‘Tour de Pondy’
I was sitting on the rocks at the beach of Pondicherry and little drops of water splashed on me, the wind brushing through my hair, and my eyes sparkled with the rays of the sun, and indeed a perfect moment for a beautiful picture isn’t it?
Yes, that’s Pondicherry, The Paris of the South!.
If you have been to the west coast and enjoyed the chaos on the beaches then come to the east side and you will enjoy the serene beaches which is soulful at Pondicherry (Puducherry).
Pondicherry is a union territory in the east of India, near Tamil Nadu. It was a French colonial settlement until 1954. Its French legacy is still preserved and a treat for the eyes. So It’s called the Paris of the south!
To know why? Read the blog further.
This place has so much to see and learn, it’s for every peace lover and one must visit here.
So let me get started.
On my visit, I had been to almost every place that’s a must-visit while at Pondy. Hence I am sharing my experience; I hope it’s going to change your mind too and make you come to pondy as soon as possible.
The city of Pondicherry resides by the Bay of Bengal so definitely you cannot miss going on a walk at the beach or partying at the beach too.
Streets of Pondicherry
Beaches by the Bay
The Promenade Beach: This beach is simply beautiful and you will find people walking, jogging and also one can do yoga here. Alongside there are places to sit and restaurants and cafe’s to eat and dine, alongside the shore. Also, there is a park near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and a French Memorial alongside the same shore.
Auroville Beach: The small town of Auroville in Pondy has a beach for surfing lovers. So the adventure lovers don’t miss a chance of visiting here.
Paradise Beach : This is a private beach and has timings to visit from 9 am to 5 pm. But it just makes you want to stay there forever. You can hop on to the backwater boating and enjoy the calmness of the backwater to reach the beach through a ferry ride.
Serenity Beach: too tired of you’re wheatish skin then visit the serenity beach for sunbathing. This place is indeed serene and sunny but you cannot miss out on visiting this beach.
So what are you waiting for flaunt your beachwear at Pondy.
Beaches in Pondicherry
Temples and Churches
Pondicherry has a historical background and beautiful French architecture which is maintained until today. Among which the following cannot be missed out.
Basilica of the sacred heart of Jesus: This majestic red-colored structure is an oriental architectural church. Inside the church, they have red stained glass panels with paintings depicting the life of Christ and the saints of the church. There is also a small aviary with a few birds and also some rabbits at the premises of the Basilica.
Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple: on my visit to this temple I was blinded by the gold finish on the temple walls and also the interior of the temple. It’s raining gold in this temple. Yes, it’s an old temple of Lord Ganesh. There is also a golden chariot that is pulled during the temple festival. On your visit here don’t forget to take blessing from the “Gaja” or rather the elephant named Lakshmi outside the temple premises.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram: This ashram is the heart of the city. It is a spiritual community where Sri Aurobindo withdrew from public view to continue is spiritual work, which he later dedicated to “the mother’ earlier known as “Mirra Alfassa” it was formed in 1926. Inside the ashram, the visitors must remain silent and meditate around the samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and “ the mother” and seek their blessings. One can offer flowers as they both loved flowers and the surroundings around the place are also flowery. Inside the ashram, there is a store where you can buy their books, photos and some pieces of art.
Basilica of the sacred heart of Jesus
Places to visit in Pondicherry :
Pondicherry is a beautiful city with white buildings and walls around the city and one may get a number of picture perfect places. On your visit here do not forget to take your cameras.
The Pondicherry museum: This museum is for the art and history lovers. It has some of the best collection of the sculptures in bronze from the Chola dynasty, which is an antique piece. More so the museum has so many items of art such as the Victorian palace mirrors, the dressing tables, the crockery, the palanquin and the horse carriage used during the French invasion and the icing on the cake is the artifacts from the archaeological dig found at Arikamedu a trading port during the first century BC. This museum is open to the public from 9 am to 6 pm except on Monday and photography is strictly prohibited inside.
Botanical gardens: If one is a nature lover or considers plants as their pets then this place is just for you. It was established in 1826. It has been a favorite tourist spot here at pondy, and it is a hub of horticulture development. One can take a walk across the 22acres and stand by the fountains and landscapes to click a snap. There is also a toy train, musical fountain and an aquarium within the garden premises. This is definitely a leisure place because you can simply relax under the pruned trees.
Auroville: This is an experimental township founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa and designed by architect Roger Anger. This place has no religion and politics, it’s a place formed to achieve universal harmony. This place has so many things for one to take back and learn from. The Auroville is a community of people who volunteer to work for the society, there is a Matri mandir which is a gold orb, an architectural wonder built for indulging oneself in spiritual power. The Matri mandir can be visited on all days except Sunday and for the entrance inside the Matri mandir to practice spirituality, one needs to book in advance. There are many cafes within the community serving all organic products, and also a boutique selling a number of products for the visitors. To know more you must visit this place.
White town and French colony: The city of pondy also called the white town has a number of hotels, boutiques and other places of visit all residing across parallel roads which have painted walls making it look like France. The ones who love shopping must definitely visit the French colony which has a few boutique shops selling some exclusive items apart from that the best place to shop is near the beach or at Auroville.
The Pondicherry museum
Travel, food, and communication in Pondicherry:
Travel : The easiest way to reach Pondicherry is by air, at Chennai, from Chennai it’s almost a 4-hour journey via road. The next easiest way to reach is from Bengaluru as there are many buses and trains commuting to Pondicherry; however, the journey is quite long almost 5 to 6 hours by any means of transport.
At Pondicherry best is to travel locally via a cab or an auto-rickshaw also one can rent a bicycle or two-wheeler and get going. The fares are minimal.
Food : There is no one who enjoys travel on an empty stomach. Hungry! Eat French food, or seafood or South Indian cuisine. The food at pondy is amazing for breakfast you can hop into a French cafe, for lunch you can have some amazing local seafood and by the night definitely have a bowl of curd rice with tadka in typical Tamil Nadu style.
Communication no bar: If you are of the notion that it’s difficult to communicate in Pondy! Then definitely you are wrong because people here speak Tamil being the mother tongue, and also English. So it’s easy to travel here.
Personally my visit to Pondicherry was a great experience as I thoroughly enjoyed its calmness and serenity and was satisfied with a full heart and a broad smile on my return. If you are thinking of going solo this is definitely the place to go and live. I hope you are keen on packing your bags soon and visiting pondy.
Auroville: There is a special sculpture named Tsunamika in memory of the lives taken when the Tsunami struck Tamil Nadu in the year 2004 and one can take the goodies the price of which is collected as a fundraiser.
The original name Puducherry is derived from the Tamil words putu (‘new’) and ceri (‘village’). The port here has no harbor but was once the best on the Coromandel Coast.
Takeaways: On your return since it’s a Union Territory there is no tax so you can take alcohol if you’re a hard drink lover. However, you are not allowed to take it across borders unless it’s opened.
Souvenirs : In memory of Pondy you can take back picture magnets or some miniature stone sculptures and some mirrors and wall hangings handicrafted ith seashells and definitely lots and lots of memories