What could have been better for a relaxed weekend than the Indian union territory of Pudducherry, earlier known as Pondicherry, the little France of India. Separated from the hustle and bustle of boom town India, Pondicherry is an idyllic and picturesque location for every traveler, well depicted in the beginning of the movie 'Life of Pi' where the young Pi grows up.
It has been a home to the famous freedom fighter, Hindu social reformist and Yogi Shri Aurobindo Ghosh and a brilliant collective of beautiful beaches, backwater, churches, temples and the French settlement.
If you are a solo traveler, you can always grab a bike or cycle on rent or can walk around the town and explore the beautiful avenues of the French quarters and rest of Pondicherry. If you are travelling with family or friends it's better to hire a car from a service provider like zoom or you can book an Ola sedan/micro ( the only options available in scarcity) or can even take a local auto to go around. Pondicherry is hot & humid during the summer and may be a bit better during the monsoons or winter. Travel from Chennai or Bangalore does not cost much, you can always book a nice bus on the red bus/MMT apps and get discounts ( I booked AC sleeper for 600 bucks each way from Bangalore - 1200 bucks for journey), train from Bangalore costs approx same in AC 3 tier. Hotels, inns and resorts are in plenty, try to book something near the Rock Beach or on the Bussy street so that you have accessibility to the beach, the nearby places, market and hospitals in case of emergency and also the bus stop which is at walking distance. I got an excellent deal on Red bus hotel app with 65% off and booked an average non AC room for 1200 bucks for 3 nights. There are plenty of restaurants around, especially on Bussy street serving a variety of cuisines and French food, but remember to have you dinner before 10 as most of the restaurants shut down early.
What did I miss? Yes I missed the Auroville experimental township & beach situated around 14 kms from the Pondicherry bus station. Best place to stay is near the rock beach on Bussy street which is the most happening part of Pondicherry with the Aurobindo Ashram, Rock Beach, French Quarters, shopping markets,the major churches & temples, pubs & restaurants and the Pondicherry bus stop just walking distance.
Important places to visit are Rock Beach ( Pondicherry/Pomenade beach), French quarters, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Bascilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Botanical Gardens, Serenity Beach, Paradise Beach, Chunnambar backwaters, various water sports activities at the beaches. 2-3 days trip would be enough to see entire Pondicherry. Do not miss the Rock Beach, Paradise Beach & boating on the Chunnambar Backwaters.If you want to enjoy beach life and water sports you can stay back for few more days. Booze is tax free and cheap for all party goers ;).
Don't forget to carry a pack of sunscreen as the sun is going to tan you up badly. So get your back packs ready, get your phone GPS & maps in order and take the next flight, car, train or bus to the lovely city with a great scenic landscape and friendly people, Pudducherry, you won't regret. Bon Voyage Amigos!