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A Weekend Getaway: Pondicherry

INDIA | Tuesday, 2 July 2013 | Views [588]

Hello Pondy!

Pondicherry Railway Station

Looking for a quick weekend away? Pondicherry is the answer. The small town offers a lot for a weekend. Pack your bags and catch the next train or bus to Pondicherry because this is a place that guarantees lots of opportunities for photographers, adventurers, travelers, foodies and most commonly, a combination of all.

The city is highly influenced by its past colonization by the French in the 1700s. The people of the city can communicate in Tamil, English and some in French too. Easy for those of you who are not familiar with Tamil. Furthermore, most of the architecture is European, with bright colours such as yellow; high ceilings and big windows.

Being a small city (town?), it has many advantages; people know the area pretty well to direct you, communication is easy, most touristy places are near each other, people are friendly and the environment is relatively clean. Adding on, you don't even need local transport if you're in for a good walk. Think it's worth it after eating all the delicious French, Italian and of course, South Indian food!

Let's establish, before you read further, that a weekend is more than enough to see Pondicherry. It's not that there isn't much to see. It's just that the place is rather small for you to spend a lot of time. Unless, of course, you like spiritual life and beaches. Then I'd say take 5 to 6 days to see the place and find your inner self.

Things to see, do and eat!

1. Auroville

Auroville "Welcome"
Auroville "Golden Globe"

Auroville is a small town about 8km from Pondicherry. The easiest way to get there is hiring a cab. What's there to do? They have a small visitors' information center for those of you who are interested in the history of this beautiful structure. Furthermore, all you architects, this is a must see for you! The structure started construction in the 80s and was completed around 2008. So go and find out what the deal is with the time taken to construct this massive structure.

If you want to go inside the "Golden Globe", you need to make an booking in advance (if this is your first time). I suggest you do it online as the chances of you getting an booking on the spot are really really low.

2. Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach

The peace of going to a beach, sitting and observing the waves as you drift away in your own mind. Sigh. This is the place to be if you want peace and quiet or just pure fun with waves! Paradise Beach is an island. To get to this island, you've to go on a 30 minute boat ride. Once you reach the island, chill with a good book or a drink or swim or just stare at the waves...as anything is legit on an island with a beautiful beach!

3. Aurobindo Ashram

Looking to discover yourself? Want to know more about the history of Pondicherry? Head to the Aurobindo Ashram - the most peaceful place to be when meditating. The place is filled with people sitting, cross legged, as they meditate for inner peace, discovering themselves or just for some relaxation. The place is worth exploring to understand the values and teachings of Sri Aurobindo and Mother.

Local Beach

4. The Local Beach

The beach in Pondicherry has no sand. It has been covered with rocks. But it is still worth a visit as Le Cafe is situated here. Furthermore, climbing down the rocks for some pictures is totally worth the view!

5. The Sacred Church of Jesus

Sacred Church of Jesus

Visit the Church to reconnect with God. Aside from this, the European combined with Indian architecture is admirable.

6. Eat outs!

There are quite a few options for people to eat. Being a vegetarian, I probably cannot help you non veg eaters. However, I'll give it a shot! Firstly, vegetarians, you have to eat at Surguru Hotel. They have the best veg food you can think of...from dosas to idlys to vadas to naans to paneer...sigh. They also have accommodation services.

Le Cafe's Cold Coffee

Le Cafe serves anything really...they have cold coffee, french fries and for those of you in search of a little bit of France, they have croissants! 

Other than that, I cannot give more information in the food aspect of things. But you are sure to find signs directing you to various places to eat. The most common cuisines you will find are French, Italian and Indian...all authentic.

Plan your trip!

So if you're looking to travel to Pondicherry, there are many ways to get here. The bus, train or if you're the daring types, you could drive down on your own! Many hotels are available to accommodate you according to your comforts. The hotels are more than willing to organise a taxi for you to get around the city. Otherwise, you could always walk around or take an auto rickshaw.

It's the perfect place for a relaxing weekend away from a metropolitan city. Or just a break from the monotony of a fast paced life.

All Photographs taken by Author
© Anupama Subramaniyam

Tags: auroville, beach, french, india, paradise beach, photography, pondicherry, sea, travel

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