Travel

#XploreBharat reaches Peaceful Pondicherry – A French Flavoured Holiday

Hello travelers, hope you are enjoying the ride on #XploreBharat express that has covered 18 destinations until now with the most recent trip to Mysore  with Jayanthy. Today it reaches a part of the country that over the years has become a very popular tourist destination, Pondicherry.

Officially called Puducherry and colloquially referred to as Pondy, it’s one of those places which merit repeat visits. Formerly, a French colony, it still preserves a colonial ambiance reflected in its buildings, avenues, churches and housing quarters etc. Pondy is indeed referred to as the French Riviera of the East.

Even though, I have visited Pondy 3 times already (and still counting), each time I saw it through a different lens.

Pondy – Getting to know each other

The first time I went to Pondy was when we visited my husband’s family in Chennai. My husband is a Tamilian and I’m a Punjabi and we were based in Delhi. This was my time exploring South India and getting to know the family better. We were about 15 of us in a hired mini bus. We made a special stop to enjoy degree coffee (south India filter coffee) on the way.  A night in Pondicherry, staying in the French quarters overlooking the promenade beach and I fell in love with the place!

We visited the Sri Aurobindo ashram and dined at the lovely little restaurants around there. It was an interesting experience to explore the Tamil quarters for shopping and soaking in the local feel. Auroville was the highlight of the trip. Auroville is a concept developed for people from different communities globally to come together and live in one place as one. It is agnostic to religion and its focal point is Matrimandir, a spherical temple with gold discs. The atmosphere is peaceful and a lot of people spend time meditating and reflecting.

Pondy – falling in love

Over the course of years, we shifted to Chennai from Delhi.  Then I played tourist guide when my parents and sister’s family visited and went to Pondy. We spent two nights, one near Auroville and the other in the French quarters. This time, we visited Paradise beach and enjoyed a mesmerizing view and frolicked in the water amid beautiful sea waves. We enjoyed dining on French cuisine and spent our time shopping for knick knacks in the local markets.

Pondy – in a committed relationship

My third visit was a girls trip with my mother and masi (mom’s sister). I was behind the wheel and savored the drive down the picturesque- East Coast Road running parallel to the ocean.  We stayed again in the French quarters and spent our evening by the promenade and eating at small special cafes tucked in between the fabulous architecture. The next morning, we went to Serenity beach to see the sunrise and had a great start to our day. We visited the not to be missed, Auroville the next day on our way back to Chennai.

I haven’t planned my next trip but I am sure to return. Until then I will look back on these fond memories and relive those moments. Here is a quick summary for you to if you plan a trip to Pondy.

Travel tips for Pondy –

How to get there – Pondy airport has limited flights from some major Indian cities. The biggest airport close to Pondy is Chennai which is about 3 hours’ drive.

Where to stay – There are 3 main areas you can choose to stay – French quarters, Tamil quarters or close to Auroville, depending on your preference.

Places to visit – The top places to visit are – Promenade beach, Shri Aurobindo ashram, Auroville, Temples & churches & Paradise beach.

What to eat – You can find a wide variety of cuisines from good south Indian food to French influenced local food, great sea food, steaks and wine.

Best time to visit – October to March is considered a good time to visit as the temperatures are more bearable.

Since it is hard to capture the heart and soul of Pondicherry in a single post, I would highly recommend these books that expand upon the essence of this place –

Pondicherry, that was Once French India by Raphaël Malangin & A House in Pondicherry by Lee Langley.

India with its diversity has plenty of places to explore. I am glad I am writing as a part of #XploreBharat blog train and sharing my wonderful travel experiences with you. The vastness of India with its mountains, beaches, lakes and oceans is immense. Having stayed most of my life in the northern part of India, South India was very new for me and I am glad I got this opportunity to explore the treasures of the South. East India will be my next new landscape to cover!

Hope this destination leaves you with a desire to visit Pondy for a relaxing holiday. If you already have visited Pondy, please share your experience with me in commnets below. Look out for my next post on Chennai as a part of #Xplorebharat with #BlogBoosterIndia blog train.

Tomorrow the express will leave for it’s next destination as Anshu takes you on a tour to another beautiful treasure, Coorg.  So till then enjoy the beaches and soak in the beauty of Pondicherry.

Pictures are all author’s personal clicked by her or family members.

This post is a part of the #XploreBharat Blog Train hosted by
AditiEshaMaheshwaranPreetiSabaPragun, SanjotaSoniaSudipSuhasiniand Supriya, sponsored by KAIV and FABZANIA.

KAIV
KAIV is a personal grooming accessory and appliances brand offering a wide range of world-class products.
FABZANIA
FabZania is an upcoming food, travel, entertainment, and lifestyle web portal.

65 thoughts on “#XploreBharat reaches Peaceful Pondicherry – A French Flavoured Holiday

  1. This is so well written. Proud of you Prerna. I visited Pondy twice in 2008 and 2013. Have been in love with the place ever since. The Aurobindo Ashram, the Sea and the local market plus the clean streets really make it a serene destination.

  2. Such a delight to get a whiff of peaceful Puducherry through your words and pictures. It’s on my to-do list and your post gives me all the more reason to go now. Thanks Prerna.

  3. What a fantastic post.This is so chock-full of useful information,most concise step- by-step guide one can dig deep and start utilizing the resources you have given.Your exuberance is refreshing.

  4. I love love Pondicherry….I went there during monsoons… It was such a pleasure walking along the rain swept roads, the beach near auroville.. Cant recall which of the two it was was so beautiful in the rain.. The food, the churches…someone take ne there right now… Great post!

  5. Pondy was our weekend gateway during our Chennai days. The drive through ECR was always great. The place always had a new corner to discover. French influence is profusely seen in food and buildings. I love reading your post Prerna, I felt reliving those memories

  6. I love Pondu and it’s been our vacation home during my teenage years, as my mausi used to stay there. We cousins used to cycle through entire pondy during that time. So I really love it.

  7. I have been to chennai a couple of times, however never got a chance to visit Pondy, but after reading your post i will make the visit happen. I am very interested exploring more about AuroVille. I am sure visiting pondy would one of the finest vacations.

  8. A detailed post and some beautiful y prerna. Pondy as you said is long on my list, in fact once we planned and then canceled. I would forever regret it till I get to visit the place. I am a big French fan and would definitely love the restaurants and bylanes.

  9. I visited Puducherry a few years back with my wife and daughter. We could see the Matrimandir from outside but we were not allowed inside. If I remember correctly it was because there were some repairs going on. Either that or it was past visiting hours when we turned up. We visited the Aurobindo ashram and that too was very enjoyable. But we were in a hurry and ours was a very short trip and we could not get to see a lot of places though we did visit the beach and that was a lot of fun. Your post is really informative and definitely enthuses me to visit Puducherry once more.

  10. A Perfect Post on Peaceful Puducherry. Auroville is on my list since a long time, wish to experience the French taste soon, thanks for sharing all required info.

  11. Loved how creatively you presented this post, and Pondy, to us. All the information needed to visit the place, shared in such an interesting and compact way. I love Pondy too, which is why this post resnates with me so much. Awesome read!

  12. Lovely post on India’s French Riviera. Your concise and step-by-step description of the place, and how you gradually started loving it all the more is a nice way of pulling in the reader too. Kudos! 👌

  13. This is such a wonderful post on this beautiful destination. I haven’t travelled much in southern India but we are soon planning a trip to Chennai for work. Hope we can visit Pondi as well.

  14. I wasn’t aware of this beautiful place earlier. Recently while travelling on the train, an elderly Punjabi couple mentioned to us that they are going to stay at Pondicherry for 2-3 months at Aurobindo Ashram. And then I googled this place. Was mesmerized then and amazed now to read this post. Pondicherry remains on my bucket list.

    1. Happy to know that Sudip. Feel free to reach out to me for any further queries too. Would be happy to help!

  15. Such a lovely post and best part is it called covers everything one should know before hitting the place.I never knew about the French touch Pounduicherry has. I have never been to South and its in my bucket list.

  16. Pondicherry is on my priority list and after reading your post, my intent to visit this place has become stronger. You seem to have had some amazing time in this small beautiful town.

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