We have been to Pondicherry long back however my memory is so fresh with the lovely beaches, spiritual essence at Aurobindo ashram, churches and heart touching greenery at the farm house we stayed. It was a fun filled family trip by road from Chennai.
Pondicherry is the capital city of the India’s largest union territory Puducherry. The city was ruled by British, Dutch and French under different periods. French was the most influenced and visitors see the French architecture in the Pondicherry. In fact, The Mother of the Aurobindo ashram was a French citizen. For many in Chennai, Pondicherry is a weekend getaway tourist place.
How to reach:
By Road: The nearest city is Chennai with a distance of 155 KM (Around 3 hr. journey) and the road to Pondicherry is very good. Scenic views on the way such as lush green coconut fields, small canals, beaches, Bay of Bengal on your left side calms your mind.
You can stop on road side to have a tender coconut from the local sellers. It is a good idea to start in the morning to reach Pondi before 12 PM.
By Rail: Major trains are connected to the nearest city Chennai.
By Air: Chennai Anna international airport is the closest airport to Pondicherry.
Where to stay:
There are many best hotels and resorts available in Pondi. Also, many budget hotels are there for stay. I usually do my online research of user reviews, ratings, pictures uploaded by the property management, and available facilities to select a hotel. When we visit a tourist place with a beach, we have another option of staying in a beach resort with private beach. We stayed in The Prince Park Farm House in Pondi. This was a beautiful resort with all cottages are Huts. Kind of village style living. However, we faced a problem at night with too many mosquitoes.
WHAT TO EAT:
South Indian breakfast, lunch and dinner are available in both veg and non-veg varieties. I have not seen any roadside food much here in Pondi. But, I have heard people saying seafood is good in Pondi. However, I have seen the good restaurants in French style too.
Tourist attractions in and around Pondicherry:
AUROBINDO ASHRAM – – – This is the Ashram of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother where the bodies of the both divine people are laid to rest. Ashram is maintained very neat and clean. Silence to be maintained inside the ashram premises. Small kids are not allowed inside the ashram. Further, cell phones to be in switched off mode. Very good place to meditate. There are many good value books available on Philosophy, Yoga, and personal life in the book stall at a very reasonable price. I bought many books and the smallest book on meditation taught me many new things.
Sri Aurobindo practiced integral yoga in his life. The Mother was a very polite lady who came from Paris to Pondi to meet Sri Aurobindo. She was the disciple of the Sri Aurobindo and later she was given charge of the Aurobindo ashram.
AUROVILLE – – – This is the international township constructed during the period of The Mother. Matrimandir is one of the main viewpoint for the tourists where tourists either walk or take a Auroville transport to reach the Matrimandir. Also, meditation in Matrimandir is allowed however with a day advance booking. Further, there was a canteen, shops for souvenirs and books.
ARULMIGU MANAKULA VINAYAGAR DEVASTHANAM – – – A temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Very good temple with lot of Lord Ganesha idols. This temple is known to be existed even before the arrival of french into the Pondicherry.
SEASIDE PROMENADE – – – This is a road constructed on the sea side (Just beside the rock beach) where people can have walk on the beach side. Vehicles are not allowed in this area as this road is exclusively for beach side walk.
CHUNNAMBAR BOAT HOUSE – – – This is a spectacular boating where the boats will take you to a wonderful beach inside. One will start the journey in a boat and boats halt at a beach where visitors are allowed to spend ample time in the beach. Boating is open from 10AM – 6PM. There are canteens available inside the premises.
We were in Pondi for 2 days and have covered the places mentioned above. However, there are few other tourist spots such as Botanical gardens, Pondicherry museum, Pondicherry science center and planetarium, Bharathidasan museum and Raj Niwas.
There are many good shops to buy souvenirs such as decorative items, jute bags, clothes etc. I have managed to collect few sea shells from the beach i have visited as a remembrance of my visit to Pondi.
- Boating is one of the best things my kids enjoyed during our visit.
- I always select my stay based on my kid’s interest. As i have chosen a resort where there were ducks, rabbits, chickens and swimming pool, kids had a good time at resort too.
- Beach is the place where kids love to play with water however parents have to be very cautious.
TIPS FOR THE TRIP
- Planning for weekend getaway for 2-3 days, Pondicherry is one of the best options in South India.
- If you are a meditation lover, you can take the entry passes for the entry into matrimandir one day before in person at Auroville.