Pondicherry: it is not merely a tourist destination; it is a lot more; it is an escape. A place where you can get away from all the tribulations that fill your life. A place where you forget your past, stop worrying about the future and become so immersed in the now, that for once you free yourself from the existential crisis and in true sense, unwind yourself.
The reason why travelers are so smitten by this place is that Pondicherry offers you a chance to oscillate between extremes. You can spend the day simply sitting on a beach, looking at the serene blue waters, listening to the murmur of waves and sipping a coconut and a few hours later, you would find yourself partying like an animal in a night club, dazed by the disco lights, listening to loud EDM and chugging down a beer.
There are 4 main beaches that adorn Pondicherry: Promenade (Rocky) beach, Paradise beach, Auroville beach and Serenity beach. All these beaches are pristine and as exotic as any other international beach destination. The best thing about these beaches is that they always have the just right amount of crowd: enough to make the beaches look lively, but not making them cramped. You can always find a private little spot for yourself and no one will disturb you or your solitude. Another thing that you would not want to miss is the magical sunrise at the beach: the morning sea breeze, cold sand, the orange sun, the red sky and the blue waters are worth waking up early in the morning or better yet, staying up the whole night.
Rocky Beach, Pondicherry
Sunrise at Serenity Beach, Pondicherry
Rightly called the “French Riviera of the East”, Pondicherry offers you a plethora of colonial French buildings and monuments. There is a two kilometer French Heritage Walk (organized by INTAC and Puducherry Tourism Department) that gives you a glimpse of the glorious old French era: you can lounge around in the France styled street side cafes and French residential villas or visit some of the most important French monuments like Place de la Republique, French War Memorial, Old Light House, the statue of Joan of Arc and Dupleix, The Governor’s Residence, French Consulate, and heritage hotels like Le Grand Hotel de Europe.
The French settlements have large boulevards and flamboyant houses adorned with bougainvillea.
A French residence
There are ample transport and accommodation facilities available in Pondicherry. Bike rentals are open all the time and you can rent cycles too for a change. As for accommodation, a wide range of options are available: from cheap lodges to luxury hotels. You can bask in the sun at a shack by the sea shore or laze away on a hammock in Auroville.
The best part about Pondicherry is FOOD. In this aspect too, Pondicherry offers a ravishingly wide range of choices. You can have a French breakfast of tartines and crepes at Café Des Arts, an Arabic lunch at Zaffron, consisting of hummus and grilled chicken and an Italian dinner at the oh-so-mandatory Café Xtacy where you can gorge over a 2 feet large pizza. Café Ole, The Pasta Bar and the exquisite sea-food cuisines are also a must in any food lover’s checklist. Pondicherry also does not fail to satisfy one’s love for desserts. You can indulge yourself in the sinful delicacies of chocolate at Zuka or have an ice cream at Richy Rich or Ibaco. If you are up for a late night coffee, there can be no place more perfect than the Le Pondy café which is open 24 hours and is right beside the sea. In fact, in your trip to Pondicherry, you must keep an entire day only for a food spree. Not only for food, is Pondicherry a heaven for drinks and beverages also. You can have everything from wine to whisky and that too tax free.
A Pizza that measures 2 feet in diameter: Cafe Xtacy, Pondicherry
Cafe Des Arts; A perfect French styled cafe in Pondicherry
Another good thing about Pondicherry is that the entire trip will not take more than 3 days. It gives you a traveler’s satisfaction of experiencing a place completely; leaving nothing amiss.
Thus, maybe some people will think of Pondicherry as nothing but a “mini-Goa”, but personally, of all the places I have visited, Pondicherry is the closest to my heart. All the other places have only memories attached to them, but Pondi has something more; Pondi has emotions attached to it.
-Chronicles of The Blue Tent