Back in 2018, I took a 3-day short trip to one of the absolutely gorgeous towns in the southern part of India located by the Bay of Bengal. Pondicherry, or fondly called as Pondi, is a city where colors reside. This charming little town, a Union Territory, near Tamil Nadu with its retained French charm and authentic French buildings is any traveller’s retreat. The town is mostly famous for two elements: vibrantly loud painted French buildings with the classic French name plates and the artistic beaches. What more can you ask for a vacation? It is perfect for an escapade when life gets too much to handle.
Starting with the White Town, paradoxical to its nomenclature, it is anything but white. It is the place where the real essence of Pondi has been captured with its Gothic Colonial Buildings, majestic churches, French architectured houses painted with every lively colors possible. Those beautifully crafted Bougainville creeping through the chrome-yellowish shiny walls will give you a perfect posing backdrop, especially with the bicycles very cleverly parked outside these walls somehow represents the authentic Pondi. So you ought to have atleast one photo with a cycle leaning on the wall to feel the city in its truest sense. A lazy stroll through these clean colorful streets of the White Town, exploring the infamous cafés of the town is a pocket paradise.
And then of course, the Promenade Beach and the Rock Beach is every traveller’s paradise. Though its not permissible to venture into the sand and sea, you can comfortably, or semi-comfortably sit on those big bad boulders and enjoy the scenic beauty of sea, sand and sun. Nothing can surpass this unified beauty. The best time to visit would probably be during sunset or sunrise. Or you can rent a scooter or bicycle or simply walk through those cozy fancy streets and the beaches. Though there are many restaurants across the beach giving you the perfect view, there is one beachside terrace café that would probably transcend you to some other world of serenity. Though the food in the café is so great but when the view is right, food becomes secondary. So stretch your legs, order some sandwiches and enjoy the cool breeze of the ocean with a hot cup of coffee.
The earthly Paradise of the town, Paradise Beach, aka Plage Paradiso, is nothing but a true heavenly abode. If there's a place called Heaven on earth, then probably this is it. An island surrounded on one side by the sea and the other by a river, is truly the Promised Land. One of the most clean, isolated beaches in India, situated in Chunnambar, close to the town, with small hut like structures designed to provide shade and comfort, and the clear blue water of the ocean will be a magical experience. You can reach there by a Ferry ride across the backwaters from the boathouse. But remember entry to the beach shuts down after 4pm, so make sure you visit as early as possible. If you're a beach baby, then carry some beach clothes and enjoy this beachy vacation. It would take one complete day of your planned vacation, so make sure you don’t have any other engagements later.
Famous for providing spiritual salvation, Auro Ville is a treat to visit.You can rent a scooter, switch on your GPS and visit the Ashram that is only an hour away from the town. Walk to the main Matri Mandir can be a little arduous if the weather is too sunny, but it will be worth the walk. And when you are out there, try out their lovely juices. You will not be allowed entry into the Mandir premises as it requires prior booking, so if you want to spend a day or two meditating, book your dates beforehand.
Other than these awe-inspiring scenic destinations, the little cafés and not-so-fancy restaurants would work as a cherry on top. I will be back with another blog with all the information of these quaint little restaurants. So, till then, if you want to stay away from the hassle and tassel of this chaotic world and taste the bountiful pleasures of a country life, then Pondicherry is your calling.