Pondicherry or Puducherry is an old town in South India. It was a French colony long time back so we can still see the French houses and architecture in Pondicherry. Some of the local Indian people also speak French language which is really amazing. We met a Tea shop owner who was speaking in French very fluently to a French guy.
Pondicherry Morning Promenade View
How to plan for the Pondicherry Trip
For Pondicherry trip You can set aside 3 to 4 days. As there are lot to cover. Temperature might be hot throughout the year hence its better to book an AC room. You can cover city pretty much in 1 hour since the area is very less but there are places which you need to spend time. I’ll cover those below. Keep reading.
Pondicherry has some good Hotels. Its better you book it before visiting that place as it could be crowded. If you get some sea facing room that would be awesome. Pondicherry has every kind of hotels. So check your preference and review before you book the rooms. You can also get a room in Ashrams lodges, which are pretty decent. There are two ashram lodges a) New Guest House b) Park Guest House
We had gone in 2015 September and price for Ashram Stay was– AC – 800 Rs, Non AC 400 Rs. For New Guest house there is no booking online, You need to call them and send money by money order for booking .
You can visit following for more information.
Since we did booking in New Guest house prior to travelling it was all taken care. But we booked only for 2 days in AC because we thought we can return in 2 days time. So after 2 days we went to Park Guest House and We didn’t feel much customer friendly atmosphere. It seems Park Guest is very much in demand and you can’t prebook it, its booking on arrival only. From Park Guest house you can see the Sea very well.
There are free trips arranged from Auro Ashrams Guest houses. We had our own plans hence we took rental bike. This you can get near Karnataka bank. There are lot of rental bike shops and its pretty cheap, It comes to around 150-300 Rs per day depending on the bike. You have to pay deposit of 500 Rs and give an ID proof, which they will return once you return the bike. Since we didn’t know the place much every evening we used to return the bike and morning we used to rent same bike. As you need to travel around a lot and roads are crammed, you can cover most of the places quickly using bike. But if you are travelling by car that will be great as weather will be hot hence AC will be needed.
We took bike from here, The owner was really nice and we were able to negotiate some amount as well. First bike we took had some issues and we immediately exchanged for another one and he didn’t complain at all.
Places to See
There are lot of places to see in Pondicherry. Here’s the list.
Map of Pondicherry
1. Sri Aurobindo Ashram
2. Pondicherry Museum
3. Botanical Garden
Check out this Beautiful fish, shying away. I saw this in the aquarium in Botanical Garden.
6. Chunnambar Boat House
7. Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus
8. Eglise de Notre Dame Des Anges
9. Ousteri Lake
10. Paradise Beach
11. Bharati Park
Main thing you would like to try in Pondicherry is lot of French dishes. Its pretty expensive but you should give it a try.
There are lots of french restaurant in the frech colony area. In addition to french there are some restaurant/bakery which are famous in Pondicherry. Following are the one
This bakery has lot of sweets which are worth trying. This is around 1-2 km from the promenade and is really walkable distance.
This is a icecream shop and you will find lot of exotic variety. Its better you try in evening. This is in the Promenade
3. Bon Bakes
This is french bakery, You can try croissant and coffee shakes etc.
4. Health Drinks
In the morning if you walk in Promenade you will find lots of small shops which works from morning 5 am to 8 am and you will get drinks like Aloe Vera, Wheat Grass, Amla Juice, Black Tea, Ginger tea etc. These are really healthy drinks.
Some travel experience.
Near Aurobindo Ashram you will get lots of shop from where you can buy different types of incense stick or Agarbatti.
Inside Auroville you will get lot of things to see like inside of Matri Mandir, Boutiques, Concept of Ashram. Basically you need to walk some distance to see the Matri Mandir, So first day you book the entry to Matri Mandir, Next day only you can visit inside it. They don’t allow to book through phone. So you plan your travel accordingly. First you see the Auroville and its surrounding areas and book the entry to Matri Mandir and next day you can see inside. Its worth spending time in Matri Mandir, Its really serene and peaceful. Don’t miss it.
Inside the Matri Mandir(Replica)
Boutique inside the Auroville, Here also you can buy incense stick, pottery, cloths etc.
In the Botanical garden don’t miss the train travel..
Meditation center in New Guest House
View from top of New Guest House
Each room has some positive name, like the one which we stayed was “Blessing”. Really very Positive.
One of the Oldest Cafe in Pondicherry in Promenade
Beautiful French Colony, Its really striking colors and design, You will get a wonderful feeling while walking in french colony.
We travelled outskirts of Pondicherry to look out for Potteries. We found one but price was almost same as we get in Pondicherry hence didn’t buy much.
While coming back from Auroville we came across this Garden Vase Factory. It was really awesome. They had wonderful designs and color.
Overall my experience was amazing in Pondicherry, Only problem I found was climate. It was really hot, other than that there is nothing to complain about. You will enjoy this small old town which has historical significance and has mix of french and Indian culture co-existing for years.
That’s all for now.