Things To Do In Pondicherry

Pondicherry has been a favourite for travellers from across the world. Home to Auroville, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, art galleries, White Town, and a plethora of historical monuments, the city has been charming travellers for decades. The French quarters are fondly known as White Town and offer travellers several things to see in Pondicherry. Ideal for solo travellers, backpackers, spiritual seekers, artists and nature lovers – Pondicherry is where you can spend weeks without getting bored.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Visit Auroville

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live away from the everyday demands of city life? Away from a stifling schedule where everyone works together for the growth of the community. Auroville will give you the insights you need. Situated away from the main city, a visit to Auroville is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry. 

 

Taking you into another world, a visit to the city of Auroville in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary promises a plethora of experiences including a visit to Matrimandir, Auroville beach and the myriad cafes. The city is divided into various sections including Peace Zone, Cultural Zone and the resident area. You can head here as a visitor and even as a volunteer to experience the bliss of a quiet life.

 

The people of Auroville have made immense efforts in creating and maintaining the eco-balance and the entire area is surrounded by verdant gardens and a thick forest cover. We recommend booking a tour of Auroville in your things to do in Pondicherry since it makes the experience far smoother. You must also include a visit to the numerous cafes here for a taste of cuisines from across the world. Our recommendations are Velo Cafe, Right Path Cafe and Flower Pot Cafe.

Cost: A tour of Auroville in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary can cost you anywhere between Rs.1000 to Rs.1500.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Scuba Diving

Pondicherry is one of the few places in India which offers an exhilarating scuba diving experience. Situated on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, the clear waters of Pondicherry are ideal for a visit to the underwater world.

 

If you are an adventure enthusiast, a scuba diving experience should be a part of your best things to do in Pondicherry itinerary. The best thing about trying scuba diving in Pondicherry is that you have an opportunity to learn from PADI certified divers. If you are planning to include a scuba diving experience in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary, we strongly recommend keeping aside an entire day to make the experience more fulfilling. The popular diving sites in the city are Temple Reef, Arvind’s Wall, The Hole and Coral Shark Reef. 

 

The diving sites in the city promise a range between 5m to 40m which implies both amateurs and experts can expect to have a great experience. Do book your scuba diving tour from authorised and approved operators to ensure you have a safe experience. 

Cost: A scuba diving experience in your best things to do in Pondicherry itinerary can cost you anywhere between Rs.4000 to Rs.8000 depending on your tour operator.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Cycling tour

Travellers have often claimed about the joy of discovering new places on two wheels. And we have to agree. Cycling is not only a great exercise, but it’s also a unique way to experience a city. So if you are in the mood to add some adventure to your holiday, we recommend including cycling in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary.

 

If you are a solo traveller, you can join a cycling tour with fellow travellers. On the other hand, if you are travelling in a group, you can book a cycling tour customised to your travel interests. Pondicherry is one of the few cities in India where you will see that cycling is the preferred route of travel for locals and tourists. Apart from exploring the sights in the city, you can also head out to nearby villages, historical sites or the beachside to experience nature in its glory. 

 

Travellers can also hire a cycle for the entire duration of your trip. This will not only help you navigate nearby areas but will also give you a reliable source of commute.
Cost: Including a cycling tour in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary will cost you anywhere between Rs.100 to Rs.1000 depending on your tour.

 

Things to do in Pondicherry: Visit the Pondicherry Lighthouse

A visit to the lighthouse is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry. A mesmerising landmark, the old lighthouse in Pondicherry is almost a part of its riveting history. While it’s out of operation, the breathtaking views offer photographers an unmissable opportunity to capture a perfect picture. 

 

Visitors are not allowed in the old lighthouse, but you can always head to the new one to admire beautiful views of the city below. The Old Lighthouse was erected in 1836 by L. Guerre and guided people at sea for decades before shutting down in 1979.

 

One of the best things to do in Pondicherry, the new lighthouse was then erected and gradually become one of the most popular things to see in Pondicherry. You can head here during the early evening to enjoy a stunning sunset or even spend late afternoons under the mild sun. Remember to keep your phone charged because you won’t be able to resist capturing the views here.

Cost: Including a trip to the lighthouse in things to do in Pondicherry can cost you anywhere between Rs.100 to Rs.400.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Heritage Walk around the City

An erstwhile French colony, Pondicherry is home to some spell-binding architectural marvels which were a big part of the city’s past. So what could be better than including a heritage walk in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary? 

 

Striking the perfect blend between French and Indian architecture and culture, the numerous sites in the city are best explored with a travel guide. The heritage walks are typically between three to four hours and begin in the morning. 

 

One of the best things to do in Pondicherry, besides the enthralling vintage markets, the French Square and the Indian Square are beautiful sites to explore with fellow history lovers. The heritage walk also takes one along the Promenade, Aurobindo Ashram, Ecole Francaise d’Extreme-Orient and numerous gallic-influenced buildings, white-hued cafes and vibrant boutiques. Tracing the history of the city, there are many highlights of the heritage walk depending on your interests.

 

Keep your camera charged and your notebooks handy to pen down important dates and anecdotes which are the most interesting part of the heritage tour. 

Cost: A heritage walk in things to do in Pondicherry packages can cost one anywhere between Rs.200 to Rs.1000.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Surfing at Serenity Beach

Serenity Beach is located 10km from Pondicherry and owes its name to a popular spa resort which is situated on the beach. Also known as Kottakuppam Beach, it’s one of the best beaches in Pondicherry if you want to try your luck with surfing.

 

One of the best things to do in Pondicherry for adventure lovers and nature lovers, surfing in Serenity Beach is ideal for both beginners and professionals. There are a few schools located around the beach which offer beginner sessions as well as surfing equipment for your experience.

 

If this is your first experience with surfing, we recommend coming here in the morning so that you have the whole day to learn the tricks. Slightly on the higher side, a short one-day course here can cost you anywhere between Rs.500 to Rs.1500.

 

For those who don’t enjoy surfing, a visit to Serenity Beach is a must include in things to do in Pondicherry itinerary owing to the spellbinding sunset views. You can head here for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience amidst the cool sea breeze and the warmth of the sun. 

Cost: Including a surfing experience in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary will cost you anywhere between Rs.500 to Rs.2500.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Try French cuisine in the local cafes

Food lovers have often claimed that Pondicherry is one of the most captivating destinations for a culinary journey. Owing to the numerous cultural influences, the city is a food lover’s paradise. Whether you are looking for a taste of Indian delicacies or French dishes, there are a plethora of cafes that you can try. So if you are wondering what to do in Pondicherry, this is undoubtedly one of the best things to include in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary.

 

Our recommendations are spinach pasta from Les Chefs, Bon Bakes, crepes from Baker Street and La Maison Rose. Attempting to strike the perfect balance between Indian and French cuisines, these restaurants promise a memorable experience. 

 

With welcoming interiors, soft music and welcoming staff, the cafes are an experience in itself. If you are a dessert lover, Zuka Choco-La is highly recommended. There are a plethora of chocolate-based desserts here including the all-time favourite known as Moksha and the unique chocolate pakoras. 

 

Le Pondy is another old favourite which has been charming tourists for years. Rustic with an earthy ambience, Le Pondy has a pool which is ideal if you are looking to spend time in the restaurant. The thatched roof in Le Pondy is the highlight of the restaurant and we recommend including a visit here. 

Cost: Including a visit to the best restaurants in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary will cost you anywhere between Rs.500 to Rs.1000.

 

Things to do in Pondicherry: Shopping at local boutiques

What’s a vacation without shopping? And that’s why shopping is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry. There are numerous boutiques and local shops which sell an assortment of handmade jewellery, apparel and home decor.

 

Among the most popular places for shopping, Casablanca is the oldest boutique and has been dazzling shoppers for years. If you are looking to take back souvenirs, there can’t be a better place than this three-storeyed shopping hub. In Casablanca, you will find cosmetics from International brands as well as locally-sourced goods including jewellery and apparel. 

 

Janaki which is located in White Town is an ideal place if you want to buy organic and home made products. From pottery, apparel, aromatherapy products and hair care items, there is something for everyone. Janaki is also home to Upasana which is an effort to promote the local weaving community of Varanasi. So, you can find indigo sarees, hand painted stoles and kurtas at great prices. Kalki, Cluny Embroidery Centre, Studio Ebony, Cotton House and Titanic are a few other stores which should be a part of your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary.

Cost: Shopping at the local boutiques in things to do in Pondicherry itineraries will cost you anywhere between Rs.500 to Rs.5000.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Sunset at Promenade Beach

Sunsets bring out the dreamer in everyone. The crimson-coloured sky making way for the setting sun is a favourite for photographers and nature lovers alike. And if you want to experience this beauty in the city, there isn’t a better place than Promenade Beach.

 

Irrespective of how busy your schedule is, a visit to Promenade beach needs to be in your list of things to do in Pondicherry. Located in the midst of the city, the beach is 1.2km long and sees hundreds of visitors every day. You can head here for a relaxing experience or one filled with adventure. Yoga, volleyball, swimming and skating are some of the popular activities here and the best time to experience the vibe of the beach is in the evening. 

 

For those with a busy schedule, you can include a visit to Promenade beach in your things to do in Pondicherry itineraries with a tour of the War Memorial, the statue of Joan of Arc as well as a visit to the Old Lighthouse. However, if you have a long day of sightseeing planned, remember to keep an eye on the time so you can catch the mesmerising sunset. 

 

Food lovers will be happy to know that Promenade beach is home to some of the most popular restaurants in Pondicherry. Le Cafe is the most popular which serves a culinary fare you just can’t resist. There are several local eating joints and shops lining the beach and if you are in the mood to shop, you can pick up handmade souvenirs from here.

Cost: Including a visit to Promenade Beach in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary can cost you anywhere between Rs.500 to Rs.750.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Perhaps the most popular things to do in Pondicherry is a visit to the historic Aurobindo Ashram. One of the best things to see in Pondicherry, the Ashram was built in 1926. Dedicated to Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, the ashram is a centre of spiritual refuge and sees visitors from across the world. Set up in an effort to spread the message of peace and spiritual awakening, this is the only Aurobindo Ashram in the world.

 

One of the wealthiest ashrams in the world, a visit here will give you an opportunity to learn more about the history and philosophy of the ashram. After Sri Aurobindo’s death, the ashram responsibilities were taken over by Mirra Alfassa who went on to be known as Mother. She established Auroville and took forward the philosophy of the Ashram to the world. 

 

One of the best things to do in Pondicherry, visitors can take a tour of the ashram and can also stay here but with prior booking. If you are a visitor, you have access to the library as well as the spiritual centre and the samadhi. The samadhis of Sri Aurobindo and Mother are in the courtyard and visitors are allowed to pay their respects.

 

Tourists need to obtain a pass from Bureau Central to access the different part of the Ashram. For spiritual seekers and history lovers, a tour of the Ashram is a must-include in things to do in Pondicherry itinerary.


Cost: If you would like to include a visit to Aurobindo Ashram in your things to do in Pondicherry lists, it can cost you anywhere between Rs.30 to Rs.100 depending on your mode of transport. The entry to the ashram is free.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Attend a session at Sita Cultural Centre

Besides exciting sightseeing sprees, another way to know more about a city's culture is through its people. Sita Cultural Centre gives one an opportunity to not only learn more about Pondi's culture but also pick up a new skill.

 

There are several workshops which take place here throughout the year. Ideal for writers, artists, chefs and curious minds, a visit here in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary will rejuvenate you.

 

At the same time, if you are a solo traveller and are looking to connect with like-minded people, you can always enrol for a short course. The most popular session here is undoubtedly the cooking class. Taking one through old recipes which have been passed on from generations, these two to three hour cooking classes are ideal for beginners as well as pros.

 

Sita Cultural Centre also organises dance, yoga, mehendi and Ayurveda workshops. If you aren't in the mood to attend a workshop, you can book a city tour with them to experience a different side of Pondicherry.

 

While most classes are a period of 10 days to 2 months, you can always find a short term course which suits your requirements.

Cost: Including a course in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary can cost you anywhere between Rs.500 to Rs.5000 depending on the price of the course.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Boating at Chunnambar Backwater

Chunnambar backwaters are located 8km from Pondicherry. Separating Paradise beach from the mainland, these backwaters are surrounded by mangroves and thick forests. If you are a nature lover or a photography buff and enjoy spending time amidst surreal natural beauty, then you must include a visit to Chunnambar backwaters in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary.

 

One can take a ferry from Chunnambar boat house towards Paradise beach. It's important to note that a ferry is the only way to reach Paradise beach from the mainland. The 15 to 20 minute ferry ride to the beach offers an exhilarating experience and travellers often extend their rides to enjoy the serenity. You will also spot several motor boats which can be hired separately.

 

Paradise beach, on the other hand, is one of the lesser visited beaches in the city. If you are looking for offbeat things to do in Pondicherry, then this is a good option. Home to a few food stalls, Paradise beach is ideal for a quiet day out at the beach. One should try a local meal from one of the many eating joints here if seafood and south Indian cuisine is something you enjoy.

Cost: A visit to Paradise Beach and boating at Chunnambar backwaters can cost you anywhere between Rs.100 to Rs.500.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Visit Pondicherry Museum

If you are a history lover and enjoy exploring museums, you must include a visit to Pondicherry Museum in your things to do in Pondicherry. Housing a beautiful collection of archaeological remains from the Arikamedu Roman settlement. 

 

Located in Bharathi Park, the Pondicherry Museum can easily be included in your things to do in Pondicherry tour. The museum houses several bronze sculptures of various gods and goddesses as well as a stunning collection of handicrafts, arts and temple lamps. While there aren’t too many tours of the temple, you can opt for a short tour to learn more about the history and the exhibits here.

 

There are some exhibits of Chola and Pallava art which are from Pondicherry and Karaikal and are displayed in the sculpture gallery. They deserve special mention owing to their historical importance. The museum is open 5 days a week till 5 pm.

Cost: A visit to the museum in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary will cost you anywhere between Rs.100 to Rs.200.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Karaikal Beach

Karaikal Beach in Pondicherry is one of the best beaches located near Pondicherry. The beach is popular with locals as well as travellers. Karaikal district is approximately 130 kilometres from Pondicherry and the beach can be reached through a road running along the Arasalar river. Karaikal was a French colony until 1954 when it merged with India. The French influence is still visible here. 

 

Karaikal beach is fast becoming the go to place for adventure seekers and is a must include in things to do in Pondicherry itinerary. There are a number of activities here to keep you engaged. One can enjoy boating, backwater sailing, canoeing, kayaking and even water volleyball at the beach. 

 

Though water sports are gaining popularity here, the beach is still sought after by people who want to relax and witness the beautiful views the beach has to offer. Not far from the beach are Karaikal Ammaiyar temple and Thirunallar temple that are popular among spiritual seekers. The best time to visit the beach is generally from October to March, when the weather is pleasant.

Cost: A visit to Karaikal Beach in Pondicherry will cost you anywhere between Rs.200 to Rs.800 depending on the kind of transport you choose.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Sunset at Mahe

Mahe beach in Pondicherry is one of the lesser-known places to visit. Promising serenity and captivating views, one can spend an entire day in this beautiful beach. Especially popular with photographers and nature lovers, the sights are truly heartwarming.

 

During the evenings, the beach is full of couples, children and locals who are enjoying the cool beach air and the scenic views of the setting sun. There are a few restaurants at the beach where you can enjoy a wholesome meal but if you are looking for a grand meal, you may be disappointed. Since the beach is a little away from the city and not too popular among tourists, you can expect to have a relaxing experience. 

Cost: To include a visit to Mahe beach in your things to do in Pondicherry itinerary, it will cost you anywhere between Rs.100 to Rs.200.