost fall into the arms of the team at the Sita Cultural Center.

Pre-Covid, the center, attracted 50% foreign and 50% domestic travellers. With the pandemic, most visitors at the center were domestic, so the team learned to adapt and add exciting new activities; the focus then was more on promoting the French touch of Pondicherry: they came up with a Wine and Cheese Tasting Session, a ‘petanque’ game initiation and a French Sweet Treats Tour.

Though tourism is booming in Pondicherry, there is something travellers will always look for: and that’s honest services that come straight from the heart.

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