Pondicherry, now Puducherry, for long, has been a dear destination for people around the globe. The place is a former French colony, which later became part of India in 1954. It’s along the sea side to the Bay of Bengal.
The temperature can go high in summers and since it’s along the sea, the air is quite humid. One must try to travel in winters or just after the monsoons end. The journey from Bangalore to Puducherry is an overnight journey of about 14 hours with lots of buses available on the route.
We reached at around 8 in the morning, rented two-wheeler from the market at about a kilometer from the bus stand. It’s a must to keep in mind to avoid hiring private autos as much as one can because of their high fares and easily available public transport in the area.
After renting the two wheeler, we headed to Auro beach, where we planned to find a stay for ourselves. We reached Auro beach area and there were a lot of affordable options available, including small bamboo huts which cost around ₹300 per day. We booked one, which easily accommodated three people and small luggage.
We freshened up and planned to visit white town, the part of Puducherry that still holds the memories of its french colonial past.
The architecture of the town is admirable and takes you to a different world. There are a lot of old houses which are now converted into Heritage hotels. A lot of places are named in french and there are lot of restaurants serving good French cuisine.
After roaming in the streets for few hours we went to visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram nearby. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the premises and they also take caps and other accessories before one sits near the shrine of Sri Aurobindo. The place has a small garden and lots and lots of squirrels. It’s a great place to meditate and an escapade into the peaceful environment.
From one peaceful rendevous to another, we reached Auroville in the early evening which is near to Auro beach.
Auroville is a township partly in Tamil Nadu and partly in Pondicherry. It’s built with the idea of universal brotherhood.
In the middle of the town is the Matrimandir, which was conceived by Alfassa as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection”. Silence is maintained inside the Matrimandir to ensure the tranquility of the space and entire area surrounding the Matrimandir is called Peace area.
The entry into Matrimandir was closed at that time. There is a long walk from the entry of Auroville to matrimandir. One has to pass through the beautiful and ever green passage of trees. The place is quiet and captivating. Continuous drizzling added to the brightness of the greenery around.
We clicked pictures of the dome of Matrimandir and on the way back sat in the restaurant at the entry of Auroville. It serves nice coffee and lots of options for cakes and custards. The food was decent and the environment just added the mysterious affinity to everything in that place.
As the rain stopped, we went back to our hut house and waited for the weather to get clear.
From there we went to Rock Beach to spend the evening. There is a promenade across the beach and huge rocks on the coast and thus the name. The place is vibrant and no vehicle is allowed to enter the beach area at night. It appeared as if all the tourists as well as locals have gathered at one place. It was crowded but colourful.
One can see people skating, riding bicycles and just walking along the well constructed path adjacent to the beach, with the sea breeze blowing across. The place is very clean and there are a lot of restaurants alongside.
There is also an ice cream shop called GMT, which serves liquor flavored ice creams. It’s definitely a must try. There are also shops for buying imported items. A memorial with the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and some government buildings. Due to lack of lighting we could not capture the view on the camera but its definitely captured in our minds.
We had our food at one of the restaurants and went back to our hut house.
Next day, we planned to find a club for scuba diving but there was no availability. But in the process, we stumbled upon a surfing club called Mother Ocean Surf school located at Serenity beach, which is just few kilometers from the Auro beach.
First we were reluctant as we wanted to do scuba diving and had no great idea about surfing. The owner of the place changed our minds with one statement “surfing is about controlling the water while scuba diving is submission to water”. Well with that being said, we got ready for our first surfing lesson.
Our trainer was a French guy, who taught us about the positions on surf board and within an hour he took us to the tides. Well, to be true after about 99% of failed attempts, the first successful surf ride was more satisfying than anything in the world. The sense of achievement and the adventure spirit went through the spine.
After all this physical exertion, we went back to our stay, cleaned the sand off and slept through the noon. After waking up, we went back to roaming in the streets of White Town and the lively atmosphere of Rock beach. Well it’s festivity was indeed infectious.
This time we went through some internal route and found a temple before the beach area. The temple had an elephant outside. The elephant was giving blessings by gently putting it’s trunk on the head of anyone offering something to the benevolent beast. It was exciting and fun. We spent few hours there, tired and satisfied we went back and slept to see what the next day held for us.
This was the last day and we decided to go to Paradise beach before anything else.
We reached via two-wheelers at one side of the beach. We parked our vehicles and travelled some distance to reach the beach.
Well credit goes to the person who named it like that. The view of the endless sea, partly cloudy sky, clear sand and coconut trees was majestic, incredible and exquisite.
The main area of the beach is under the government and we paid an entry fee of 100₹. The place has shacks that serve food and offers a boat ride to the backwaters.
We boarded the boat and fortunately, there was nobody else on that boat. The trip across the beautiful backwaters and intricated circles of coconut trees around was beguiling.
After completing the ride we stayed at the beach for few hours, looking towards the sea and peeking into our own being, serendipitous indeed.
We searched for places to eat and sat in Cafe Xtasi, which is famous for pizzas. The pizzas were good both vegetarian and non-vegetarian and also the mock-tails were nicely prepared.
Walking through the market nearby for hours, we felt the urge to relax and we sat in cafe des artes.
The ambiance of the place is gorgeous and there are some graffiti outside the cafe. The food is average and disappointed us to some extent.
By the time we, reached back and packed our bags, it was late evening and we had to catch our bus. So we returned the two-wheelers and on the way to bus stand, had our dinner at A2B restaurant, which is a popular food chain in south India. The food was great and trip ended on a good note. We reached the bus stand, picked the bus and reached back Bangalore by the next morning.
A look back at the this brings the sweetest memories of fun, adventure and tranquility to the mind. The fun in the streets of White Town, the adventure of surfing at Serenity beach and the peace and tranquility at Auroville and Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
Why visit Pondicherry? the answer to that is why not?
The perfect beach holiday, the self exploring journey, this is Pondicherry.
P.S. : All the pictures were clicked on Xiaomi Redmi 3S.
“Don’t let lack of resources limit your imagination and passion”