My experience in Pondicherry!!
Pondicherry a union territory of India, with its exotic cocktail of sun kissed white sands, emerald green seas and bright sunshine is an irresistible attraction for tourists from all across the world. The salubrious Pondicherry weather undoubtedly augments the tourism potential of the union territory.
Nearby, in Kuruchikuppam, is Aurodhan (Website), where you can discover local art and watch free performances by artists from across the globe while staying in rooms decorated with art and sculpture.
Down the road, TASMAI (Website) conducts regular weekend workshops for those who want to weave some art into their holiday. And outside Pondy, the late thespian Veenapani Chawla’s Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts & Research (Website) has a sunlit stage amid acres of green.
Pondicherry is no Andamans, but the dive masters at Temple Adventures (Website) will take you under and show what the seas have to offer. And parasailing is Pondy’s newest extreme sport, courtesy Roads and Journeys (Website), which conducts overland experiences that provide the best bird’s-eye views of the region.
The main beach of Pondicherry consists of rocks where one can enjoy the smooth melody of sea waves. Crabs are easily discoverable here. The best time to settle at sea shore is at the dusk when brisky air waves hugs your soul.
If you are looking for pure fun, you can avail the Yanam river cruise in Pondicherry. Yanam River Cruise in Pondicherry mostly covers the coastal areas of the Andhra Pradesh state. This coastal area is well known for its endless natural treasures. The evergreen mangrove forest of the coastal Andhra Pradesh can be best explored in Yanam River Cruise in Pondicherry. As the boat proceeds through the waterways the hidden treasures of this coastal paradise come on your way. The ideal time for Yanam River Cruise in Pondicherry is the afternoon hours.
You can compare it to Goa but its cleaner and sophisticated. Where else would you find cobbled-stoned walkways to the beach?
Chunnambar is situated 8 kms from Puducherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road. This tropical paradise is flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. You can sail downstream to the sands and pitch up a cosy seaside tent for yourself. Overnighting within the tree-houses on the backwater provides a relishing experience of the great outdoors.
Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort, a PTDC enterprise, has boating, backwater boat tours, trekking and picnics on Paradise Beach for visitors and their friends and families. The resort offers various kinds of rental boats (speed, motor, sail, rowed, paddled and pedalled) in addition to beach volleyball and other beach sports.
Best Time to Visit:
The monsoon and winter months are great to explore this coastal town. Winters, especially, are ideal for sightseeing, enjoying beach activities and water sports.
Best way to get around:
It is in its streets that the city truly reveals its soul.
Best way to get around this small town is on hired bikes. There are plenty of shops on Mission Street hiring bikes and kinetics for a low cost. Get hold of the tourist voucher with a map on it and explore the lanes. The French Colony is worth driving around. The other reason why rent vehicles is that they work out cheaper than the auto rickshaws.
Things to Do:
Take a bike and head out for East Coast Road, the one that connects Pondicherry to Chennai. It’s a beautiful road, with many virgin and isolated beaches. Beaches with almost no curious locals, which is important for any woman traveler whether she is married or unmarried. There can be a few local fishermen around but they do not bother you. It’s a safe place with no gawking eyes or eve teasing.
I Spent lot of my time in Paradise beach. Pondicherry is blessed with some of the most spectacular beaches of the Coromandel coast. If you are looking for total seclusion far away from the hustle and bustle of urban life, Pondicherry is the ideal place for you to head for. Its miles of silky soft beaches will take you to a world of tranquility. The turquoise water of the Bay of Bengal is ideal to take a relaxing dip. A ten minute drive from the northern part of the Pondicherry town will take you to Pondicherry’s gleaming white coastal area. Paradise Beach is Pondi most pristine beach, accessed by a boat that powers through the backwaters of the Chunnambar river. You can peacefully build sand castles, play ball or read a book, however, Paradise beach is the only beach that needs you to pay an entrance fee in and around Pondicherry. Boat house beach, Paradise beach, Chunnambar beach all refer to the same place.
Auroville is 15kms from Pondicherry. Google map came to our rescue and it took 30 minutes to reach Auroville. This place is famous for its Matri Mandir. To visit the Matri Mandir a 2 day prior reservation is needed. The place is very quiet. We did not have the reservation so we could have only the view from outside. It looks like a round shape golden ball.
Ashram and Auroville (You need prior permission for Auroville especially for visiting the Matri Mandir) craftsmen make fine marbled silk and hand-dyed fabrics, perfumes, incense sticks, handmade paper, handloom rugs, bedspreads, pottery and various other products which may be bought at the Boutique d’ Auroville, Harmonie Boutique, Ashram Exhibition Centre, Aurocreation, AuroTibetan handicrafts etc.
You can roam around in the Matrimandir campus and shop only if you have deep pockets! Auroville products are supposedly handmade and organic and hence cost a bomb.
For more active adventures, Serenity beach or Bodhi beach is the place to be. Sign up for a surfing session, Go Scuba Diving and see what the seas have to offer. Parasailing is Pondi newest extreme sport to get the best bird’s-eye views of the region.
Be a beach bum
If you are a sun and sand junkie, then head to any of the four popular beaches around Pondicherry: the Promenade, Serenity Beach, Auroville Beach and Paradise Beach. Walk on the main historical promenade along Goubert Avenue, lined by charming colonial buildings, with locals eating ice creams and balloon sellers in a mesmerizing melee. This stretch has the Mahatma Gandhi statue alongside a statue of Marquis Dupleix and the War Memorial to honor the fallen French soldiers of World War I as well as a whitewashed 19th century lighthouse.
Treat Your Taste Buds:
Good news first. Liquor rates are without taxes !!!
Beer costs lesser than a bottle of cold drink. Just kidding!!! But it’s certainly a lot cheaper that any metropolitan city. You can find wine shops on almost all the roads and multiple number of them on the same road. Most of the shops are open till 10:30-11 PM.
You’ll find a thriving café and bar culture come alive as the sun sets. French food is everywhere, but its authenticity is questionable. So you’ll find French food being served alongside a mix of Italian, Indian and Chinese cuisines at most places with some good steaks and sandwiches too.
Shopping Places in Pondicherry:
Pondi Sunday Market: Pondi Sunday market is a unique place that sells almost anything and everything under the sun. Both young and old come here to purchase cheap apparels, metal plates, cups, scarves, pots, shoes and lots more. The shops here are colorful and so are the items found here. On weekends and holiday occasions, the market is packed with eager buyers. Carry an umbrella in case you are stepping out or visiting this place in summer.
Mission Street: You can browse for non-leather footwear, hand-painted silk clothing, perfumed candles, incense, oils, ceramics, jewelry, and handmade paper items to the accompaniment of artsy, esoteric music. There are also many cafes and restaurants in the area. Apart from shopping, Mission Street is a good place to walk around and admire old French architecture in the city.