The first question as soon as you arrive here is, "whether to call it Pondicherry or Puducherry?" Well, you may call this Union Territory town by the name Pondicherry or Puducherry or Pondy (just how I like to call it lovingly), Naam main kya rakha hai?
The most important thing about this place is its French legacy, which is preserved here with utmost love and passion. Therefore the French part of Pondicherry is where you'll perhaps spend most of your time. You will find this area peaceful, clean, tourists all around the streets, lanes that are lined with bougainvillea-draped colonial style townhouses and architectures, French-themed cafes that serve amazing French food and bakery items (that I shall be talking about below with food pictures) :-p and of course the beautiful beaches.
How can you reach Pondicherry?
There are two basic ways to reach Pondy. One is to take a cab/taxi/bus/train from Chennai, which will be approx 3-3.5 hours of travel. The other one which I took was a slightly longer and tedious route as it took me around 7 hours to reach Pondy from Bangalore. The cab is a costly affair so if you don't want to splurge on commuting then you can opt for a train or bus journey anytime over the cab one.
I spent these 7 hours whilst enjoying the beautiful view on the way as the weather was quite soothing and there was no rainfall or intense sunlight throughout my journey. I also had nariyal paani (coconut water) which cost around 20-25 Rs. (where rest of the country you get one nariyal in 40-50 Rs each). I played games like quiz up, scrabble and draw and guess on my phone with a little bit of napping in between due to the signal loss in my phone. 😉
Before leaving for Pondicherry, I stayed a night in Bangalore and hence I would also like to share my experience at Move n Pick hotel, Bangalore. The hotel is beautiful guys!!! I loved the hotel ambience, my room, the buffet lounge, basically everything that this hotel offers. With Buffet, you also get to eat their in-house Move n Pick ice-creams where you can make your own bowl with assorted garnishings. I highly recommend having the chocolate ice-cream and their breakfast pancakes on your visit at Move n Pick Bangalore.
The next day, of course, I left for Pondicherry!!! 😀
My Stay at Pondy
As my trip was impromptu, the two resorts that I genuinely wanted to book were full – one is the Ocean Spray Resorts and another one is Le Pondy. Therefore I booked The Windflower Resorts at Maraimalai Adigal Street, Pondy.
The resort is greener than the grass on your side. 😛
The view from my hotel room was beautiful, serene and I could just sit on my balcony for hours just to dig-in some fresh air and enjoy my me-time.
You can have a relaxing swim at the swimming, play some outdoor sports like volleyball at their in-house playground or you can go for a quick walk or jog at the beach right behind the resort.
I must say, you must definitely go and see a sunset/sunrise at this beach as it is quite peaceful because it is a secluded beach. You can even enjoy some Nimbu Soda or Nariyal Paani on your way to the beach, just like I did. 😀
My Favourite Places in Pondy
There is so much to explore in Pondy!! One thing for sure is the beaches, although I couldn't go to all; some of the awesome beaches are tick marked for sure. The two out of all beaches are the most popular ones – The Rock Beach and The Paradise Beach.
AKA Promenade Beach that is situated right in the centre of the White Town, which is known as the hub for all the major cafes and restaurants of Pondy. It is a 1.2-kilometre-long stretch in Pondicherry, starts from War Memorial and end at Dupleix Park on the Goubert Ave. It gives you the vibes of Marine Drive Mumbai, just visit this place and you'll know why! 😉
French War Memorial
Right at the Rock Beach on the Gourbert Avenue, you'll find the very beautiful French War Memorial, which is made in dedication to those soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country during World War I. It is quite popular among tourists and is one of the major attractions of Pondicherry. It doesn’t take much time to stroll through the French War Memorial as it is quite small in the area yet an intriguing place to be visited.
Right opposite to Frech War Memorial is the Gandi Statuewhich also amongst the tourist attractions at Promenade/Rock Beach in Pondy.
This corner of Pondicherry is going to be France forever! Loved this place and everyone should have a glance at French Quarters on their trip to Pondy for sure. The colonial French architecture which is predominantly seen in a precinct is now known as White Town.
Its French legacy is preserved in its French Quarter, with tree-lined streets, mustard-colored colonial villas and chic boutiques. A seaside promenade runs along the Bay of Bengal and passes several statues, including a 4m-high Gandhi Memorial. Here you will find these beautiful grey, sun burnt yellow, pale peach and blue colonial styled villas with big compound walls and stately doors that look astonishing in just one look.
This peaceful and holy place has made Pondicherry a favourite tourist venue for many people all over the world to attain eternal peace and harmony. People here not just come to visit this place but to also study here at this Ashram. One can visit the samadhis of Sri Aurobindo & mother or participate in collective meditation in Ashram around the Samadhi in the main building on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Additionally, you can also buy some amazing spiritual books, written by Sri Aurobindo and mother.
Boat Ride from Chunnambar Boat House to Paradise Beach Island
This is too much fun!!! Taking a boat ride to visit a beautiful secluded beach like The Paradise Beach is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry. The boats usually take people up to the placid and picturesque Paradise Beach, also known as Plage Paradiso.Located along the Cuddalore Main Road, this is an amazing location for relaxing and chilling out. One can also sunbathe here and enjoy magnificent views of the sunset.
Along with boating up to the beach, there are some interesting and thrilling things to do in Pondicherry, especially this part of the city. You can go for backwater boating, hiking, picnicking or a round on an ATV bike, just like I did. 😀 Too much fun!
Opening Hours: 9 am – 5 pm
Food in Pondicherry
Food being my favourite thing in the world, how can I not tell you as to what to eat and what not to in Pondy. Pondy is a piece of heaven for all the French Food Lovers. Apart from French, you may also love trying out various cuisines in Pondicherry like Italian, South Indian and Sea Food as well. Though my personal favourite is this French Cafe Baker Street which is situated at the famous M.G. Road. Talking about their bakery items, everything is mouth-watering and amazingly delicious over here. You must must must visit this place on your visit to Pondy.
You must try their croissants, quiches, pastries, pizzas and eclairs – they are literally authentic in taste. I also tried the lasagne and their chocolate shake, which didn't quite work for me.
The next best things in Pondy is the famous ice cream joint, Gelato. They serve authentic gelatos, just like how Italians serve! I tried the classic chocolate gelato and my friend tried the butterscotch – both were creamy and melt-in-the-mouth as soon as you put it in. I scream you scream, We all scream for ice cream!!!
If you are a non-vegetarian, Le Dupleix is a place for you. You must try their Pondicherry special menu and sea food platters. Although I also liked the Bruschettas that went well with my glass of cocktail.
At Villa Shanti, I tried their Alfredo Pasta and Mushroom Fantasy. I loved the Mushroom Fantasy as it is a unique dish and a very good looking dish, must try it here. It tastes even better with their home made Mayo Dip.
Lastly, I would like to suggest you all for reaching Pondy from Chennai as it will take less time to commute and even the route is beautiful with sea view and palm trees all around. Therefore, instead of going to the tedious 7-hour journey to Bangalore, I made the smart move and reached Chennai in 3.5 hours and came back to Indore next time via Pune flight. phew!!! 😀
I hope the Pondicherry blog was helpful. You can contact me for further information on firstname.lastname@example.org
I am also on instagram – BellyKanungo
See you soon with another review, till then keep travelling and eating and keep your bellies happy!😉