Rows of colonial houses mostly painted in white or yellow with typical wooden doors and windows, vines of Bougainvillea climbing the walls, clean streets, the cold moist wind from the sea gushing to your face, rays of rising sun making the water in the sea glisten. This is how I remember Pondicherry.
Needless to say, Pondicherry is a unique place, different from rest of the country. What makes this place so unique is the existence of different cultures and believes in complete harmony. In my experience, Pondy is divided into 3 different parts. A part of the city will take you back in time with its impeccable French colonial settlement another part represents typical Indian town and yet another part which is all about spirituality.
Pondicherry is one of the best weekend getaways from Bangalore (also other cities like Chennai). It’s a perfect place if you are looking for relaxation, good food, great view of the sea and some spiritual break.
Although this place has many attractions to offer, but in this blog, we will focus more on experiencing the old-world charm of Pondicherry,
How to reach Pondicherry
Situated at a distance of 356 km from Bangalore and 165 km from Chennai. The city is well connected by road. There are frequent buses from Bangalore. The nearest railway station from Pondicherry is Villupuram, which is 35 kms away from the town. Nearest airport with good connectivity is Chennai.
Where to stay –Pondicherry offers a good selection when it comes to stay options. Hotels in Pondicherryinclude basic homestays to high-end premium properties and resort, not to forget the colonial buildings which are converted into hotels. However, if you want to soak yourself into the old-world charm of Pondicherry, then look no further and select one of the hotels in the white town near promenade beach. During one of our visits we stayed in the 18thCentury mansion hotel “Hotel De L’Orient”. A quaint building which is renovated to suit modern requirements. It was surely a great experience.
Where to Eat – The white town itself has many eateries including the ones that offer authentic European Cuisines.
What to See – Although Pondicherry offers a variety of attractions to cater to all kinds of tourists. But if you are travelling just for the weekend and really like to experience and explore the French settlement. then you should not miss below.
Walking tour of the French Colony
The quaint houses in the white colony are absolutely stunning and a total feast to the eyes. These colonial buildings with beautiful doors offer a great photo opportunity to. Most of the houses are now converted into boutique hotels, restaurants and boutique stores. Take time out early morning for a walking tour or bicycle tour. Also go on restaurant hopping spree during the evening.
Promenade, MG Road
Every time we visit Pondicherry, we make sure not to miss the Sunrise at the Promenade. Mighty ocean against the backdrop of the pink sky and rocky beach creates the magical and soothing effect. Evenings at Promenade are equally cheerful with everyone gathered around the beach and enjoying themselves.
Aurubindo Ashram is what makes Pondicherry popular across the globe, amongst those looking for Spiritual enlightenment. During the early half of 20th century, Sri Aurobindo stayed at the Aashram along with his disciples and Mirra Alfassa, the mother of the ashram. The Ashram has founded the idea of peaceful co-existence, which is practiced in the Auroville Township. It’s always a good idea to visit the Ashram early morning, even if you are not spiritually inclined. Ashram can be visited from 8 in the morning to 12 noons, or from 2 in the afternoon to 6 in the evening.
Enjoy the shopping in white town & Around
You can explore the street shops for some really nice stuff. Don’t forget to checkout factory outlet of Hidesign (Since hidesign has their factory in Pondicherry) you can get some nice bags at good prices. The boutique shops in white town offer some unique jewelries, scarfs and dresses.
Pondicherry is a lot more than your average holiday destination. And visiting Pondicherry every time is an equally blissful experience for us.
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