It’s almost four years since I visited Pondichery and now Puducherry. I have been longing for a trip to this beautiful small town to refresh my memories collected in the last 15 years. Many of us would have visited Pondicherry multiple times without little knowledge of the history behind the name. The original name was Putucceri, but the union government changed it to Pondichery in 2006.

It is nostalgic for me when it comes to Pondy as it brings feelings of happiness and sadness when I realize that my loving better half is not with me to witness this rainy wet trip. As usual, the decision was spontaneous, and I drove solo. It was impulsive, and I skipped my breakfast, shoved a few essentials into a bag and ignited my Thar. Sangeetha restaurant serving authentic vegetarian South Indian dishes, reminded me of my desire for food, and I pulled over to have a dosha and coffee. The east coast road was scenic to its height as it was drizzling. The shoreline to my left was playing hide and seek as it appeared and disappeared as I drove past Vadanemmeli. The green casuarina trees were a perfect mood lifter, and Thar was looking for the adventure to unfold.

Day 1

The sudden decision to travel left me with only a few accommodations, and I chose Dumas Guest house in White Town. The property is 100 Yrs old, with six rooms surrounded by French colonial-era buildings. Beautifully located at Rue Dumas, the beach is 20 meters away, and the location is prime. The place is unique, with antique doors and fittings and has lots of plants.

It is a peaceful place without TV but has WIFI for accessing the internet. The mobile signals were weak inside the room, and I needed to come out of the thick-walled rooms to make calls. I walked to the promenade and sat at the rock beach for some time before visiting the Notre Dame des Agnes church.

It is the fourth oldest church in the town, and the original structure was built in Greco-Roman architecture by Napolean III in 1855. Later walked to mission street to have my dinner at café Xtasi, where they serve no-frills veggie & meat-topped pies straight from the wood-fired oven. I walked back from the café to the guest house and called it a day.

Day 2

The next day morning, as I woke up, it was raining. Pondy gets 10+ days of rain in October, and the best season to visit Pondy is between October and March. I had a late breakfast and drove my Thar to the Chunnambar boat house. After parking the vehicle, I paid Rs.345 and bought a roundtrip ticket for the ferry ride. The 20-minute backwater boat ride to Paradise beach is an experience.

Located on the banks of the Chunnambar River and the Bay of Bengal, the backwaters are home to a larger ecosystem of aquatic life. In the narrow winding strip, numerous green escapades await a breathtaking sight for all on board. As you pass lush paddy fields and distant villages, you will see water lilies and dense coconut groves. An isolated beach in Pondicherry, Paradise Beach is considered one of the best tourist destinations. Locally referred to as ‘Plage Paradiso’, this breathtakingly beautiful golden sand beach has a tranquil atmosphere. The crystal-clear water and tropical vibe allow you to enjoy a relaxing day with your family and friends.

After spending 2 Hrs at Paradise beach, I wanted to check Eden beach in Chinna Veerampattinam, the first beach in the Union Territory to get the coveted ‘Blue Flag’ certification from the Denmark-based Foundation for Environment Education (FEE).

I drove back to the town for a good lunch and decided to check Villa Shanti, hidden behind a discreet façade in the heart of the old French town. They have both indoor and outdoor dining, and I took a small table outside. I always have high regard for the food they serve, apart from the ambience they provide. I ordered a pint of beer, a chicken kebab and a Ceaser salad. The green salad of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed in lemon juice, olive oil, egg, garlic, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese and black pepper was a light but delicious lunch, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I walked back to the guest house to rest for a while and had plans to check some of the retail outlets on mission street. It was 6.00 pm , and I revoked my old memories and reached a place to pick up a few old navy shirts and a couple of O’Neill Boardshorts.

Day 3

Today, it’s time to gather some peace and hope, and I decided to visit Auroville. Located 15 Kms from Pondy, it is the epitome of tranquillity and proves a perfect escape for those searching for peace. It has 2800 people from 195 different nationalities who are this township’s official residents. I have been there earlier, and it was easy for me to navigate the area. The visitor centre is the place to discover Auroville with first-hand information like brochures, leaflets,  books and videos. The visitor centre is accessible only on foot from the parking area. It was crowded hence I didn’t spend much time at the visitor centre. I sat by a giant banyan tree behind the restaurant and settled to enjoy the glory of the greenery and experience the stillness around. It was lunchtime, and I ordered mini meals; believe me, the food was delicious.

Later I decided to immerse myself in some retail therapy, for I love their handmade products such as soaps, incense, clothing, and accessories. The shops offer Natural health, arts & crafts, bath&body, clothing&accessories, food, homeware, home fragrances, books&stationeries. The cost is a little expensive, but you will not regret it.

Accidently, I landed at Svaram, a place to learn about sources of Sound, know about the well-being of Sound and education on Sound. I paid the entry fee and was speechless to witness rare musical instruments. Sound spaces offer an opportunity to sensually experience the magic of Sound, to physically encounter the power of vibrations and realize their immediate impact on a living organism. They allowed me to play the instruments, and I started with the angel chime and the swinging chime, passed the wind chime, stroked the sound bridge and then the Pulse tube. I  tried the Tarang, played the psaltry, banged the shurthi thali, and was curious about the rain rattle and the hope rattle, and it was a unique first-time experience for me.

It was time, and  I moved to Serenity beach after 10 minute’s drive to spend the evening. Serenity Beach is one of the beautiful beaches in Pondicherry.

A lovely sea landscape to sit a unwind and watch waves with energy unleashing their power after reaching the shore.

Serenity Beach Pondy

Serenity is apt as it displays tranquillity, calmness, cleanliness and a perfect getaway from the rush city. I relaxed and was mesmerized by the white sand beach on one side, and the rocky stretch on the other, and the bay of Bengal looked beautiful.

Serenity Beach Pondy

I took some fantastic pictures and drove back to the guest house. I took a bath and wanted to walk to Surguru Spot Restaurant for dinner. I ordered a plate of idly and a filter coffee, and the food was heavenly. As I walked back to the guest house, I noticed the unique style of the doors in Pondy is a display of taste in architecture.

Pondy At Night

Day 4

I packed and was ready to leave in the morning. It was raining, and the trip would not be complete if I didn’t visit the infamous Bakers Street Bakery for breakfast. I ordered a cinnamon soup and a chicken salad. l was lucky to get a single seat. The creamy soup was hot and had spices like cinnamon, ginger, and clove with pepper. The chicken salad was lean seasoned protein seared until tender and paired with romaine lettuce. The portion was decent to fill my tummy, and I don’t recall anything but just relished the large pieces of Chicken and the vegetables.

I paid the bill and started my drive towards Kalapet. The three-hour drive was pleasant, but the traffic was thick as I reached the old Mahabalipuram road but no regrets as it is always, and I drove past the hurdles to get home safely. I always love a trip to Pondy, and I will return soon to the old town!