Here’s a snapshot of my epic trip to Pondicherry! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed the trip.
How to get there?
If you love long drives, you can take a flight to Chennai and then embark on a road trip to Puducherry (major Dil Chahta Hai vibes). It is a beautiful drive and takes approximately 4 hours. Solo travellers, you can choose to travel by train.
The other alternative (which I took) is to take a flight to Puducherry. There are no direct flights. Since I was travelling from Mumbai I took a connecting flight from Bangalore. A round trip from Mumbai costed approximately ₹8000. Economical, right?
TRAVEL HACK: You can find the cheapest flights on Sky Scanner.
Where to stay?
White Town. Koi shak?
I highly recommend staying in White Town. It’s a French neighbourhood with great vibes! The best cafés & restaurants are located here.
I spent the next two days at an Airbnb on Serenity Beach. It’s about 20 mins from White Town. It’s a little secluded, perfect for a romantic getaway for couples.
In case these places aren’t available you can stay at The Bull Boutique Hotel, Villa Meena, Villa Krish, Villa Montecarlo.
Travellers looking for a more luxurious stay can opt to stay at The Promenade and Le Dupleix.
Day 1: I landed in Puducherry post noon. Spent the afternoon relaxing in my hotel – Villa du Ocean. As it got pleasant in the evening, I walked around White Town and visited the French War Memorial, Rock Beach and spent my entire evening there. There is a market in the lane opposite Le Cafe. You can buy a lot of handmade products such as lamps, bags, dreamcatchers and soaps. Dinner at Le Dupleix
Day 2: I booked an Activa through our hotel. It’s rental is about ₹300-350/day. I visited Sri Aurobindo Handmade Paper Factory a.k.a. an artist’s heaven, Our Lady of Angeles Church and shopped at Mission Street and Jawaharlal Nehru Street. Lunch at Coromondel Café – Posh n’ pink pasta, hot chocolate & fries at Le Cafe and dinner at Café Xtasi – best pizza!
Day 3: Started the day at 7am with the Pondi cycle tour at SITA Cultural Centre. I explored the flower market, different places of worship and the French, Tamil, Muslim & mixed quarters of Pondicherry. Took a surfing lesson at Kallialay Surf School in the afternoon. You can go for a boat ride on Chunnambar River and visit Paradise Beach. Lunch at Auroville Bakery – Burgers, Dinner at the Airbnb.
Day 4: I spent the morning on Serenity Beach. It’s a serene beach not frequented by a lot of tourists. You can opt for another surfing lesson. I spent the evening on Rue Suffren. This street has a lot of graffiti you can pose against for pictures! Breakfast at Bread & Chocolate, Lunch at PY Café, Hot Chocolate at Zuka, Dinner at Le Chateu.
Day 5: I really wanted to visit and meditate inside Matri Mandir, Auroville. For this you need to go to the Visitor’s Centre a day in advance and get a pass. The passes are available only between 10am-11am and 2pm-3pm. You cannot book the passes over call or online. You have to register yourself in person only. For those short on time, you can go to the Matri Mandir view point. However, I would strongly urge you to take the extra effort to go inside and meditate.
The lotus pond just below Matri mandir is captivating. As you step inside the inner chamber, I kid you not, you can hear the vibrations. I wholeheartedly urge you to experience it. And I promise you, it’ll be the highlight of your trip.
Until my next adventure.