The former name of Pondicherry, it was a French Colony which is now an Union Territory of the Indian Subcontinent. It is situated on the south- eastern part of the country and is full of pristine beaches and French influenced buildings all round the city. Pondicherry literally means 'A New Settlement'. The Romans visited this place during the 1st Century and ruled it for a few years and then started the brief rule of the Pallavas in the 4th Century. After this followed the Cholas and the Vijayanara rulers. Apart from all the beaches, churches and cathedrals, the Aurobindo Ashram or the Auroville is a major attraction out here. This place was started by Rishi Aurobindo and a place where you can do meditation.
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the last beach on the line of the four beaches, this is the least crowded and also an isolated sort of place. This beach is also known as the Full Moon Beach because of the round shape of it. The white sands and peaceful atmosphere of this place makes it even more charming. The best thrill factor here is that this beach has no road connectivity during and immediately after the monsoons and so there are only two ways by which you can come here. One is by Motor boating from the Half Moon Beach with which this beach is partly attached and the second is by hiking from the Om Beach. The first option is however much safer. You will naturally not fnd any holiday resort around but you can of course arrange picnics here. This beach is a favourite of hippies and the backpackers who love to camp rather than sleep in soft beds while they are on a trip. This is where they often camp during the nights and you can also do the same if you feel you have not had enough fun here.
An awesome place for mind relief. We went there on our first evening but loved it so much that went there again the next day and spent the whole evening. If you are at Rock Beach, you have to visit the cafe there (Le Cafe). The sound of the waves and the wind blowing through your hair, just so peaceful.
This is an old French colony which has now become a posh neighbourhood og Pondicherry. The French and Roman inspired buildings here are mostly in white and mustard colour. This is one reason for which the name 'White Town' suits this place aptly. Also, this is a very popular area with all the different types of restaurants- big and small located over here. If you want to taste some of the best food and dishes of here, then you should definitely come doen to White Town. It is not that you will only get South Indian food but you get all other Indian cuisines along with French, Italian and other continental and exotic dishes in most of the restaurants of White Town.
Auroville Visitor's Centre
Very close to the Matrimandir, this was a place for everyone who is a part of mankind. This place was built by Rishi Aurobindo and the Mother as Auroville or the House of dawn. This place aims at removing the gap between all religions, castes and creeds and spread the message of humanity and mankind alike. Also, they had once aimed to get the perfect combination of the past and future also in terms of spiritualism so that they could serve mankind in a better. This is a huge place and serves as a place to stay fopr tourists who are immense search of peace.
This is a Dupleix Hotel and an awesome place in the White Town Area of Pondicherry. This is an old house which is now turned into an iconic hotel. The all white French style villa is now a popular restaurant cum hotel. They are situated very close to the Bay of Bengal Shores, the leafy park and also the main market of the region. They serve great French food which is delicious and authentic. You will find a huge crowd of foreigners over here all the time mainly because they find the authentic taste only over here. The ambience and service of this place also very good.
We girls love chocolate and this place was on the top of our list. We reached there at night around 10 but the shop was about to close and they didn't let us in. So we went there the next day in the afternoon, had some yummy chocolate and took a lot for friends. It's a small dessert place with cute chocolate-like butterflies adorning the ceiling. There's a statue of Abdul Kalam made out of chocolate. Must visit if you have a sweet tooth.
This Beach Road is meant for amazing walks especially past 5! People of all ages visit this place and is one of the most common places visited around. The place is really clean and the people out there take immense care to do that. NO SMOKING. Animals allowed in certain timings. No littering around and No Drinking. You have Le Cafe and a few other joints. On the stretch, there is the Dupleix Statue, Gandhi Statue, Ambedkar Mani Mandapam, French War Memorial, a few Government Offices and some beach side Hotels.
Bussy Street Bus Stop
When you enter this upmarket, French bakery the staff greets you in impeccable French, you stutter a broken Bonjour and nod to them proudly. Baker Street on Bussy Street will truly feed the Francophile in you. The crisp coffees, éclairs, croissants, macaroons, meringues, mousses and pain au chocolat seem to be the envy of every diabetic patient who enters this French Bakery. Entry is by reservations and for dinner alone.
La Maison Rose
Not a very good place if you are in search of authentic French food but if you are just in for some nice taste and fusion of flavours you will find this place nice. They are nice, little shop with not many seating options also but whoever have come here have been really happy with the service. besides, there is no harm in tasting Indianized French food.
It is one of the major tourist attraction of Ooty. It has some 650 species of plants and trees. Covering an extensive area of 55 acre, the garden is well-maintained and has a beautiful collection of many flowers. The place looks spectacular during its annual flower exhibition.
The highlights of this resort are their location and their hospitality. This is a French style hotel with standard facilities. What touches the heart is their politeness and service quality. They are close to all the prime locations of the town and you can just hop- and- shop -and- hop -and rest out here. The facilities and room services provided here are always not up to the mark but the management and staff here are sure to address all your grievances very soon.
Pondicherry Bus Main Station
By 4 P.M. I got into the bus, I took one that follows by pass route so that I could reach pondy as soon as possible as I didn’t prebook my pondy stay. In 4 hours I reached pondy and rushed to look up for stay options. finalised a decent guest house nearby bus stand only for that particular night as I knew I am not going to spend rest of the weekend there (safety concerns).
Palais de Mahe
This is a 3- star boutique hotel on the Lal Bahadur Shastri Road and is known for their hospitality and welcoming. Their inner decorations are awesome and the rooms they give you are all deluxe with fantastic sea views. Their buffet and restaurants serve great food and of any cuisine because you are simply spoilt for choice here. Apart from this they have all sorts of modern facilities to cater to their guests and the lawn and poolside lounge area is another cherry on the awesome cake.
Sri Aurobindo’s Ashram was not on my list for some reason. But the first time I went there, it prompted me to visit the place the second time as well. The tranquility and simplicity of the ashram was a good change, especially if you come from a metropolitan city, this place is a good way to shut your mind off from everything. Don’t forget to grab a book from the ashram.
By Airways – The new terminal made at Pondicherry airport in Lawspet allows more flights now. All the major cities of India are planned to touch Pondicherry via airways.By Railways – There are few trains which connect Pondicherry to other cities. The rail connection between Chennai and Viluppuram is a good one.By Roadways – Pondicherry is well connected to roads via national highways. Bangalore and Chennai are just 309 and 150 Kilometers away from Pondicherry.As they say, “You need a Mumbai or Chennai to build an empire, but you need a Pondicherry to give you perspective.”
Ginger Hotel Pondicherry
It is not really a budget hotel but a very nice place to stay. Even if you are not staying over here you can come here for a lunch and dinner. The Hotel is however anytime better than the restaurant here. The hotel has very good rooms and is very close to the main market where you can get anything you want. The staff are extremely cooperative and will also guide you for your tour at other attractions. Also, they will arrange for transport facilities and tourist guides for you. The food served as room service is also really very good
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 :)
Romain Rolland Library
Your inner Francophile and Bibliophile will rub it’s palms in glee and swish through the doors of the largest French Library in the Union Territory. Named after a leading French scholar and close companion of Gandhi this library boasts of a collection of 315,000 + books. The Air Conditioned rooms also provide some respite from the sweltering heat of this coastal town. A lot books here refer to the French connections of Pondicherry and the evolution of the French Quarter in the town.
On visiting this store in The French Colony, I came across this innovative design which can replace plastic bags in our day to day life. I bought one for my mother for all the groceries, shopping etc. These bags comes in 2 design, one with the backpack design(INR150) and another one which you can hold easily(INR190). The bag material is pretty decent and can hold many items.
Grand Bazaar: Tucked between Bharathi Street and MG Road, is the most happening shopping hub in Pondicherry. Local inhabitants and tourists flock in huge numbers to browse this busy market and lay their hands on fruits, spices, house hold accessories, vegetables among others. Housed within the lane is the fish market where women vendors sitting inside the dungeon type of building can be seen selling variety of fishes.Handicraft: The dolls of Pondicherry are the pride of its handicraft industry. The terracotta, papier mâché and plaster of paris dolls popularly known as “Puducheri Bommai” are available at handicraft emporia all over the town. The Korai mats woven from a species of grass are also popular with tourists and are available even in small shopsSome of the other famous shops you can visit are Kasha Ki Aasha, La Boutique D Auroville, and Casablanca.How to Reach: