A wall painting that tells everything about Pondicherry.
Picturesque Pondicherry- A Perfect destination for a Year End Trip !
By ABHISHEK SAHAY
“One of the best place to rejuvenate, relax and satisfy your taste buds with variety of cuisines without getting a dent in the pocket.”
Everything looks so beautiful in Pondicherry, you got to experience the place. I must say it’s a heaven for the people who love photography. You can find unlimited angles to satisfy the love for it. The roadside lamps, colorful houses, sandy beaches and greenery of Palm trees all around adds to it’s phenomenal beauty. Whether we speak about its beauty, cleanliness or food, I must say, it’s 100/100.
Before I start with the journey a brief information about us. We were two couples from Bangalore. We all 4 work in an IT company. We are not travel freak but sometimes we do like to take a break from daily routine work. We all were little skeptical about the place as many people mentioned many negatives about it. It’s not clean, water is dirty, too hot and humid climate. But the reality is that it is all rubbish, don’t hear and bother them.
Now let’s start the journey. On 24th night 9.30 PM we boarded the train from Bangalore. It’s an overnight journey from Bangalore. And next morning we reached Pondicherry. For Pondicherry we have all transport mediums – flight, train or bus. When we reached it was cool and drizzling. It was pleasant and lovely morning. To let you know, the best time to visit Pondicherry is winter season.
As I stepped out of the railway station, the very first thought that came in my mind was – what an absurd information was given to us. Please do no bother such negatives in your mind.
Anyways, our booking was in an hotel called Hip Hop Hotel, funny name isn’t it? An average budgeted hotel. During year end time, normally the price is little high, so either book well in advance, at least 2-3 months in advance or else – Hip Hop Hotel 🙂
I personally hate running pillar to post for visiting beautiful locations. I like calm and peaceful trips. My plan was of for 4 days so we had ample time to visit all of the listed places.
So what we did first day? We just chilled out. Nothing else. This hotel has a nice roof top restaurant. Food is favorably good here. First few hours we forgot about everything and spent quality time amongst ourselves. Due to journey we were little tired so we took some rest until evening, we got up ready and stepped out at around 9 PM.
Now this is an important information I am giving here to you. It was 25th December, so we all wanted to visit church. The nearby church was “Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Cathedral”. But to our surprise it was closed. Not this church alone, most of the restaurants and shops were either closed or were in verge of closing. We expected Pondicherry to be full of lights, music and people. I guess it was around 9 PM. It actually took us couple of days to understand that the place normally gets shut down by 10-10.30 PM only. Even the best of the restaurants closes by 10 PM. So keep this in mind while making night out plans. First two days we actually struggled to get the dinner. But finally thankful to our Hip Hop place that served us fairly nice dinner.
If you are visiting Pondicherry make sure you are aware of these two points while visiting any restaurants, even the finest one.
First, they are open for a limited time. Normally all closes by 10 PM. Between 3 PM and 7 PM also most of them are closed.
Secondly, keep at least half an hour to quarter to an hour as waiting time to get your food served.
We were too surprised to face the above two challenges 🙂
But whatever we had and wherever we had, the food was prepared nicely and tasted good.
Second day we didn’t want to take any risk and we hired a scooty for 1000 Rs for 3 days, little expensive due to Christmas and New Year. My suggestion would be to hire as in when you reach Pondicherry. We realized If we had scooty on the 1st day itself then we might not have faced issues in getting dinner in any good restaurant.
We started with Promenade beach area, it’s clean, beautiful and serene. We parked the vehicle in front of Promenade hotel, one of the finest hotels for staying and satisfying taste buds. We went there on 3rd day for dinner. This beach is not for getting into the water. But you can still sit beside on the rocks and enjoy the splashing water and cool breeze. We all did good photography session with my wife and friends. There is a famous Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru statue here. You can get some nice clicks here. We had many 🙂
Gradually we felt little hungry and we all wanted to taste some delicious French delicacies as we heard a lot about it. Believe me, even if you visit any average rated restaurant or cafe, the food is mind boggling. We visited this restaurant called – “LES-SAVEURS”. You will get authentic French food here. It was awesome.
After satiating our stomachs we went to Aurobindo Ashram and Museum as they were near by and in white town itself. So, it’s worth to check out them once.
It was almost evening and darkness was stepping in, allowing the beautiful street lamps to glow. The vibrant yellow walls in these lamps gives feast to the eyes. My suggestion is, during evening hours, just take out some time to stroll on the roads of white town. It gives true eminence of European culture and architecture.
Then we parked our vehicle in one of the roads allocated for parking and did little walk to reach one of the finest and beautiful church – “Our Lady Of Angels”. Words would be less to explain its beauty and the way it was decorated. The glorious European architectural influence inside the churches are worth to visit.
The roads were beautifully lighted. We loved the area so much that we spent next few hours there only. The houses, the lamps and the greenery on the road sides are perfect locations for any photographer to get perfect shots.
The statue of Mahatma Gandhi & Nehru was lighted with multi colored bulbs and lights. The view was immaculate.
Nearby to Mahatma Gandhi statue and Pandit Nehru statue, there is shopping complex called “Craft Mela”. It’s a small complex but it has many beautiful and worthy items to shop. We just scanned this place and left for something more interesting 🙂
Now, it was time to enjoy some night life in Pondicherry. We went to Asian House. It was not that great as we had read and heard about. To be precise, there is not much night life in Pondicherry, so don’t build such level of expectations. We came back to the hotel and dozed off.
Next morning, the 3rd day of our trip, we all wanted to get into the saline water which we couldn’t do in Promenade or Rocky beach. It’s not allowed there. Paradise beach, Auroville beach and Serenity beach are the beaches where people are free to get into and enjoy being tanned :-). We decided to head towards Paradise beach.
Before heading to Paradise beach, which is nearly 10 KMs from white town, we went to “Le-Chateau”, another fine dining. It serves fusions. We had Pasta and it was mouth quenching!
It took us 30 minutes to reach Paradise beach. It is a nice, beautiful and clean beach with ample sea food options. We didn’t think of anything and straight away went into the water. This was a mesmerizing experience to us. All tiredness just blew away. 🙂
It was also worth trying some sea food items here. My wife loves sea food to a crazy extent. She had a plateful of prawns and crabs 🙂 I loved seeing her breaking the hands and legs of fried crabs 🙂
We returned from the beach and got ourselves ready for the dinner. Again, most of the good restaurants were either lined up with waiting people or were about to close. Many of them told us they don’t serve after 10 PM. Somehow we got into Promenade – Bay of Buddha. They got ready to serve us. “Bay of Buddha” restaurant is located at its open roof top. Believe me, it has the finest collection of Thai and French delicacies. We had our best dinner there. The view is so immaculate from here & the cool offshore winds was adding to its serenity.
After doing dinner we all went for a stroll. Long beach sides for walking and places to sit are both available. Best part of the road is that it is blocked from either end and doesn’t allow any vehicle to cross after 6.30 PM. We spent couple of hours there. During night hours this place feels more peaceful.
4th day was our final day in Pondicherry. We all were having a mixed feeling of joy and sadness. We wanted to stay more. That’s the beauty of this place, you will get emotionally attached. There were few pending places we wanted to visit on the last day. Since our train was at night, we checked out of the hotel but kept the baggage in the hotel itself and then went out on hired scooty. As it was little sunny, we decided to spend time in Bharathi Park.
There is a famous bazaar called Sunday bazaar, it only opens on Sunday. We couldn’t visit that as we had to leave a day before. I feel you should give a try.
For our shopping we went to Craft Mela near Pandit Nehru’s statue as mentioned earlier.
We were desperate to buy some unique lights which i had never seen otherwise before. These lights you will find almost on every roads of white town. We bought them thinking of Deepawali decoration.
To summarize, this was one of the best trip I had in my life. Pondicherry, to me was perfect. It had everything. It’s a package of beaches, culture, history, yummy food and friendly locals.
So, make sure you add Pondicherry in your South Indian adventure list.
Believe me, you should not miss it.