On my list for long time, finally in 2019 I made it to Pondicherry. It is officially known as Puducherry. So Puducherry and Pondichery is the same place. Pondicherry is at a distance of 143 KM if you opt to drive via Tindivanam and 149 KM if you choose to drive via Mahabalipuram. It takes 2-3 hours based on the route selected. I got to explore both ways. Both of them have their own unique landscapes.
I had booked the hotel online, but when I reached the hotel I found it different as to what was shown on the internet. Hence, I suggest that if you are going in OFF season “PLEASE CHECK THE HOTEL IN PERSON and then reserve“. That was one of the learnings. Fortunately, inspite of being an new year season I could find a room for myself in a decent location. The hotel was 5 minutes walking distance to “White town”, “Promenade beach”, “Arbindo Ashram”, “Pondy bajar” and 15 minutes from “Auroville”. I spent about 3 days -2 nights. Here is what all I did.
Post my check-in, I took an Auto-rickshaw to the nearest beach which was Rocky or Promenade beach http://(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Promenade_Beach)
On my way to beach, I visited the “Arbindo Ashram”. We have to switch OFF any smart devices when in Ashram to maintain the tranquility and solace.
Walking through the beautiful clean and well maintained lanes of White town. We can still the houses beautifully colored with bold colors like Yellow, Pink and Blue.
Rocky beach is almost similar to Marine driver in Mumbai and you can sit on the rocks enjoying the sunset. If at all one is hungry, then when can walk to Hotel Promenade or the Le Cafe. Le Cafe is open for 24 hours and operates in Self service mode. One has to order the food, collect it once prepared and then enjoy it sitting either on the roof top.
Masala tea is a must if it is a Chilly evening.
Once done with food and prepared for some more walk. If one walks for another 200 meters, then they should reach the “Gandhi Statue” on Promenade beach.
If you are interested in staying in an heritage hotel, then you can find most of them facing the sea right near the beach.
While in Pondicherry, french food is a must. Locals suggested me places like Hotel Promenade and Villa Shanti. But due to heavy rush we could not get a table and we had to go with Villa Krish. Post lunch we decided to go around in Pondy Bazaar.
One of my recommendations when you visit Pondicherry is to have 1-2 hours dedicated for “Silk Saree and Cotton fabric” shopping. The most recommended shop is “Pothys”. In the evening we did see other beaches like Serenity beach and Auraville beach.
On last day, I visited the Arbindo Ashram again to buy few books and Auro-shikha to buy the agarbaties.
There are multiple shopping spots in the white town itself and I packed few things for myself before marking Pondi as done.