Pondicherry, also known as Puducherry and commonly referred as just Pondy, is one of the seven Union Territories of India. is often famously referred to as the French Riviera of the East, and it is indeed one of the most charming and mesmerising places to visit in South India. Located in the state of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry is a little town tucked away on the south-east coastline of India, and it is a destination that promises travellers sanctity and serenity, in the real sense of the terms.
A former French colony, Pondicherry has retained all of its old-world French charms, and despite being miles away from France, the city comes close to giving you a very authentic feel of the French culture and allure. Famous for its brightly painted houses with bougainvillaea laden walls, large boulevards, streets and road signs boasting French names, gothic churches and colonial buildings, serene backwaters and pristine beaches, topped with authentic French cuisine, Pondicherry has a lot to offer.
Mocktails and Meditation, is what I would call Pondicherry! As different as that sounds, there’s no other place one can meet both so perfectly. Pondicherry is the place where I try to find my inner peace, and at the same time go absolutely nuts with yummy Mocktails. Don’t miss their aesthetic looking cafes which serve delicious Italian food and the best of best desserts! To add to that, you can experience road-side shopping. From hippie clothes to elegant scarfs - Pondicherry has it all. What more can one expect?
Home to the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the Mantri Mandir and the unique experimental community of Auroville, Pondicherry is the perfect weekend getaway for anyone looking for a quiet escape from life. Some of the beaches we visited were Serenity Beach, Rock Beach and Paradise Beach- Pondicherry is truly paradise for any beach-lover. Don’t miss out on its authentic French-inspired architecture, preserved in the colonial villas! For all chocolate lovers, I would definitely recommend trying out the Hot Chocolate from Zuka Choco-La, which comes with two cubes of chocolate and a spoon made of chocolate, which melt away into your cup of rich deliciousness.
At around 6 PM in the evening, when the sun is setting on the horizon of the Bay of Bengal, the only thing reminding I was in India was that I could hear Tamil and Hindi conversations. With the road closed off to vehicular traffic, the waves crashing against the rocks that border the beach, and fine sea mist, I was transported to another world. The French style houses, broad clean roads, pretty cafes and other such sights deceived me for a second making me feel like I was sitting on a Mediterranean beach of France and not in India. A trip to Pondicherry wouldn’t be complete without visiting the seaside promenade.
Good Beaches. Get a first hand taste of French culture and architecture. Beautiful scenery. Delicious French cuisine.
Communicating with locals could be difficult. Summers can be very humid.
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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There can be no better explanation of great nightlife described by the streets full of shimmering lights and bang on music. The Pondicherry nightlife awaits with its glitzy streets brimming with the uber nightclubs and beach shacks. You can camp your way to the beaches to take your nightlife experience to the next level and party till the sun hits the sea.
Here is a complete guide to the Nightlife in Pondicherry
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read more about Cafes in Pondicherry
I'm planning to visit on March 30th, and stay for 2days. I heard it would be too humid, please suggest if its ok to visit or cancel the plan, i know i can not expect calm and cool temp in this month but moderate would lead me to go with the plan please suggest.
I would suggest you to pick a destination with moderate or Cold weather. The temperature in Pondicherry could go as high as 32 degrees in March. There are places like Auroville which involves a lot of walking. Also to enjoy the local cuisines and artefacts of Pondicherry you need to take a stroll through the streets. So if you're looking for sight-seeing, this wouldn't be the preferable time to visit.