We were thinking of an ideal day trip destination from Chennai to spend the weekend and suddenly Pondy hit our mind.
We packed our backpacks Friday evening and went on towards Pondicherry. Pondicherry aka Puducherry is nearly 3 hours from Chennai.
There are Govt as well as private buses from Chennai to Pondicherry almost every hour. We booked a Govt Ac Bus from Koyambedu but the problem is that there was almost 2-3 hours delay and we reached Pondicherry very late in the night. The bus fare is very affordable. One can also book private cabs/taxi if not on the budget. We had booked a basic hotel room near Auroville. Wind Chimes is the name of the hotel we booked.
Pondicherry was once the French capital of India. It is one of our Union Territories today. The town is famous for urban architecture, depicting French colonial style, its history, and diversity. You can witness how the French essence has blended with Tamil Culture in Pondicherry.
The colorful lanes and lively marketplaces are a highlight of this city.
After sleeping in the hotel room at night, we woke up early and headed to Auroville beach to witness the sunrise. Auroville beach was not that clean or maintained properly. We took the complimentary breakfast given by the hotel and headed to Pondicherry town.
We booked an ola cab and proceeded to Vinayaga temple first followed by other places at a walkable distance. Here are the tourist attractions we visited in Pondicherry:
Arulmigu Manakula Vinayaga Temple – it is a popular pilgrimage temple for Hindus dedicated to elephant god Ganesa, known for its vibrant colors and carved stone walls.
Pondicherry Beach / Promenade Beach – Pondicherry, the tiny coastal city oasts many untouched beaches. Promenade Beach is a more popular one. Wake up early in the morning or stay up all night, not to give sunrise/sunset a miss. The beaches here showcase a vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal. There are other beaches like Paradise Beach, Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach. But I find Promenade Beach is cleaner compared to others. It is also known as Rock Beach.
French War Memorial – It is a war memorial dedicated to brave soldiers of French India who died during the First World War.
Pondicherry Museum – It is an art and history museum known for Chola bronze sculptures.
Mahatma Gandhi Statue – This is a famous landmark in Pondicherry surrounded by eight granite pillars. This is a tribute to our father of the nation. It is the third biggest statue dedicated to Gandhi and some sources reveal that a tunnel below this statue leads to Gingee Fort.
Raj Niwas – This is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry. It was once the residence of the French Governor Dupleix.
Other attractions include various churches, Botanical Garden, old lighthouse, osudu lake, Arikamedu, Bharathi Park, Shri Aurobindo Ashram and the famous golden globe at Auroville Matri Mandir. We missed visiting these places this time but will surely do next time.
We loved strolling through the streets of Pondicherry. There were many food stalls, liquor shops and souvenir shops. We dined at Sicily’s near Promenade and the food tasted really awesome.
We boarded our bus back to Chennai next day evening and reached Chennai Saturday Night.