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Pondicherry

4.0 /5 294 votes

Weather:

Best Time: Oct-Mar Read More

Ideal duration: 2-3 days

Nearest Airport: Chennai Check Flights

"The French Riviera of the East"

Pondicherry Tourism

Pondicherry, officially known as Puducherry, and commonly referred to as just Pondy, is one of the seven Union Territories of India. This former French colony is a perfect amalgamation of the traditional Indian sensibilities and French architecture, making it a dreamy escape that offers the best of both worlds. 

The streets of the French Quarter of Pondicherry, also known as White Town, are dotted with charming mustard-yellow colonial structures with bougainvillaea laden walls. These are interspersed with cosy cafes and chic boutiques that offer delectable French cuisine and beverages. Simply strolling down these streets, can give the traveller an insight into the fairytale charm of Pondicherry.

Come explore the boulevards and rues (the French word for streets) of the Pondicherry that will ultimately take you down to the gorgeous seaside promenade, where the Bay of Bengal playfully splashes the shores of the famous Rock beach.

Topped with authentic French bakeries, bohemian stores and cobble-stoned paths that are delightful for a leisurely stroll or bicycle ride, Pondicherry has a lot to offer. So head on down to this dream town of the Indian Coast and chug a few beers (at the Union Territory prices; bid adieu to state taxes) or just read a book in one of the quaint cafes.

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What Makes Pondicherry An Amazing Tourist Destination

The coastal city is dotted with untouched beaches and beautifully decorated promenades, which are simply perfect for watching a magical sunrise of sunset. Watching the sun rise over the deep blue expanse of the Bay of Bengal is an experience that everyone should have while in Pondicherry. If your idea of a holiday to a place steeped in history and culture is basking in the old-world charm of French colonial buildings and monuments, then taking a Heritage Walk across town is the best bet for you. Organized by the INTAC and Puducherry Tourism Department, the French Heritage Walk, spanning across two kilometres, is the perfect thing to take you back to the old French era. Stroll along French residential villas and Parisian street cafes, or take a visit to some of the town’s most important French monuments – the French War Memorial, the Old Light House, the Governor’s Residence, the Place de la Rebublique, and the statues of Joan of Arc and Dupleix. The Pondicherry Museum is another place you can visit to get a feel of French architecture at its finest. A holiday in Pondicherry is synonymous with savouring the authentic local cuisine. Pondicherry offers traditional French flavours mingled with local delicacies in mouth-watering dishes. If you find yourself craving for desserts, try the local chocolate mousse and the litchi stew, which are absolutely delicious. The quaint little town has something to offer to adventure seekers as well. Karaikal Beach and Paradise Beach are two of the beaches in Pondicherry that are renowned for their water sports activities such as kayaking, jet skiing, canoeing and backwater sailing. Scuba diving is also organized in Pondicherry, under the supervision of trained instructors, of course. For anyone wanting to experience the best of old-world French history and culture, Pondicherry is the place to be.

French Culture and Architecture

Pondicherry was a French colony till 1954. Therefore, this city is more like a miniature version of France in India. It gives out colonial, bohemian and serene vibes through its French civilisations. The houses are built in straight lines and are draped wit Bougainvillea. The streets are extremely clean and lined with trees. The people also follow French cultures and talk in French, either with an English accent or a South Indian accent.

Restaurants and Local Food in Pondicherry

The food in Pondicherry is outlined with a dominant influence of the French cuisine, especially in its elements and styles. A lot of restaurants serve authentic French food - definitely the best place in India for French cuisine. Some of the popular items here are Baguettes, Croissants, Italian Baked Beans, Stuffed Cabbage and many more.

The Union Territory also derives flavours from the neighbouring South Indian states and you can find countless South Indian preparations (especially Tamil) in the city.

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Suggested Itinerary

Day 1- Arrive in Pondicherry, and start your vacation by taking a boat ride from Chunnambar river to Paradise beach. There are many activities and water sports to try out at the seaside like boating, kayaking and jet skiing. Explore some of Pondicherry's well-loved restaurants and cafes like La Pasta or Cafe des Arts for dinner to end your first day.

Day 2- The second day can be spent exploring the quaint French quarters of Pondicherry. Rent a bicycle and ride through scenic and idle locales, making pit stops to have exotic French cuisine for lunch and visiting the local shopping bazaars. Get a flavour of Pondi's nightlife by spending the evening at the nightclub Asta - The Spirited lounge; great for some beers and other beverages.

Day 3 - Devote the third day to visit the famous Aurobindo Ashram. Have a calm and peaceful day exploring the Ashram's history and exhibitions, and taking part in the evening samadhi or meditation.

Day 4 - Pondicherry has much to offer its tourists, it is up to you to choose among its many tempting options! From catching the sunrise and bird watching at Ousteri lake, to spending a relaxed day sunbathing at Serenity beach, or just having a laid-back brunch with pizzas and beer at Cafe Xtasi, the choices are varied. One could also try scuba-diving for a truly magical experience underwater with the marine life and corals, which is organized by Temple Adventures, who offer options for both beginners and experts.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Good Beaches. Get a first hand taste of French culture and architecture. Beautiful scenery. Delicious French cuisine.

What's Not So Great?

Communicating with locals could be difficult. Summers can be very humid.

For Whom?

Pondicherry is mainly a city for the explorers. The city gives you the opportunity to explore a French town in India, which is an exciting endeavour in itself. Another highlight of this beautiful city is the beautiful beaches along the Bay of Bengal. These beaches are an amazing place to relax and enjoy.

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How To Reach Pondicherry

Located in South India, Pondicherry is very well connected to the rest of the country and most major cities in the world via a good air, rail and road network.

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Pondicherry Reviews

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Ken Chiramel 4 months ago
A former French colony, Pondicherry is steeped with the trappings of its colonial past. Areas such as White Town and the French Quarter are scattered with the iconic mustard-yellow buildings, boutiques that sell artisanal clothing, and restaurants that serve up sumptuous fares and freshly caught seafood. The Promenade hugs the coastline along with the salty smell of the sea and makes for a lovely walk along the rocky beaches of Pondicherry. Paradise beach offers people the opportunity to take up surfing lessons and gives them a chance to take on a few waves. Auroville, a township built on the understanding that anybody from anywhere in the world can come and live in, and is a community with an almost mystical quality about it. At the centre of Auroville lies the Matrimandir, an enormous monument that is built with golden spheres meant to symbolise communal harmony.
Anjali Vij 4 months ago
Pondicherry, also known as Puducherry, offers a respite from sweltering summers through a variety of beaches peppered with French culture and cuisine seamlessly. White Town, situated in the center of the Union Territory, provides different cuisines and is especially famous for its seafood. Auroville, a secluded village around Pondicherry, functions as the spiritual stronghold of Sri Aurobindo; the MantriMandir is a marvelous architect for a tourist attraction as well as practicing spirituality. It is easier to travel in the city through renting two-wheelers as autorickshaw drivers command very high prices for covering small distances.
Rohit Shroff 5 months ago
Pondicherry is a really nice place. I had gone there last week in April with my wife and I stayed there for 2 nights. We roamed around the White Town, which is a lovely area because of French Heritage and amazing architecture. We also went to Auroville by taking a cab for the entire day. We went to many cafes and enjoyed the food. We also went to the seaside and the walking area is very nice. The Pondicherry museum is also nice. It was very hot in the day time, so we did not go out as much, but the evenings were nice and windy. Highly recommended place to go, especially if you are in South India.
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