The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram

Tripoto
2nd May 2022

Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram are two beautiful places located on the East Coast of India. While one is famous for its French heritage, the other is marked as a UNESCO world heritage site housing monuments dating as far back at the 7th Century A.D.

I've been to Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram earlier, but this time I was keen on exploring my favorite destinations with my husband - and thus, we set out on a roadtrip.

Here's our itinerary: Bangalore- Vellore- Pondicherry- Mahabalipuram- Kanchipuram-Bangalore

Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Day 1

We started from Bangalore at 7 am. Since we had packed our breakfast, we did not stop anywhere. But Krishnagiri is the best place to get some breakfast on the way if you are keen. It is around 2 hours from Bangalore. The journey was smooth with huge monoliths dotting the road sides.

On the way is Vellore, about 4 hours from Bangalore. Vellore Fort is worth exploring. However, owing to the inclement weather, we gave it a miss this time.

Scene while going...Somewhere near Krishnagiri

Photo of Krishnagiri by Aparajita

Scene while coming back... Somewhere near Krishnagiri

Photo of Krishnagiri by Aparajita

Finally we reached Pondicherry around 2.30 PM and checked into Hotel Atithi. It's in white town, located just around 700m from the Rock Beach, which is the main beach of Pondicherry.

In the evening, we headed off to explore Rock Beach. The walkway along the beach, called The Promenade, is the best place to take a stroll in the evening, when there's a cool breeze blowing.

Rock Beach Pondicherry

Photo of Hotel Atithi by Aparajita

While strolling, we came across this landmark.

Mahatma Gandhi Statue Pondicherry

Photo of Gandhi Statue by Aparajita

Exploring the French Connection of Pondicherry further, we found this beautiful memorial built as a tribute to the soldiers of the First World War from French India.

French War Memorial

Photo of French War memorial by Aparajita

The lighthouse could also be spotted from here.

Pondicherry Lighthouse

Photo of New Light House by Aparajita

Our final destination for the day was Aayi Mandapam, a beautiful but lesser visited French monument built in honor of an Indian courtesan.

Aayi Mandapam Pondicherry located inside Bharathi Park

Photo of Aayi Mandapam by Aparajita

Finally, we went to Villa Shanti for dinner. It is a heritage building converted into a hotel. and has a restaurant too. There's a mix of French and Indian food here. It is always packed, so go early or make a prior reservation. The prices are steep, and the menu is limited. We liked the food but found the place a bit overhyped.

Photo of Villa Shanti for food lovers by Aparajita
Photo of Villa Shanti for food lovers by Aparajita
Photo of Villa Shanti for food lovers by Aparajita
Photo of Villa Shanti for food lovers by Aparajita
Photo of Villa Shanti for food lovers by Aparajita
Photo of Villa Shanti for food lovers by Aparajita

Our eventful day came to an end, and we started our preparation for the next one.

Day 2

The next day started with breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast, we went to Paradise Beach. We took the land route, and landed at Sandunes Resort. It was well maintained, and the sea looked gorgeous and inviting.

Photo of Paradise Beach by Aparajita
Photo of Paradise Beach by Aparajita
Photo of Paradise Beach by Aparajita
Photo of Paradise Beach by Aparajita
Photo of Paradise Beach by Aparajita

We were back to the hotel by 12 pm. After that we went in search of French Food, and found this hole in the wall place called Street French Café, serving really tasty crepes and other continental street food.

We had French Onion Soup, Mushroom Crepe, Bruschetta and everything was really tasty. Highly recommended for some French food.

Photo of STREET FRENCH CAFE by Aparajita
Photo of STREET FRENCH CAFE by Aparajita
Photo of STREET FRENCH CAFE by Aparajita
Photo of STREET FRENCH CAFE by Aparajita
Photo of STREET FRENCH CAFE by Aparajita

In the evening, we went to the Promenade again for sunset. However, we considered 2 other options:

One was going to Pichavaram for a sunset ride through the world's second largest mangrove forest. The other was going to Eden Beach in Pondicherry which is a blue flag certified beach.

For dinner we went to Tantos Pizzeria near Auroville for pizza and risotto. Their wood fired pizzas and iced tea is a blessing for the senses.

Photo of Tanto Pizzeria by Aparajita
Photo of Tanto Pizzeria by Aparajita
Photo of Tanto Pizzeria by Aparajita

Finally a long day came to an end.

Day 3

On our third day, we checked out of Pondicherry. The plan was to visit Auroville on the way.

But it was extremely hot, and we had both visited Auroville before, so we gave it a miss. However, if you haven't visited Auroville, then it is a must visit place. Matrimandir, the golden globe is one of the most Instagrammable places, apart from being a haven for mediation. The bakeries in Auroville are simply superb. 

From Pondicherry to Mahabalipuram, we took the East Coast Road (ECR) and reached in about 2 hours. The distance is around 95 km.

Photo of Auroville by Aparajita
Photo of Auroville by Aparajita

In Mahabalipuram, we opted to stay at Radisson Blu.

For us, the highlight of our visit to Mahabalipuram was a relaxing stay at this resort. It's a bit expansive, but has a meandering pool of 27000 sq ft, an infinity pool overlooking the sea, a private beach, a world-class restaurant, kids play area, a host of activities like ATV rides and canoeing on the pool, and a refreshing spa.

In the evening we went to Wharf, their sea side restaurant and had some snacks. Then we strolled around the beautifully lit up resort at night.

Photo of Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram by Aparajita
Photo of Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram by Aparajita
Photo of Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram by Aparajita
Photo of Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram by Aparajita
Photo of Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram by Aparajita
Day 4

The fourth day was spent exploring the 7th century Monuments of Mahabalipuram. These monuments have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our first stop was Shore Temple. The beautiful sculptures are a sight to behold. But it's really hot and sunny, so best to visit the monuments early in the morning. Also, carrying an umbrella really helps.

Photo of Shore Temple by Aparajita
Photo of Shore Temple by Aparajita
Photo of Shore Temple by Aparajita

The sea waves can be seen in the background of the temple, crashing into the rocks.

Our next stop was Krishna's Butter Ball, a huge rock balanced on the edge.

Photo of Krishna's Butter Ball by Aparajita

Just before entering we saw Arjuna's Penance, also known as Descent of the Ganges. It is the world's largest open air rock relief sculpture.

Photo of Arjuna's Penance by Aparajita
Photo of Arjuna's Penance by Aparajita

Just next to Krishna's Butter Ball is the Ganesh Ratha Temple.

Photo of Ganesha Ratha by Aparajita

We didn't go to see the Panch Rathas because it was really hot. Otherwise, it was a definite to do on our list. Then, we went back to the resort for a dip in the meandering pool.

Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita

In the evening, we decided to explore the other side of the resort facing the sea. They had arranged for seats to view the sea waves, if we didn't want to venture into their private beach. Their infinity pool is also located next to the sea shore. There was also a wedding going on and the lawns were all decked up.

We watched the moon rise from here, then went for a foot massage at the spa.

Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita
Photo of The Best Of Beaches, Temples & Food: A Roadtrip From Bangalore To Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram by Aparajita

Finally we had dinner and a long day came to an end.

Day 5

The next morning, we checked out post breakfast and it was time to head home. We took the road that was through Kanchipuram.

We didn't stop here, but Kanchipuram is hardly an hour's drive from Mahabalipuram and is famous for its ancient temples and Kanchivaram sarees.

For all those looking out for a beach vacation from Bangalore, Pondicherry & Mahabalipuram are definitely great options to consider.

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