Opp.VOC School 1/34 by Tripoto
Swarchaa
Pondicherry, or Puducherry as it is fondly called, has successfully preserved its French-ness if I must say. :p (you can still see policemen dressed in white and red uniforms). If you are planning for a 2-3 day budget getaway, this is the place (esp. if you are from Bangalore and work in IT). After a monotonous month we were really in need of a break of at least 2 days when the idea of Pondicherry popped up. Although we were a little reluctant as we thought it would be hot and humid,believe me, it wasn’t a disappointment at all. The city has maintained its beautiful architecture and integrity. The plan of the city is a French grid pattern which makes it really easy to navigate; I learnt some of the routes within a day. We took a bus to Pondi (as the bike needed some rest) - the routes are really nice, even if you suffer from motion sickness, it will pass before you know. We reached Pondi early morning, say by 5 am, and checked into Shenbaga Hotel at Mg Road, the rooms are comfy and most importantly, hotel staff is really understanding- although the checkin was at 12:00, they allocated us a room with our specification within no time. We rested for a while and then left to explore the city by 9:00am. We hired a maestro to drive around the city. Tasting French cuisine and wandering aimlessly on the beaches were on the top of our list. We first visited The Paradise beach. There is a ferry that takes you to the beach that has a few eating joints- please remember to carry enough cash- they do not accept cards anywhere. It is a nice beach but slightly crowded as it is the only beach in the city- not a place if you are looking to sit by the sea and enjoy waves silently with your beer! :-p However you can enjoy on the beach, on the sand, get drenched, and have fun- don’t forget to carry your stuff as there are properly built changing rooms. We spent some good amount of time playing around and left for the Promenade- the best buffet in town. There was a huge variety of French cuisines at the hotel and was ravishing (I prefer spicy food though and that persuaded me to re-think about going abroad :-p ). Sitting in a classy ambiance, enjoying lunch with the sound of waves (it is on the shore yayyyy!) and having a conversation is something that drives me to peace- a much needed vacation I thought. We went for a long drive after a heavy lunch on the ECR.  We also visited the serenity beach on the same day, it is little far from the city but totally worth it, very calm and quiet and a beautiful place to enjoy your evening tea. Later in the day, we visited Zuka Chocolate cafe, which has become my favorite. I am not a chocolate lover but this place made me fall in love with chocolate so much so that we visited it again the next day, the preparation, presentation, taste, chocolate – the people there know how to blend all of it together with perfection such that the chocolate melts as soon as you take it in. It truly is a kingdom of chocolate and I am still craving for some more. We shopped a little on the Nehru street as we had planned to pack light and carried only a pair of clothes, we needed to be more beach-presentable :-D It was fun. Next day, we left the hotel at 7:30, soon after having breakfast at the hotel. We had planned to visit churches- it was Sunday and we have a thing for services. The first church that we visited was – Church of the Sacred heart of Jesus, an interesting display of French architecture, mixture of colors, lovely quotes on walls, positive vibes, and a rewarding experience is what I can say about this place. I wanted to go for scuba diving, but there were no empty slots, so we continued to the Café Des Arts- do not miss this – it is a pastel tone beautiful experience – that offers pancakes to die for!!! We had Nutella pancakes and I can’t seem to forget its taste. Then we left for Auroville beach- a steep beach away from city again and not a disappointment at all, spent some good time there and continued to Auroville- an experimental town 12 km from Pondi, houses a mixed community, an aura filled with silence and greenery was a different experience. “Mantrimandir” so called a symbol of the Divine's answer to man's aspiration for perfection. People of this place believe in an unending education, of constant progress, and a youth that never ages, that is one of the reason you can easily spot people of different age groups here. After this, we went to Café Xtasi – a place that provides unlimited choices of amazing wood fired crisp and delicious pizzas (we ordered a chicken pizza and totally loved it). Second church we visited was “Immaculate Conception Cathedral“ which is right opposite to this café and so we happened to visit that too. A 300 year old church with a very big ground and a lovely architecture; it was packed when we visited, due to a gathering.  We then visited a book fair where I bought some 6-7 nice books to stock up my reading stack. Our trip was coming to an end- it was around 11 in the night and we wanted to relive the entire 2 days again, we came to seaside promenade, sat on rocks for hours, chatting. We ended our trip at a 24 hour coffee café called Le café, munching on fries and sipping coffee. We got back to Bangalore the next morning, the pondi episode was over but with this trip we brought back loadzzzz of lasting memories. Waiting to go back sooon……… P.S. you can find more pictures from our trips on instagram!! And all pictures have been clicked using my OnePlus :)