First of all, a very Happy New Year to all my readers. Wish all of you an extraordinary year ahead!! So how might you want to kick-start the New Year? Travel or Party? Won’t it be an incredible deal that you find a place where you can party hard amidst the amazing nature? Considering Goa – “It’s excessively costly at this time of the year”!!What about Puducherry? Relatively more affordable; it’s a perfect place to kick start the New Year with some unlimited partying amid the unblemished shorelines.
Banyan Tree Auroville
Located around 156 kms from Chennai, Pondicherry (also known as Pondy/Puducherry) is one of the seven Union Territories of India. Also known as the French Capital of India, the place is famous for its pristine and untouched beaches, cheap liquor ?and the French architecture.
Sunrise at Paradise Beach
“Give time a break,” says the Puducherry Tourism Department slogan. The territory gives us time to ponder, to discover the parts of ourselves we have lost while hurrying in the day to day life. What would you not give to just enjoy a meal, sip a glass of cheap beer, practice yoga and meditation, sitting by the beach glaring the sunrise and sunset and probably rent a bike to explore the little known back roads of Puducherry?
How to reach Puducherry
The cheapest and convenient way to reach Puducherry is via railways. Puducherry is located around 310 kms from Bangalore and around 155 kms from Chennai. There is a railway station at Puducherry but train frequency is quite low (1 daily train to Chennai and one weekly train connecting Puducherry to Nagpur, Agra, Bhopal and New Delhi).
The better option is to take a train till Villupuram station (38 kms) which is an hour drive from Puducherry. Villupuram is well connected to major Indian cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata and Pune by railways. Still, the train frequency to Villupuram is quite less compared to Bangalore/Chennai. So you can opt for a train till Bangalore/ Chennai.
Many state road transport buses are available from Chennai and Bangalore to reach Puducherry. From Chennai, one can get a bus from CMBT in Koyambedu (100 INR) or from Guindy. The East Coast Road(ECR) from Chennai to Puducherry runs along the sea route and is very scenic.
Note: To enjoy the view of the sea, remember to take the left window seats while heading to Puducherry from Chennai.
Getting around Puducherry
The best way to explore Puducherry and its nearby areas is by renting out a cycle or a motorcycle. There are plenty of rental outlets on Mission street and MG road. The price range from 200-700 INR/day depending on the vehicle. An original ID proof and an advance amount (around INR 1000) is needed to be paid. Auto rickshaws are also an option but they are comparatively more expensive. Also, Pondicherry Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) runs daily bus service for tourist which covers the important places to see in a day. Charges for the same are around INR 300.
On route to Paradise Beach
My journey to Puducherry
My visit to Puducherry was a couple of years back while I was undergoing training in Infosys campus Mysore. It was a long weekend, so I alongside my friends decided to visit this place. We took the Kaveri Express from Mysore to reach Chennai early morning. From Chennai, various buses are available for Puducherry. The route from Chennai to Puducherry is very scenic as the road passes alongside the Bay of Bengal.
With friends at Puducherry
As we entered Puducherry, the first impression it gave was of a sleepy little Tamil town with very wide streets, houses with different architecture and a glimpse of the sea at a distance. If you love photography, Puducherry is the place to be as the French town has some beautiful churches, historical monuments, and colorful houses.
Enjoying at Paradise Beach
Despite being a little place, Puducherry has a ton to offer and an ideal way to explore the town is by strolling or cycle/bicycle riding. The town is well planned and hence its quite easy to move around. You can see all must visit places in a day however I am certain that won’t do justice to such astounding spots. Additionally, the town offers probably the most stunning sunrises in the nation from the immense breadth of Bay of Bengal.
Sunrise at Auro Beach
This is what we covered in 2 days starting from Paradise Beach and winding up at Matrimandir and covering almost all must see places in the Puducherry.
Must see places in Puducherry
It is unquestionably one amongst the most beautiful beaches in our country. Situated on a little island, the beach is far from the hustle bustle of the town. One can reach the beach both via road and ferry (check Gmaps for road route). The ferry is the most preferred way as the road route is quite bad in shape. A ticket in a ferry will cost you Rs 200 INR (both ways) which will take around 20 minutes to reach the beach. When you reach the island, you really acknowledge why it is called Paradise. There are many water sports like boating, parasailing, canoeing, kayaking etc. that you can enjoy here.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Situated just opposite to the station, it is a beautiful church with splendid stained glass windows. You will feel very close to the divine and the ambiance of the place will make you fell in love with it. This gigantic church is one of the most attractive spots is whole of Puducherry.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Situated in the heart of the city, a whole day can be spent just gazing into the water at Promenade Beach; such is the beauty of the place. It is also known as Rock beach or Pondicherry Beach. Stretching for around 1.2 kilometers, it looks quite similar to the Marine Drive in Mumbai. The Promenade beach walkway is the ideal place for a morning/evening walk. En-route, you can see different sights like the French Memorial, Gandhi Memorial statue and the lighthouse.
Arulmigu Manakula Vinayanagar Temple
Dedicated to the god Ganesa, it is a popular pilgrimage site in Puducherry. Despite the number of people in the temple offering their prayers, it was surprisingly calm and quiet.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
This place houses the final resting place of Sri Aurobindo. A quiet calm place where you are at peace with yourself amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. The Ashram has a library comprising all the works of Aurobindo written in different languages.
A beautiful beach, not too crowded, and only 3-4 kms from the main town. There is a long rock pavement from where one can enjoy the scene of people surfing and doing other water sports. The major attraction in this beach are the fishing boats which made up for a picturesque frame.
This is the epic spot in the whole of Auroville. Matrimandir does not belong to any specific religion or faction. The circularly formed structure in Auroville is a sight one can’t forget. Within is quiet and peaceful and one can spend a considerable measure of energy to unwind and contemplate. For detailed info visit the official site of Auroville.
Food and stay options in Puducherry
One of the budget options is to stay in guest houses maintained by the Aurobindo Ashram Trust. Bookings can be made from their main office. For more details check out the following websites – Auroville and Sri Aurbindo Ashram.
Another budget stay option is Muthu Guesthouse located in Auroville. Charges are INR 800 per night (accommodation for 4 people). Also, most of the stay options are located near to the French Part of the city – Promenade. So I would recommend just check out few hotels in the area once you reach there. You will surely find a good and budget stay option.
Houses at Puducherry
For food I am not going into details; just naming a few that I would highly recommend:
Surguru, Café Xtasi, Madame Shantes café, Bakers Street, Villa Shanti, Café Des Arts.
Best time visit Puducherry
October to February is the best time to visit Puducherry as the climate is cooler and perfect to explore the town. Summers are quite hot and hence visiting the town in summers should be avoided. If you want to experience lush green Puducherry, you should visit the town in monsoon season.
The memories of Puducherry still echoes in my heart, soothing my mind. It is surely a place that I would love to visit again and again. So what are you waiting for?
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Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my post on What’s in my Backpack.
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