The French ruled small enclaves of India until the mid-20th century, and when they departed they left behind a footprint; a small town in South India called Pondicherry. An unusual melange of southern Indian and French cultures only found here; Pondicherry is a dainty place where alleys skirted with French-colonial architecture meet the Bay of Bengal. It’s not unusual to forget that you’re still in a union territory of India, but the characteristic hospitality of the people here reminds you of the same. Pondicherry is perfect town for a day-trip due to its relaxed pace and quaint atmosphere.
Getting in and around
Pondicherry is 3 hours by road from Chennai, the capital of the adjacent state of Tamil Nadu. A taxi from Chennai International Airport should cost you about Rs. 3000. You can also take a bus from the Tiruvanmiyur bus stand in Bangalore to Pondicherry’s main bus terminal, tickets being roughly Rs. 100. The daily train from Chennai Egmore station takes approximately 4½ hours to Pondicherry station. Bangalore is also an overnight train journey away. The Pondicherry Airport currently only has 2 SpiceJet flights connecting the town to Hyderabad and Bangalore, while Air Odisha also connects to Chennai and Salem.
Pondicherry is best covered on foot, and getting from one place to another can take anywhere between 5-20 minutes of walking. Alternatively, you could also rent a bicycle for Rs. 40 per day from the Pondicherry Tourism Information Centre. Auto-rickshaws do ply in some areas, with a minimum charge of Rs. 30 for 6km.
Budget: Le Mirage, Hotel Coramandal Heritage, Treebo Red Lotus
Mid-range: Le Dupleix, Dune de l'Orient
Luxury: La Villa, Palais de Mahe, Villa Shanti, Maison Perumal