Pondicherry, India’s very own French colony that was renamed to Puducherry in 2006. Puducherry has a well-maintained French Quarter that is full of colonial-style villas, historical monuments, temples, fashionable boutiques and churches.
How to reach Pondicherry?
Pondicherry is well-connected to the cities in South India. The closest airport to Pondicherry is the Chennai airport which is about 135 kilometres from Pondicherry. If you’re travelling from major cities to Pondicherry, you can directly disembark at Pondicherry airport situated at Lawspet. There are various trains that arrive directly at the Puducherry railway station so, if you’re not pressed for time or have a smaller budget, go in for train travel.
Resorts in Pondicherry:
1) Kailash Beach Resorts
Located just around the beach, Kailash Beach Resort is located in Padukkupam, a fishing village. Spread out over a sprawling 3 hectares of tropical land, this beach resort is made in typical Tamilian style. The rooms spell luxury like nothing else and have attached balconies with each room. If you choose to stay at this resort, you will not have to worry about your food at all as the resort serves some delectable French and Indian foods. As the day comes to a close, head to the resort’s in-house terrace bar and enjoy the vibe with some great wine.
Where? No.50/3, Sudalai Street, Pooranankuppam Rd, Pudukuppam, Puducherry- 605007.
2) St. James Court Beach Resort
Located along the scenic Pondicherry Beach, St. James Court is the best place to stay at when you’re in Pondicherry. One of the most beautifully designed and built hotels in Pondicherry, St. James has been in the business since 1998 and has all the amenities, spacious rooms and superb service. The hotel has two in-house restaurants, one being an open-air restaurant called ‘Sea Breeze’ and a bar by the name of ‘The Ocean’ that serves some tasty snacks and beverages to go with it.
Where? ECR Road, Opp. Pondicherry Engg. College, Chinna Kalapet, Puducherry- 605014.
Things to do in Pondicherry:
1) Visit the Pondicherry beach-
A paradise of sorts for all beach lovers, Pondicherry beach has lots to see and do. With a creek on one side and some tree houses by the backwaters, the Pondicherry beach has lots of activities going on around the beach area. You can stop by at some of the live events taking place on the beach or join the beach volleyball players for a friendly match. Fancy going on cruises? The Pondicherry beach also has cruises that take you through the gushing backwaters.
2) Visit the Aurobindo Ashram-
When someone says Pondicherry, the first thing that comes to mind is the Aurobindo Ashram. Visit the Ashram and get your share of spirituality in the midst of the tranquil environment. The Ashram is known to have been home to Sri Aurobindo, an Indian spiritual guru and yogi, in the first half of the 20th century. Sri Aurobindo lived in the Ashram with his disciples and his spiritual collaborator (also the mother of the ashram). The Ashram is well-known to have been the founding pillar of ‘peaceful co-existence’ within a township. The town of Auroville is the by-product of Sri Aurobindo’s concept of co-existence and the other aims of his Ashram. The Ashram is open to visitors from 8am to 12pm and then from 2pm to 6pm. The Aurobindo Ashram encourages people to live a meaningful life and work towards attaining divine perfection, a very deep psychological concept.
3) Experience the medieval architecture at Raj Niwas-
The official home of the Lieutenant Governor, Raj Niwas was once used as a palace during the French colonial era. While only some parts of the Niwas are open to the public, the place has some beautiful medieval sculptures from the contemporary times, lush gardens and huge parks.
4) Visit Auroville-
Auroville, an experimental township built by the famous architect, Roger Anger, is often called ‘City of Dawn’. As we already know, the city is named after Sri Aurobindo and is one of the best places that you can go to, if you want to understand and delve deeper into Indian spirituality. Don’t miss out on Matri Mandir, the mid-point of Auroville that shines under sunlight and has a top dome made of fifty-six kilograms of gold.
5) Take a stroll at Goubert Avenue-
Goubert Avenue, sounds like a foreign street, doesn’t it? Goubert Avenue is also called The Promenade and is a French style street, lined with palm trees, straight out of a film. We suggest you visit the Promenade first thing in the morning as the sun leaves a glimmering sheen on the sea-water which makes for the front view of the promenade. Take a stroll on this stretch of land and you’ll feel rejuvenated and fresh for your day full of sightseeing.
6) Visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus-
Almost synonymous with the town of Pondicherry, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a place of worship that is frequented by devotees from all around the world and by the locals. The Basilica houses glass pictures that talk about the life of Jesus and some other glass pictures of twenty-eight saints that only add to the Victorian charm of the church. The mass timings at Basilica are 5:30 am, 12:30pm and 6pm from Mondays to Saturdays and 5:30am, 12:30pm and 5 pm on Sundays.
Where to eat in Pondicherry?
One of the main questions, when we’re travelling to a new place, is ‘what to eat and where?’. Here are the 4 of the best restaurants of Pondicherry that you must visit:
1) Crepe in Touch-
You can’t be in the French Colonial city of Pondicherry and miss out on world-class crepes! Go to Crepe in Touch for some of the best sweet and savoury crepes, especially the Far au Breton dessert. If you’re someone who likes savoury crepes more than the usual sweet tasting crepes, go in for their pesto savoury crepe, you’ll love it.
Serves: French Cuisine
Where? 29, Needarajapayer Street, MG Road, Puducherry.
2) Carte Blanche-
Get your fix of some delicious non-vegetarian food at Carte Blanche, one of the best non-vegetarian restaurants in all of Pondicherry. A very striking thing about this restaurant is the uber cool French style architecture and interiors of the restaurant. The sand lobster at Carte Blanche is supposed to their hotseller.
Serves: French Cuisine and Seafood
Where? Hotel De L’Orient, 17, Rue Romain Rolland, White Town, Puducherry.
Missing some masaledaar Punjabi food? Head to #Dilliwala6, a restaurant that spices up regular dishes and makes them taste like food you’ve never eaten before. With colourful but subtle decor, this restaurant is definitely a winner if you’re looking for some affordable but yummy North Indian food. The restaurant also serves vegan food, all you have to do is let them know.
Serves: North Indian Cuisine
Where? 6, Rue De La Marine, White Town, Puducherry.
4) Appachi Chettinad-
Appachi Chettinad is a typical South-Indian restaurant that has traditional vibes, food and a South-Indie ambiance. A combination of finger-licking good food and affordability is everything that Appachi Chettinad is made of. If you like seafood, give it a try at this restaurant and don’t forget to order the Chettinad dishes here.
Serves: South-Indian cuisine and seafood
Where? 9, Rangapillai Street, MG Road Area, MG Road, Puducherry.
Pondicherry is a fancy getaway, apt for romantic holidays, some down time with family or even for solo travelling. When are you booking your tickets to Pondicherry to soak in the sun at the beach?