I promised myself that I’d not give in the urge to write a blog post about the holiday. But seeing people ranting over the internet about Pondicherry not being a nice place, and listening to the occasional complain about having nothing to do at Pondicherry, I thought venting out my feels would give a better idea to many. Or so I hope.
Guys, go to Pondicherry once in your life. But don’t go expecting Goa.
3 days at Pondicherry and the place seems to have grown on me. A quaint, tiny beach town that doesn’t offer you too much in terms of an adrenaline filled holiday was the perfect break I was looking for the weekend. We ate, walked, ate a little more, explored the history the town had to offer, and of course, ate some more.
Don’t go looking for nightlife and beaches you can party at. Public transport will be a pain, but it’s not difficult to figure things out if you can talk to a bunch of people. Language is a barrier, but talk, get around. It isn’t impossible.
I’m going to help you with an itinerary so that you understand the scope of what’s to be done. It’s not much, but it’s a lot if you go with an open mind :)
Day 1 :
9:30am – Chennai Airport to Pondicherry
Language was a problem. What we could figure was that going to the bus stand in Chennai from the airport would be a waste of time (for someone who doesn’t have much time) since the bus station was further inside the city and the bus would be crossing the airport on it’s way to Pondicherry. Which means you’ve wasted around 3 hours traveling in Chennai itself. We had the option of catching the bus from the Highway too, but there is a high possibility of the seats being occupied. Keeping all this in mind we opted for a cab instead. The going rates are around Rs. 3500-4000. We bargained a little bit, made some local contacts and managed to get a deal at Rs.2800 (all inclusive)
The journey to Pondicherry took us 4 hours, keeping in account a pit stop of 40 minutes for some idli-wadas-dosa and another 15 minutes for some coconut water.
1:30pm – Check into French Quarter, Pondicherry
French Quarter is where I’d suggest you look for accommodation. It’s beautiful, serene, green, clean, quiet, and you can hire a cycle (70 bucks a day) or a bike (250 bucks a day) and roam around the neighbourhood. Plus most of the places you want to visit are situated right at the French Quarter.
4:00pm – Out and About!
We got out for a quick meal, walked a little at the Promenade, rode down to Serenity Beach & enjoyed a quiet 20minutes on the rocks, got back to French Quarter for dinner and wrapped up by 11:00pm.
Yes, places do open that early. Most of the places for breakfast were shut for renovation, but I don’t think I regret that one bit. Stay tuned to the food diaries that will follow this post, there’s a lot that you NEED to know.
10:15am – Out and About!
We checked out the museum and rode around the by-lanes, figuring out directions, routes and the geography of the place. The French colony is neatly arranged with everything aligned at right angles. We couldn’t get the hang of it till the end, but that’s the fun of it :)
11:15am – Off to Auroville!
A bike ride to Auroville took us 25 minutes. Before we started the tour, we thought of spending some time at the local cafe at the start (Dinesh Cafe) A veg biryani (70 bucks) is enough for a complete meal. We opted for watermelon juice (50 bucks a glass) while we sat under the trees on that hot summer afternoon, observing garden lizards in their natural habitat, discussing snakes and monitor lizards and insects that lived in the jungles of Auroville.
Auroville failed to fascinate me as we drove around the village on our bikes. The concept of getting lost in the lanes that lead to the tiny settlements in this sustainable village did little to excite me. The Visitor’s Center was a sigh of relief, but I could not make myself too comfortable here either.
Tip – try the Aparajita juice. It’s a juice made out of a flower, and is pretty popular in Auroville.
5:30pm – Off to Pondicherry
After spending 6 hours at Auroville, I was glad to get out. Mostly because not doing anything is not my style. We spent an hour at Svaram too, a place where musical instruments you probably wouldn’t have heard of in your life are made. But the vibe just didn’t work for me. We made a pit-stop for some coffee and cake, and headed back to home sweet home in Pondicherry.
9:30pm – Dinner
A man plays a voilin while we enjoy a rainy night sitting at our table by the French window in Le Dupleix- more of this in the next post. This was LOVE.
8:45am – Breakfast
10:00am – Out and About
We decided to visit the bus stand in Pondicherry since we were scheuduled to leave that evening. One visit had us conufsed and apprehensive. *Language will be a problem again*
After confirming from multiple sources we reached the conclusion that taking a bus back at 4:15pm would make us reach Gyundi in Chennai at 8:15pm, just in time for our flight.
We spent the day visiting churches and drinking, and finished it off with a very memorable lunch.
4:15pm – Depart for Chennai
We weren’t too sure about the AC bus timings, and people weren’t helpful either. We decided to hop on to a non-ac Puducherry Transport bus, and it really wasn’t that bad :)
The rickshaw fare from Gyundi to the airport is around 350 odd bucks, we managed to walk a little and get someone who agreed to drop us off for only 100 bucks :)
8:30pm – Chennai Airport
And we made it on time! And ended up enjoying a fabulous Tamil Nadu Thali (option 2 was a beer at Irish House, but I think we had had enough for the day ;) )
12:00am – Pune
Must take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped us with the restaurant recos, the food was great :)The trip wasn’t planned, we just played it by the ear. And I think the experience of doing so was what made the trip so memorable.
Watch out for the next post. Some serious drooling is guaranteed.