The numbered titles are a trend, yes of course. But that helps an overwhelmed writer like me to control my emotions and flow of words that my take the blog to an unending length. After Ladakh, this was one of the most exciting trip with the gang. Pondicherry was not on the bucket list since long, but as they say trips take people, Pondicherry took us.
As an Indian Union Territory, I had always memorised the name sticking to its capital in childhood – Pondicherry – Puducherry. That was all I knew about it until I read some awesome blogs lately. With the curve of enthusiasm-to-travel rising up steadily there are million ways to discover and share new places to visit. About 150 kms from the metropolitan city of Chennai lies Pondicherry along the Indian East Coast. Pondicherry offers a wide variety of parts to explore for travellers. From the heritage town city, to the Tamil towns, there is a lot to do and see around.
Listing the 8 things that you surely must not miss if you are visiting Pondicherry
1. Driving through ECR.
East Coast Road (State Highway 49) is s two lane highway which goes from Chennai to Cuddalore via Pondicherry. ECR is a smooth picturesque drive along the ocean which offers breathtaking views of the ocean while you drive. Reaching Pondicherry via ECR from Chennai would be the best way for road-lovers and for the ones who love to drive. The peculiar sight of coconuts for sale, hung from the trees is very pretty.
2. Promenade/Rock Beach.
This is of the highlight of Pondicherry. There is a 1.2 kilometer long promenade built along the rock beach from the War Memorial to the Dupleix Park. The best part of this promenade is the feel that you get when you walk along the beach. It is serene and dynamic at the same time. The Tourism department has done its job right to make it a tourist-friendly and especially clean destination. There is a huge Gandhi Statue on the Promenade surrounded by heritage style pillars. Watching the sea at all times of the day from this promenade is real fun. We were lucky to witness both the moon-rise and sun-rise from the same place during our trip.
3. Paradise Beach.
I did a lot of research on which beaches to visit during our limited time in Pondy. Paradise beach topped the list in all recommendations and it proved worth of all the praise. The name itself portrays the feel of this unique beach in Pondy. You need to take a boat from Chunnambar Boat Resort to reach the beach. The minimum return ticket is INR 200. The boat ride is a cherry on the cake for the Paradise Beach experience. A vast stretched clean white sand beach, Paradise beach offers a perfect beach experience. There are beautiful beach-huts to relax and also outdoor showers for relaxing after the beach play. The beach is full of unique sea shells. We had an awesome time collecting a few.
Auroville is an emerging international township dedicated to the ideal of Human Unity. Auroville is a vision of The Mother and Shri Aurobindo. It is indeed a unique concept of community living and you can read in detail about it here. For people who believe in humanity and environmental causes, Auroville is a must visit place. At the visitor’s centre, they show you explainer videos about what they do and how things work there. The highlight of Auroville is “Matrimandir”. Matrimandir is the famous golden globe in Auroville which is the ‘concentration-zone’ situated in the peace area. The Matrimandir is surrounded by 12 gardens which denote 12 virtues as stated by The Mother. The landscape and nature in this area is beautiful beyond words. To concentrate inside the Matrimandir, you need to collect passes (free) beforehand form the visitor’s centre. It is usually pre-booked and one needs to be personally present to book. Going inside the Matrimandir is an eternal experience and every peace-loving person must take this tour inside.
5. French Colony
Pondicherry has one of the largest French Colony in India. The French influence dates back to 1674 when the French East India Company set up a trading centre at Pondicherry. The French Quarter has Rues and Boulevards with French names, bakeries, Café s and colourful mediterranean styled heritage houses. A walk along the French quarter is a must when you visit Pondicherry. The French Colony is stretched along both sides of Bharati Park and the lanes are neatly arranged in 90 degrees. Each lane has its distinct characteristic and is a delight for photography lovers.
6. Sadhana Forest
Visit to this mind blowing place in Pondicherry moved me in a different way. Sadhana Forest works towards afforestation and believes & practices sustainable living. It is amazing to see acres of forests stretched across land which was once barren, Thanks to the dedicated volunteer force at Sadhana Forest. Anyone can volunteer and they have a superb process to get into the flow. You can find all the details on their website here.
7. Sunrise/Moonrise in Pondicherry
For the people living on west coast, the sun rising from the ocean is a rare sight to see. Watching the sunrise from any beach in Pondicherry is a wonderful experience. Seeing the orange moon coming out of the sea as it changes its colour to subtle yellow and gradually rising to give its reflection in the sea is like being in a romantic film made by nature. Both these experiences are worth your time in Pondicherry.
8. Eating in Pondicherry.
Pondy has a huge variety of food options, especially the traditional Tamilian cuisine and the French Cuisine. Amongst the recommendations, we tried and loved Shri Kamatchi – Biryani Veedu for the superb food on banana leaves, Baker Street for its wide variety of French Cuisine, Indian Kaffe Express for its quick food while roaming around in the white town and Le Café Chaplin for its lovely ambience. There are numerous heritage cafés and fine dine restaurants along the promenade beach and in the white town, which one can visit as per time and budget.
Pondicherry is peaceful yet vibrant, serene yet zestful. It is a hidden gem on the east coast of India, Living in Pondy is like living on an artist’s palette. So is it in your bucket list? Or if ticked already what is your best experience in Pondy ?
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