Pondicherry- A whirlwind trip

Tripoto
10th Sep 2016

A quick get-a-way from Bangalore is what my friend and I were looking for when we booked our bus tickets to Pondicherry for the weekend. The Union territory lies 8.5 hours away from Bangalore and is an overnight journey by bus. 

Day 1

After our long journey, boy were we glad to have a nice soft bed waiting for us at the Patricia's Guesthouse in the French quarter. This guesthouse runs parallel to the Promenade and can be easily found owing to its bright yellow exteriors. The house is an eclectic mix of French and Tamil influences owing to the owner's culture roots.

DAY 1:

• Walking tour of the French and Tamil quarter – duration – 2/3 hours. We initially had decided to take one of these tours but since we reached Pondy late, we chose to explore the streets by ourselves

http://www.pondytourism.in/explore-and-experience-innerpage.php?id=18

or

https://www.storytrails.in/trails/french-connections-trail/

• Notre Dame Anges

• Aurobindo Ashram and Ashram dining room- to be covered in the walking tour or separately

• Pondicherry old lighthouse. This lighthouse is hardly open for 2 hours per day (3-5 PM). With an entry ticket of INR 10. It is a vantage point with views of entire Pondicherry and the coastline.

• Along the promenade, the French war memorial, Gandhi Statue, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - can be easily covered

• Museum

• Visit Serenity Beach

Stores/ Restaurants-

• Creole meal for dinner at Coromandel, L’Orient by Neemrana or Villa Shanti

• Sample traditional French pastries in Baker Street

• South indian food- hotel Surguru

• Café Des Arts which is run by French people and has awesome ambience. It’s an antique art-inspired café serving French café food. closing time of café is 7:00 pm

• Theevu La Plage - seafood restaurant on Serenity Beach front

• Hidesign Factory outlet( # 69 Jawaharlal Nehru Street)- There are deep discounts at factory outlet (at least 25-40%) on previous season’s designs.

Day 2:

Day 2

Paradise Beach Try going there early in the morning if the boats are available

This is a little-isolated beach, and to reach here, you have to take a ferry across the backwaters, which takes around 20-30 minutes from Chunnambar boat house. From there, you can take a ferry for 30 rs. These boats ply every 20 minutes and are very convenient.

Spend the morning there

Return to the hotel to freshen up

Leave for Auroville

Walking tour tickets sold at the entrance – 2 hours

Matrimandir – need to visit the tourist information centre in person one day prior to the visit – 30 mins

Auroville beach (crowded and could be missed)

Stores/ Restaurants –

• Stop for pizza at – Tantos (Auroville road)- If you’re craving pizza 

• Auroville bakery- Must have pain au Chocolat and Chocolate moelleux. Apple crumble which was gooey and soft, cheese croissant, chicken escalope sandwich along with cappuccino.

• Must try Hibiscus Syrup (with Soda)

• Must pick up long incense sticks and essential oils cheaper that other stores across the country

• La Ferme Cheese- Started as a humble establishment in 1988 by a Dutchman Benny Ernst with the simple aim to provide cheese to residents of Auroville. Their fresh cheese Mozzarella, Feta & Ricotta are worth sampling as are the seasoned cheese such as Lofabu, Jeera cheese, Gruyere and Auroblochon( a 6 month old piquant cheese).

Day 3:

Day 3

• Early start to Pichavaram – time duration- 2 hour atleast to reach, some waiting time, and 45 mins cruise

1. Pichavaram mangrove forest is at a distance of 78 kms from Pondicherry. The backwaters offer rowing, kayaking and canoeing.

2. Motor boat cost- 420rs. for a 6 seater for 20 mins

3. Row boat - 4 seater-rs.200 for 30 mins

4. Winters are best from December to January as the forest plays host to countless migratory birds.

5. Boat trips are available from 09:00 am to 06:00pm

6. If you wish to explore the narrow canals then row boats are better instead of motorboats.

• Day open to visit Arikamedu Archaeological Site that is close to Veerampattinam, the biggest coastal village. The village has one of the longest beach and most beautiful beaches in the south of India.

OR

Osudu Lake with migratory birds (but will have to check if this is the season)

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