It’s hard not to fall in love with Pondicherry once you’ve visited. Today called Puducherry, this beach town is still strongly reminiscent of a French colony, decades after the French made their exit
Yellow and white brick duplexes line the perpendicular avenues with French names as locals and foreigners, pass you by on cycles. Cute cafes and rooftop bars dot the town, offering the most delectable food and cocktails. The sparkling blue ocean invites you into its warm embrace from its sandy shores. The promenade by the sea witnesses a flurry of activity with groups of friends hanging out, people out jogging or children taking their first steps.While the areas outside the French colony are much like any small city of South India, the tourist hub is the colony itself and the Aurobindo ashram. Established in 1674 by the French, Pondicherry is a union territory that makes most of its revenue through tourism. Sipping on a cocktail at a quaint café or sitting by the beach, watching the waves crash against the shore, you will realize that this is one place you’ll be returning to over and over again.Pondicherry is the perfect place to go unwind. Its laidback French ambience and colonial architecture are what lure tourists, so the best way to enjoy the city is by following the same slow pace. Stroll down the city’s tree lined streets and beautiful promenades at a leisurely pace, enjoying the cafes and restaurants along the way. You can visit the many temples and churches in the region for their religious and architectural significance.Walk down to the promenade to enjoy the cool sea breeze in the evenings. If you’re more tempted to plunge into the water, then head to Aurobindo beach or Serenity beach, both of which have a number of budget shacks to stay in.Whatever you do, don’t leave Pondicherry without visiting the Aurobindo ashram and the Matri Mandir inside it. Book in advance if you want a tour of the mandir, or else you can simply walk around the campus, sit for the audio-video show depicting the history of the ashram, and spend the day finding the spirituality you’ve been looking for.Pondicherry offers the perfect blend of nature and man’s creations, so no matter how many time you visit, you’ll always have things to do.The easiest and most convenient way to move around Pondicherry at your own pace would be to hire a scooter or a bicycle. There are plenty of shops all over town that rent these out. You can also hop into a rickshaw to take you around, but remember to fix the fare before you get in, as they don’t have meters. Buses are also available aplenty. If you’re feeling indulgent, then hire a private taxi or car to take you around.The streets get a bit lonely after 9 or 10 pm, so avoid traveling alone.If you’re staying at a shack or are on the beach, take care of your belongings and always keep one eye on them
Pondicherry is not well connected to other major cities of the country via regular flights. The nearest airport is in Chennai at a distance of 124kms.
Airports: Chennai International Airport
You can easily get regular trains to Pondicherry from other major cities of the country..
Railway Station(s): Puducherry