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Pondicherry is also known as Pondy or Puducherry, and it is one of India's eight union territories. It is referred to as the French colony and is the most charming place in South India. Pondicherry or Puducherry is located on India's eastern coast, which retains its old beauty in a very delightful manner. This town in the east gives you the whole vibe of a French town right from the food to the architecture. You can easily spot old French people wearing Indian attires roaming around the streets and walking along Pondicherry beaches. These people are living in Pondicherry for ages dwelled in South Indian culture. You'll be amazed to know that many people speak fluent French, and there are French signboards around too.
We took a direct flight from Pune to Chennai and then took a Make My Trip Cab from Chennai. It costed us around Rs.1700 for one way drop from Chennai to Pondicherry or Puducherry. Since we were four people, so it just cost us Rs. 425 each person. There are three routes to reach Pondicherry from Chennai.
We went to the famous French colony in Pondicherry or Puducherry in October to celebrate my birthday. Fortunately, I was born on 2nd October (Gandhi Jayanti), a national holiday in India. I can quickly turn it into a long weekend and plan a trip. Since we were traveling from Pune Pondicherry, which is a bit far, we took 4 days instead of 3, but you can easily cover all the places in and around Pondicherry in 3 days. Since we had enough time, we also visited Pichavaram Mangrove Forest, the second largest mangrove forest globally.
Since white town gives you the real feeling of the beautiful French colony, Pondicherry, it is close to Promenade beach, and various wonderful cafes are open till late at night. We took our stay in a French studio/hotel named Le Capucin Heritage Guest House. It is located in the center of White-town at walking distance from Rock Beach. They only have few rooms, but all give you the vibe of old French culture and heritage, they also have an open rooftop café, but I didn't like it much. Overall, the place is right for the price and that too in Pondicherry or Puducherry's prime location. Just keep in mind that hotels in Pondicherry are comparatively expensive. So, be smart and make an online booking. If your plan is not fixed, I would suggest you go to booking.com.
Step into the magical white town of Pondicherry or Puducherry, and you'll realize the city is very well maintained with no wires hanging around, cleanliness, maintaining the infrastructure, art in the air makes this town looks fresh all the time. There are certain areas where you are not allowed to take your vehicles. A lovely way to avoid pollution and keep the beauty of the town intact.
The French colony Pondicherry was just looking at the blue sky with no human exertion layer. The white foam-like clouds were floating just parallel to the sea, so blue that you always desire to dive deeper and never return. Ha-ha, well, I might be sounding a bit creepy right now, but it was such a scintillating view.
As we reached Pondicherry in the afternoon, it was blazing hot even in October, but the wind was cold. October to March is the best time to visit Pondicherry. Pondicherry weather is warm, with an average temperature of 28.3 °C. In winter, it receives less rainfall than in summer.
There are a lot of Pondicherry Tourism places to visit and explore. Pondy or Puducherry looks beautiful with all those color-splashed French houses making it the best place for photographs. The whole white town Pondicherry is parallel to the beach, which makes the French colony look magical. Here is a list of the Places to see in Pondicherry:
After freshening up, we headed for Rock Beach around the early evening since it was within walking distance. We stopped by at Le Café for food and beverages. We then spent our entire evening relaxing on the black rocks at the seashore and enjoyed the view with water splashing on us through the rocks. Promenade Beach is nothing but the end of Rock Beach. If you keep walking along the shore, you will reach this place where there are no rocks and can enjoy the seawater. It is the must-visit place in Pondicherry or Puducherry, which is the only French colony in India. We hired a scooter on rent for the next 2 days. It is the cheaper and most convenient option to roam around the town.
Auroville is a peaceful village located a few kilometers away from the white town of Pondicherry. It is a spiritual town to make you realize the purpose of human unity and is an ideal place for spiritual and practice yoga. To get inside the Matrimandir, you need to have a prior booking before 3 days, which is not possible for travelers like us with little leaves and time, and it is closed on Sundays. But even the view of this place is beautiful and the entire path to reach this place is full of greenery and peace. Take an entrance pass from the visiting center, watch the video to get an insight of Matrimandir from inside. Then head for the Matrimandir View Point to view the beautiful gold-dome at 10 minutes walking distance from the visiting center. On the way back, we took a stop at the famous Auroville bakery. We had many delicious carrot cakes, and various other freshly baked desserts, sandwiches, and a few French dishes. They also have a beautiful seating area and a restaurant in the backyard where you can take your dessert and enjoy the meals.
Next, we headed back to white town, going through some of Pondicherry or Puducherry's beautiful landmarks. It was a fantastic heritage walk that began with our visit to the famous church there.
There are many beautiful churches in Pondicherry, but we went to the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as we were running out of time. It was architecturally outstanding. This church was constructed during the 1700s by French missionaries. The walls inside are beautifully decorated with glass panels depicting the life of Christ.
Followed by that, we roamed around the town on foot. Those white, yellow, pink, and various color-splashed houses, cafes, restaurants, décor shops, all these make it one of the most beautifully architected place in India. I couldn’t take my eyes and camera off from those magnificent courtyards, windows, doors, and crafting done on the walls of these beautiful buildings. Even if you don’t want to walk, you can take a bike on rent or simply ask a rickshaw man for the whole package.
We got ready the next morning, and without wasting any time, we had our breakfast at the hotel studio and left for the ferry ticket center for Paradise Beach. We parked our bikes at the center, around 8 to 10 km from the White town, and quickly bought tickets for the ferry. Don't forget to carry beach slippers, extra clothes, sunscreen, goggles, and a hat. Since it is an Island connected through ferries, there are not enough utilities and only one or two shacks. There is another way to reach Paradise beach, i.e., on the bike, but we preferred to enjoy the ferry ride in the beautiful blue backwaters in this East Coast Ocean. Trust me; the ride was so tranquil that the feeling was out of the World. I felt connected to nature.
Well, we did not go to Serenity beach for three reasons. First, we did not have enough time, second, we hired a scooter in Pondicherry, which could not be taken to Tamil Nadu due to some issues, and third, we heard that the beach was not clean with a huge crowd at that time. However, if you have time, you can visit the Serenity beach of Pondy or Puducherry once. Isn't it a wonderful experience to have the Sky above, Sand below, and Peace within you all at once?
Not many people will tell you about the Pichavaram Mangrove Forest. It is the second-largest Mangrove forest in India (after Sundarbans in West Bengal), located at a distance of 80 kilometers from Pondicherry. And if you are in Pondicherry, Pondy, or Puducherry, it has to be on your list of things to do in Pondicherry. But trust me, your trip is half incomplete if you don't visit this beautiful paradise of nature. It offers a fantastic ride through the backwaters. Mangroves are trees and shrubs that grow in saline coastal areas. The whole forest is inside water, the roots of the trees are colliding, and you can see them clearly as you pass through them in water.
We hired a taxi from a local guy by asking our hotel manager, it costed us Rs.2500 for the entire taxi for both ways. The best time would be to go around 8 am, which is when the Mangrove forest opens. Don't delay since it starts getting hot as the day passes. There are two ways to explore the Mangrove forest – Motorboat or Peddle/rowing boat. Since we wanted to explore the entire forest slowly enjoying every moment, we preferred the Peddle boat. You might also get lucky like us to go into the more dense part of the forest if the boatman agrees. Since the motorboat is large, it is not possible to go inside the dense forest area.
Total Expenses Incurred each person, including a flight between Pune and Chennai Rs 17000 for two nights and that too because it was a long weekend. You can easily make your trip for Rs 12000 to Rs 13000. If you are lucky enough and living in Chennai, Hyderabad, or Bangalore, you can go for a weekend trip, and it will mostly cost you half of the price we paid. Bangalore to Pondicherry distance is 310 kilometers, whereas Hyderabad to Pondicherry distance is 780 kilometers.
All I want to say is the Pondy or Puducherry is well known as a French colony Pondicherry is a place for every kind of travelers for party animals, beach lovers, heritage lovers, French foodies, or for those who are the lazy type and need a place to chill on the weekend. So yes, Pondicherry must be on your list if you haven't been there so far.