When I hear this name, images spring into my head.. of frothy beaches, serene Auroville, the streets of white town and so much more.
One of the things I really love about Pondicherry or ”Pondi” as it’s frequently referred to, is that it has such a unique and wonderful mix of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern.
On one hand we have an old town, much like any other typical Indian town, with small shops, tiny roads, local people and culture. On the other hand, we have French food, the fancy Auroville and beautifully painted streets in vivid colors of yellow, green, orange and red.
For people in the South of India who cannot go to Goa or do not want to, Pondi becomes an automatic alternative. But, honestly, I beg to differ. Pondi is absolutely nothing like Goa.
Goa is a place to go crazy, party every night and it screams money and everything posh. Its a place where you travel to with a big group of people and make memories that you will not be able to remember.
But Pondi? Not so much. You can still go crazy in Pondi, but a different kind. Its a place where you can travel alone, explore by foot and introspect. Its for sitting in a quiet beach by yourself, breathing in the peace and quiet, for going to interesting cafes, getting to talk to their owners as you eat some pancakes and sip on some iced tea.
Three days just isn’t enough for such a beautiful place but I did manage to visit quite a lot of places:
1) Auroville– People say you should go there to see that big, beautiful golden dome but I say you should go there to check out those gorgeous French cafes and attractive stores. Spend time looking around and marvel at its variety.
2) Aurobindo Ashram– Sit down, meditate, connect with yourself. Eat some organic food. Be at peace.
3) Rock Beach– I know, for water babies, there is no point being near a beach if you cannot touch it. But Rock Beach is beautiful. Feel the wind in your hair, the sand under your feet and feel amazed by the beauty of this creation.
4) Nehru Street– This is like every other Indian market. Loud sounds, people, more sounds, more people. Though it really is the place for shopaholics, whether one is looking for high profile brands or thrift shopping.
5) White Town– It’s the heart of Pondicherry. You will find drooping trees, colorful walls, quaint little cafes and some Pondi charm.
6) Paradise Beach– For all you Beach Lovers, this one is a must visit. To get to this beach, you need to board a ferry. How cool is that? Get to the island, drink some tender coconut water, walk around or just jump into the cool, friendly waves of Paradise Beach. It’s Paradise indeed!
Since I am also a hard core foodie and a food blogger, I just had to try out the various restaurants and cafes and the food they have to offer.Out of all that I visited, these are the ones I do suggest: Pasta Street, Cafe Des Arts, Indian Coffee Express. While Pasta Street serves amazing Italian, the other two have some authentic waffles, crepes and pancakes. If you are ever in Pondi, do give these a try.
According to me, these are the top reasons why one must visit Pondi:
1) If you are a beach person, Pondi is the place for you. Just visit an isolated beach and let the waves kiss your feet or just admire the sunset as you feel the bliss.
2) If some peace is what you are looking for, Pondi’s Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville will perfectly suit your needs. Re-connect with yourself, find you inner peace.
3) Some French connections. French culture, French history, French food.. Pondi is the place.
4) Pondi will surely satisfy the needs of the foodie in you. The variety is amazing. So, whether its traditional South Indian meals you prefer with a banana leaf or its some European cuisine that get your taste buds drooling, you will not be disappointed.
5) To just chill out. Go there, roam around, do nothing. Experience a few days of chill. Yes, just chill.
- Ditch those hotels. Opt for a beach side resort or go for a beautiful Pondicherry house on Air BnB.
- Visit during September-January when the weather is pleasant and the sun isn’t beating you down.
- Rent a two wheeler and roam the streets.
- Don’t stick to traditional South Indian food, experiment with the European cuisine as well.
Life is fast paced. It flies by so quickly, it leaves you gasping for air. So, slow down. Take some time off, reconnect with yourself and your peeps. Visit Pondi.