Best Places to visit in Pondicherry
Updated: Apr 23
Pondicherry a French colony until 1954 and now a Union territory of India falls geographically under the Tamil Nadu state of India. The Beaches, the french colony with its churches and cuisines and the #Auroville are the main attractions here...
Welcome to the Endless Roads, this time we are heading to Pondicherry (PondY) from Bangalore.
We started on the 4th of March 2020 from bangalore, we had a late night meeting last night hence could start by only about 8.00 AM, starting early and leaving bangalore city before 6.00 AM is always preferred to avoid the heavy traffic. So it was about 10.00 Am we came of the city to the highway.
The distance between bangalore to pondicherry (Puducherry) is about 320 KMS and takes about 6-7 hours of drive time
We reached at about 3.30 PM at Pondy. We took the Banglore- Hosur- Chengam - Tindivanam- Pondicherry route, The roads are Ok (not great) and you have some rough patches and you need to drive through the village highways
Highway route - NH 44 to NH 77 to NH 132
Driving in the night from bangalore to pondicherry is not recommended. The roads have less utilities stations and restaurants hence you may not be able to get a help in case of a breakdown
It is also safe to have your fuel pumped up before you start
Best place to stay at Pondicherry is near the Rock beach, First timers tend to book near the Paradise beach as we did and later changed our bookings. Rock beach is a centre where you have the french colony, the bars and restaurants, the local market and for sure the best places to stay.
Beaches in Pondicherry
There are a good number of beaches in Pondy but not all of them you have permission to play in the sea waters. Rock beach which falls along side the french colony you cannot enter at all. You have limited access at Paradise beach and Promenade / Serenity beaches
Though Pondicherry is a UT and has plenty of beaches like Goa you are not permitted to have beer at the beach. There are no shacks no restaurant on the beaches, Though you get cheap liquor here at Pondicherry you are supposed to have them at restaurants or ad designated areas. Best thing is buy your stuff and enjoy a cool evening at your hotel room.
There are a good number of restaurants here with good ambience and variety of cuisines. Best ones are those which have over the roof facility, you can view the colony and immerse yourself in the vibes from the beach
Paradise beach is the first place we visited in Pondicherry, The beach is very clean and hardly any pollution around this place but this is not the place from where you can immerse yourself in the sea and have some good time.
You have come to the paradise beach through the boat from #cheunnumbar boat house for that
However this is a good place where you get local vendor selling fish delicacies.
Locals here are very friendly and can speak decent English, In fact we made our 2 day itinerary while enjoying the fried fish at one of the stalls
At the boat house you can chose to have a private boat or shared one depending on your budget, you also have an option of speed boats here.
Rock beach falls on the banks of the french colony, this place is best for sight seeing and enjoying the cold breeze, the place known as rock beach because instead of the sand which shapes the beaches here you have all rocks and no sand at all
Serenity and other surrounding beaches are the places where you can enjoy diving in the sea waters though the waters are deep here and you need to be utmost careful at certain spots. Water is not clean though because of the fishing which happens nearby
French colony is a great place to do sight seeing, ideal time is in the evenings. during the evenings the Police also blocks motor entry to this area, you can either walk or take a cycle, hence it makes walking and enjoy the breeze very mesmerising.
As you walk through the colony you feel as if you are not in India. The giant churches, the french war memorial, the colony itself, and the white town with still a good population of the Portuguese makes you feel nostalgic.
The best time to visit Pondicherry is between October to March since summer becomes very humid here
Tourist especially foreign nationals prefer to come here in the month of November and some time mid march which is mostly the last minute rush time
If you compare Pondicherry to Goa as a tourist destination and your objective is pure fun and not like a travel enthusiast then Goa is any time a better choice
If you are looking at a weekend destination during summers and you compare the same to coorg or ooty then I would recommend Pondicherry during peak seasons and the laters during summer
Auroville is a place to find peace. But be careful if you trying to cover this place in the last minute you are mistaken, you need to give at least 5-6 hours of time of the day to cover Auroville. There is a about 2 kms walk you need to take before you reach Auroville Golden Glove or the #aurovilledome
Though they say its only 1 kms walk to encourage you but I am sure its al least 2 kms if not more :-)
Auroville in itself has tried to develop itself as a new way for humanity and the way ahead for the human race, Auroville was denied permission to establish itself as a standalone religion by the Supreme Court, Even today Auroville attract thousands of visitors world wide and guess what there is no entry fee at all. People from various countries and culture come here and a large number of people decide to renounce the world in live in the ashram, you can see more of foreign nationals than Indians settling down here
Its a great view for photographers but unfortunately you can go inside the ashram only with prior appointment which I was not aware and most of the travellers are not...
Though they have sample dome showing entry points and also showcase videos to help you understand how the Auroville may look from the inside
Thats all from pondicherry for now, your feedback/ reviews and suggestions would help me travel better, so pls keep in touch
Watch the video of Bangalore to Pondicherry road trip on YouTube
What type of clothes to wear in Pondicherry
You can wear Indian and western clothes in Pondicherry. Pondicherry is a tourist destination also preferred by foreigners hence type of clothes is not a problem and the locals at Pondicherry are welcoming
Is uber and Ola available in Pondicherry
Uber service is not available at Pondicherry currently but Ola is operational in Pondicherry but the number of cars are limited
Is Pondicherry safe for couples
Yes Pondicherry is safe for couples and non married couples are welcome without any issue
How many bottles can you carry from Pondicherry
You cannot carry any liquor bottles from Pondicherry if your are driving a car. You will face strict checking at the border and the liquor/ bottles would be seized with penalty
How is food in Pondicherry
Food at Pondicherry is very good with all various restaurants with specialised delicacies, Don't miss out taste the local meals and a visit to any of the French restaurant you don't want to miss
Can you drink at Auroville
No. Auroville is more of a semi religious place and you cannot consume alcohol or tobacco products at Auroville and its vicinity
What should I wear at Auroville
Though there are no particular guidelines on what to wear at Auroville but it is recommended to dress modestly with full sleeves shirt and Pyjamas.
How long is the drive from Chennai to Pondicherry
Chennai is the closest metro to Pondicherry with only 3 hours of drive, you can easily plan a weekend or day trip to Pondicherry from Chennai
Does Pondicherry have an Airport
Yes. Pondicherry has an airport and you can easily get your flights to cities like Kolkatta, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Can I rent bike in Pondicherry
Yes Bike rental services are available in Pondicherry, you can hire them for a day or multiple days in advance. Bike rental in Pondicherry would cost you anywhere between 300 to 500 rupees (4 to 7 USD). You will need to submit a original ID proof as security