Pondicherry Pointers- Things to do in Pondy

Simple yet pretty, chic yet spiritual, flamboyant yet restrained…Pondicherry indeed is a rare concoction. It was during December 2015 that we first met this place and needless to say we fell in love. A three and half hour drive from Chennai airport transported us to the French Riviera of the East, where we spent a good and wholesome four days.

A strict and structured schedule is the last thing you want to do to this place as Pondy is free, abstract and unstructured. The cliché touristy sight-seeing and souvenir shopping is just what is not needed. Sharing a relaxed outline of things we enjoyed doing during our stay.

1)  WALKS DOWN THE FRENCH QUARTERS

Tree lined broad clean boulevards, pastel toned buildings, quirky graffitis, the smell of bougainvillea and baguettes… yes the French quarters are straight out of any fairy tale. Be it an early morning exploration or an afternoon stroll or a late night walk- Ville Blanche can do wonders for your mood.

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Some serious stationery shopping at the Auroshikha Shoppe in the French Quarters

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2) VISIT  AUROVILLE

This experimental township dedicated to universal peace, harmony, sustainability and divine consciousness is just a bus/auto ride away from Pondy. The simplicity and serenity of this place is something you cannot ignore. We visited Auroville thrice during our stay. The first day saw us doing some touristy stuff like posing in front of the Matri Mandir, gorging on sumptuous food at the café in the visitors’ area and some shopping in the boutiques. On the second day we went for a concentration session inside the Matri Mandir for which prior registration had to be done. The walk through the interiors of this architectural marvel and the cathartic concentration session in that chamber within was a transforming experience and was well beyond words.

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Visitor’s Center, Auroville

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Depictions of the architectural marvel that Matri Mandir is
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The quaint and chic Right Path Cafe, Auroville

3) VISIT THE TAMIL QUARTERS

Dusty, dirty and chaotic, the Tamil Quarters are a stark contrast to its French counterpart, but yet has its own charm. You cannot just ignore those unique Franco-Tamil architecture, the steel utensil selling shops and the glass of hot filter coffee.

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4) SIT AND STROLL IN THE PROMENADE

This 1.2 km long stretch along the Bay of Bengal is a signature Pondicherry. The rocks, the cafes, the statues and a harbor and happy faces are what make this place extremely popular. This stretch is kept closed from 5 pm in the evening to 7 am the next morning thus giving the pedestrians all the freedom they need and want! A walk down the promenade during those hours is something one should not miss out on.

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The bustling Promenade in the evening 
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A moment of peace
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The old harbour at the end of the Promenade Beach
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Pretty ice cream parlours lining the stretch
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The ever popular 24*7 Cafe at the Promenade

5) EAT, EAT AND EAT

If not for anything else visit Pondicherry for its culinary offerings. Quirky cafes like Café des Artes, eclectic fine dining at Le Dupleix and The Promenade, the perfect croissant at Baker’s Café and anytime knick knacks at Le Café…Pondy has it all. I would not be wrong when I say that we were in a perpetual food coma for all those 4 days.

My guide to the places to eat out in Pondicherry

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The quirky decor at Cafe Des Artes
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Dining under the banyan tree at Le Dupleix

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Bakers Cafe- For that perfect baguette and croissant
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The 24 Hours coffee shop- Le Cafe
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When it comes to coffee- you are spoilt for choice

Pondicherry was an experience rather than a holiday. I am sure I am going back again. Hope this guide helps you to explore and love Pondy, just the way we do!

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 Other Related Articles:
Pondicherry – The City with a Split Personality
Le Dupleix, Pondicherry
Bay Of Buddha @The Promenade, Pondicherry


Devlina, in her own words, is “Just another Bengali woman proud of her Rabindrasangeet and Rosogolla roots ….. a Psychiatrist, still picking up the shells on the Freudian shore !”

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