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Tryst in the train

La simplicité dans pondicherry

INDIA | Wednesday, 2 January 2013 | Views [703]


This was my third trip to Pondicherry and in all entirety, I can list each one to be more unique than the other. I was awestruck by the clique French architecture in my first visit and second time around, I fell in love with the virgin sands of Paradise beach. In my recent visit, the mysticism and simplicity of Auroville captivated me as the gentle winter showers of Pondicherry added to agility of the experience.

 Pondicherry can serve its visitors a range of experiences that is subjective to one's preference and taste. If you are on a look out for the wild and naturale, picking those crude shacks around Auro beach does the magic. This builds a perfect setting for a laid back vacation amidst a quiet shore with the advantage of walking down to the beach any time of the day, in just a few minutes! But the best part will be retiring under a thatched shack roof and listening to the queer noises of waves at night.

Auro beach is located 4-5 kms away from main town Pondicherry which conjures best escapade from the hustle bustle of the city. On reaching Pondicherry, friend and I headed to Auro beach in search of a humbled abode only to find the rates for renting these basic shacks quite unreasonable. Being the peak season, we chose to shell out 1100 INR/ per night rather than spend double this amount for hotel rooms in the main town. We rented a shack opposite to Auro beach in a guest house that had a hilariously eccentric name 'Cozy Kool' .


To think of it, it wasnt so bad since I, for the first time spend a night in a creaky, dingy hut surrounded by insects and rodents that seemed awaiting a chance to pop up anytime! It was priceless, the feeling of being in such close proximity to nature in all its veracity.

While breakfast was served free in this guest house, it was pretty unkempt and a little creepy at night so we shifted to another guest house right next to Auro beach ('Beach guest house'). This was a welcome relief since we didnt have to worry about creepy crawly objects and room seemed maintained. Plus, it costed us only 400 INR per night which saved us some generous bucks!

We'd saved enough to now head towards the town for a refreshing French coiffer. One of the favorites of all first-timers at Pondicherry will defiantly be 'La Cafe' restaurant perched on the breezy rocky beach. While burgers may not live up, croissants and lazanias will be tantalizing. I also remember raising my thumb to a plate of crunchy garlic prawn fries.


An authentic French restaurant we went to happened to be 'Baker Street' at Bussy Street where not only the food but the caterers ease of French exquisiteness took us by surprise. The chicken liver salad and beef burgers were yumm! For those lazy sips of coffee and bakeries, 'Bon Bakes' deserves praise and for occasional shift of taste buds, a reasonable Chinese/ Vietnamese eating place is 'Paris Restaurant'.


Finally, picking up random cotton wear from road side stalls brought joy unparalleled, majorly because it fit a small budget offor about 150-200 INR easily. But my all time favourite to pick up souvenirs from Pondicherry is undoubtedly 'Auro Boutique'. Surplus with natural goodies and hand made soaps. A bit priced, but all so worth it!


This trip's highlight was a day at Paradise beach. After the ferry ride till the island beach, basking in the white  sand, playing throw ball, and just lazing around was amazing. Best, a can of beer and a plate of fried prawns added a perfect holiday treat in this island beach.

Auroville's main attraction is the 'Matri Mandir' and getting a pass to enter the premises is all but luck and days of pre booking! Make sure you dont miss the opportunity like we did and first thing to do when you reach Pondicherry is book your entry 2-3 days in advance. Spiritual enigma reverberates the township of Auroville as you can find hordes of Westerners stroll around in their bicycles. The village is crude and finding accommodation tough. But, living at Auroville would be once in a life time experience for sure!

For the last two days of our trip, we were restricted to our hotel rooms because of the continued rains. And with the exception of a few irksome encounters with the auto-drivers, the Pondicherry trip drenches in memories colonial French sophistication and the otherwise simplistic Pondicherry life. And since travel is half its fun merely due to companions, I know, my Pondicherry trips have etched delightful memories in my heart!


  • Carry an umbrella. Will be handy for unanticipated rains as well as minimizing tan.
  • Pre-book rooms, esp. during tourist season just as back up.
  • Hire two-wheelers that comes for a rent amount of Rs.150-200 per day.
  • Bargain with the auto-drivers as much as possible, else, you'd land up burning a hole in your pocket.
  • Pre-book entry for Matri mandir.
  • Carry mosquito repellent.




Tags: architecture, beaches, french restaurants, huts, india, pondicherry, pudcherry, rain, sand, shacks

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