Tip: You can book a prepaid cab at the Chennai airport to Pondy, cost 5000 INR.
Want to curb your travel expense?
Ola Cab: Airport to Koyambedu bus stand - Cost 200 INR
Ac Bus: Koyambedu to Pondicherry bus stand - Cost 220 INR
Rickshaw: Pondicherry bus stop to Beach road - Cost 100 INR
Travelling to Pondicherry was never on my travel list. However the universe had some plan of its own and it conspired with all its might to make Pondy as the first destination on my travel journey.
The moment I set my foot on the beach road and gazed at the picturesque sky, it was "Love At First Sight"!! Walking this stretch at the beach road, I was fascinated, looking at the French architecture. There was calmness and peace in the breeze which blew past me. I had my first meal at the Le Cafe restaurant, which is on the beach road and walk able from the Retreat Guest House. It serves continental cuisine, my favourite was chicken Lasagna. The decor of Le Cafe makes it a good dine in place.
At night I visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Samadhi is a place and construction for keeping in peace the bodies of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It is located at the inner courtyard of the Ashram Main Building.To the north from the Samadhi stands a large Service Tree with its peaceful atmosphere. Its branches give shade to the courtyard around Samadhi. The aura near the Samadhi will fill your senses with repose. One will see the devotees meditating and kneeling in prayer.
On my first morning, I woke up at around 5.30 am to witness the beautiful Pondy sunrise. However to my astonishment it was bright outside and I thought the sun had already risen. Since I was already awake, I decided to take my Cam and venture out on the beach to get some clicks. That's when I realised that the sun hadn't risen yet. As I sat by the sea shore, I heard the waves hit the rocks, I saw birds fly and fishermen cast their nets to get a good catch. Just like a kid playing hide and seek, the sun would appear and than disappear behind the clouds. Finally the sun rose up high in the sky. It broke open the sky into golden sparks which melted the different shades of orange and blue into one perfect canvas.
Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashram is situated in Tiruvannamalai district of Tamilnadu. It is a 6 hours long drive one way from Pondy to Tiruvannamalai. It is advisable to stay for atleast a day at the Ashram, as 12 Hrs travelling can get very tiring and hectic. Sri Ramana Maharshi is an Indian sage who revealed the direct path of self-enquiry and awakened mankind to the immense spiritual power of the holy Arunachala Hill. The Ashram is surrounded by nature; one will find baboons, langoors, peacocks roaming all over the place. At the Ashram one can visit the library and attend meditation sessions. We decided to climb the mountain and walk towards the sacred place where the sage first found his spiritual abode. The trek was tiring but I must say it was worth the climb, we reached the sacred spot where there were people from varied nationalities who came to meditate. I was given to taste the refreshing and cool mountain water. During the trek you will find few localities selling handmade and stone sculpted artefacts.
One must eat the famous thali at Aakash Inn restaurant near the Ashram. The cost of a thali is just 120 INR and it is unlimited, with some very mouth watering dishes and desserts. When in Pondy please take a day off to indulge yourself in the french delicacies served at the cafe's and restaurant's at Busy Street. Must try cafe's: The Indian Kaffe Express, Madame Shante, Farm fresh, Zuka and Cafe Ole. The food at Cafeteria in Auroville was disappointing.
Auroville is the must visit place! It has many shopping places and if your'e a shopaholic than your up for a treat. However some stores are expensive. Alas it was the day to bid adieu to Pondy, just to comeback soon!!