A list of places to visit on your quick weekend escape to Pondicherry

Tripoto
4th Jun 2018
Photo of A list of places to visit on your quick weekend escape to Pondicherry by Ishita Das Sarkar

Pondicherry is one of my favorite weekend getaways from Bangalore. With a travel time of only seven hours by road, Pondicherry offers everything that is required to rejuvenate your soul. I have visited this lively place quite a few times and have returned every time with a different feeling. With places that can be covered within hours, you can complete the entire city tour of Pondicherry in a day or two.

In this post, I have listed all the important places of this beautiful place that you can include in your itinerary. So, buckle up for an exciting (virtual) tour of Pondicherry through my eyes.

PS: You can hire a two-wheeler or a personal cab/auto to visit all the places.

Auroville: Also known as the ‘City of Dawn’, this place is inevitable if you are on a trip to Pondicherry. With an aim to build a city dedicated to the vision of Sri Aurobindo, the Sri Aurobindo Society in Pondicherry, founded by Mirra Alfassa, known as the 'Mother', passed a resolution in 1964 at its Annual Conference. The main aim of this experimental township was to unite people to create cultural harmony and a free-thinking nation. Auroville has seen an influx of people from all over the world. People have settled here for a new and different life on the path of humanity, meditation, open communication, and harmony. Consumption of alcohol and other intoxicating substances are prohibited here. As stated in Mirra Alfassa's first public message in 1965,

Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.’

Auroville

Photo of Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Auroville compound

Photo of Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Auroville Compund

Photo of Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Matrimandir: The main attraction of Auroville is Matrimandir, located in the middle of this experimental township. Mirra Alfassa, the Mother, conceived Matrimandir as ‘a symbol of the Divine's answer to man's aspiration for perfection’. This iconic golden dome is called ‘soul of the city’ and is situated in a large open space called ’Peace’. Matrimandir is used for the practice of meditation and integral yoga. Silence is maintained inside Matrimandir to ensure the tranquility of the space.

Matrimandir

Photo of Matrimandir, Auroville, Bommayapalayam, Tamil Nadu, India by Ishita Das Sarkar
Photo of Matrimandir, Auroville, Bommayapalayam, Tamil Nadu, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Sri Aurobindo Ashram: The spiritual community in Pondicherry that follows the principles of Sri Aurobindo. Having started from a few small confined buildings, the Ashram has witnessed a huge growth in its physical architecture in all directions. The main focus is the houses in which Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa resided. It surrounds a tree-shaded courtyard, at the centre of which lies the flower-covered ‘Samadhi’. This white marble shrine holds, in two separate chambers, the physical remains of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

o Visiting hours: 8.00 am to 12.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm

Sri Aurobindo Ashram (Photo from MapmyIndia)

Photo of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, White Town, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Auroville Beach: Popularly known as the 'Auro Beach', this beach, as the name suggests, is close to Auroville. The small waves and shallow waters make this place an ideal place for swimming or for taking a lazy stroll. You can find hotels and shacks along the beach.

Photo of Auro Beach, Bommayapalayam, Tamil Nadu, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Pondicherry Beach: Also known as the ‘Promenade Beach’ is a 1.2 km long stretch that starts from the War Memorial and ends at Dupleix Park. The stretch is a cemented and well-maintained path. Don’t forget to take a stroll here in the evening and feel the breeze coming across Bay of Bengal brush against your hair. You can also sit on the rocks by the shore to experience the water droplets jump and kiss your skin as the waves crash on the rocks.

Promenade beach

Photo of Promenade Beach, Pondicherry, Puducherry by Ishita Das Sarkar

Promenade Beach walkway

Photo of Promenade Beach, Pondicherry, Puducherry by Ishita Das Sarkar

French War Memorial: Located on the Promenade stretch, the war memorial is dedicated to the residents of ‘French establishments in India’ (Établissements français dans l'Inde) who died for the country during WWI.

French War Memorial (photo from Wikipedia)

Photo of French War Memorial, Mahe de Labourdonnais Street, White Town, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Mahatma Gandhi Statue: A major landmark of Pondicherry, this statue is located on the Promenade beach front. It is surrounded by eight exquisitely carved monolithic granite pillars which were brought from Gingee Fort. Do you know that there is a tunnel below the statue which is assumed to lead to Gingee Fort. There were some efforts to explore the tunnel, but, after the death of a few people died due to suffocation, the tunnel was closed for further exploration.

Mahatma Gandhi Statue

Photo of GANDHI STATUE, Beach Road, White Town, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Mahatma Gandhi Statue

Photo of GANDHI STATUE, Beach Road, White Town, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Rock Beach: Yet another beach in Pondicherry along the stretch of Promenade beach where you can sit and enjoy the beautiful view of sunrise or sunset. This beach draws a lot of crowd owing to the number of restaurants bordering the beach.

Rock Beach

Photo of Rock Beach, White Town, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Serenity Beach: This is one of the beautiful beaches of Pondicherry. With fishing boats parked in lines on the shore and a rocky elevated beach walkway, this beach attracts a lot of local and tourists. Also, surfing a popular activity carried out from this beach. A surf school, good restaurants, and small shops selling items made of seashells are located near the beach. This beach closes by 6.30 pm.

Serenity Beach

Photo of Serenity Beach, Kottakuppam, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Serenity Beach

Photo of Serenity Beach, Kottakuppam, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Serenity Beach

Photo of Serenity Beach, Kottakuppam, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: An exquisite example of Gothic Architecture, this church is home to rare stained glass panels depicting events from the life of Christ and saints of the Catholic Church. Like all other places of Pondicherry, this place also witnesses a lot of tourists and has become one of the famous pilgrimage spots for Christians.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Photo of The Sacred Heart Basilica, MG Road Area, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Botanical Garden: Do take some time out to visit the botanical garden and aquarium park. Pruned with trees, flower beds, fountains, and gravel-lined paths, this place brings the freshness and positivity that we all crave in our busy schedule. Also, the French-architecture front gate and the musical fountain show in the weekend evenings makes this place worth visiting.

Botanical Garden (Photo from TripAdvisor)

Photo of Botanical Garden, Ambedkar Nagar, Orleanpet, Puducherry, Yanam, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Old Light House: Constructed in the nineteenth century by French rulers, this was the only lighthouse that guided ships coming toward Pondicherry. Due to its inadequate nature, a new lighthouse was constructed by the government of India. The rustic look of this lighthouse surely takes us back in time.

Old Light house on Goubert Avenue

Photo of Old Light House, White Town, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

White Town: This is the French quarters in Pondicherry which serves as the abode of many French families to till date. The buildings dominate pale yellow color with their hanging balconies that are adorned with numerous flower pots. The canopying trees, colorful bougainvillea flowers overarching the entrances, clean and tidy roads – all these give a feeling beyond words that time has halted a few centuries ago. Do walk through these streets to absorb a little French heritage that Pondicherry proudly boasts of.

White House (Photo fromWikiMedia)

Photo of White Town, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

White Town

Photo of White Town, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Paradise Beach: Have you ever visited a beach that requires a ferry ride to reach? If not, visit Paradise Beach for this exhilarating experience. Yes, this is an island beach, also known as 'Plage Paradiso'. Golden sand merges in the clear blue waters and the perfectly clear sky makes this beach a perfect place to experience paradise on the soil of Pondicherry. The ferry to reach the beach starts from the boathouse that crosses the backwaters and thick mangrove forests. Soon after the monsoon, you can spot a lot of birds while on the ride. There are small shacks at the beach that offers food and beverages. Visit this beach for a perfect sunrise view from the Eastern coach.

Paradise Beach (Image from Google)

Photo of Paradise Beach, Chinna Veerampattinam, Pondicherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar
Photo of Paradise Beach, Chinna Veerampattinam, Pondicherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Le Cafe: Overlooking the crisp blue waters of Bay of Bengal, this is Pondicherry’s one of the best cafes. Situated near the Promenade beach, this café has ample sitting place both inside, outside, and on the terrace. People flock here to discuss meetings, have a romantic date, spend time with loved ones, or take souvenirs and gifts. The café offers many scrumptious meals throughout the day. If you happen to visit this place, do not forget to order cheesy lasagna and hot espresso with crème top for a happy and satisfying meal.

Le Cafe (Image from Google)

Photo of Le Cafe, White Town, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar
Photo of Le Cafe, White Town, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Lasagne served at

Photo of Le Cafe, White Town, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Nalla Eco Beach Resort: If you are visiting Pondicherry to spend some quality time with family and friends and you wish to avoid the busy, hectic crowd of locals and tourists, Nalla Eco Beach Resort is your destination. This resort is a perfect place to beat the summer heat and enjoy some bottles of chilled beer. The restaurant offers many delicious dishes and starters to accompany your drinks. You can visit this picturesque resort for spending a couple of hours or can book a room to spend your holidays. Not only this, you can also enjoy the luxury of the clean swimming pool if you book a room at this resort. Overlooking the waters, this leading resort at Pondicherry is a like a hidden paradise which, once visited, is difficult to forget.

Nalla Eco Beach Resort

Photo of Nalla Beach Resort, Chinna Kalapet, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Nalla Eco Beach Resort

Photo of Nalla Beach Resort, Chinna Kalapet, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Nalla Eco Beach Resort

Photo of Nalla Beach Resort, Chinna Kalapet, Pondicherry, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Vedanta Wake Up: Well, you’ll find a multitude of budget stays in Pondicherry, but Vendanta Wake Up is, undoubtedly, one of the best. With comfortable rooms and neat washrooms, this place is perfect for backpackers. Also, do check out their dormitory that is the best option for a group of travel bugs. This place provides yummy breakfast and the best home-made tea/coffee. The hand-painted walls, vintage lights, play area, rustic bookshelves – all these combines in a beautiful mixture that makes the air feel young and vibrant. If you wish to keep your energy soaring high, don’t forget to book a room here.

Vedanta Wake up

Photo of Vedanta Wake Up! - Auroville Beach, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Vedanta Wake Up

Photo of Vedanta Wake Up! - Auroville Beach, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Vedanta Wake Up

Photo of Vedanta Wake Up! - Auroville Beach, Puducherry, India by Ishita Das Sarkar

Apart from the ones listed above, you can also visit Baker's Street, Pondicherry Museum, Bharathi Park, Temples, and uncountable cafes.

Pondicherry never fails to amaze anyone. It has everything from good hotels, budget stays, innumerable cafes and restaurants, many beaches, and inexpensive liquor. The French heritage and the lively atmosphere makes this place a perfect vacation spot. I have lost my heart to Pondicherry and am sure you’ll too.

So, why are you wasting time to figure out your next vacation destination? Get up and get going! Pack your bags and make a move. Don’t you hear? The waters, the beach and the beer is calling!!

Photo of A list of places to visit on your quick weekend escape to Pondicherry by Ishita Das Sarkar

Tips: Carry water bottles, goggles, sunscreen to beat the heat as it is hot and humid most of the times. Wear light cotton clothes and try to cover as much as possible to avoid the harmful sun rays.

A big thanks to my friends who are also responsible for some of the photos posted here.

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