Sitting under a sky full of stars, swaying back and forth on a rocking chair exactly at the pace of the wind, trying to hear the whispers of the sea and the tree leaves, I had a million thoughts cross my mind concerning life, career, and dreams. While I sat there in a dilemma oblivious of what to do next, I realized, Pondicherry is not just a beautiful French town, but also a place that can help you seek bliss and introspect. And it was exactly at that moment, I was sure I wanted to come back here, time and again. I wanted to take a trip to Pondicherry in my life, time and again.
Trip To Pondicherry: Planning And Ideal Duration
After exploring Mysore, Tirupati, and much of the Indian Silicon Valley already, my family and I were looking for a place near Bangalore that was perfect for a road trip and was completely unexplored (by us). In no time, we decided and started packing. How to reach Pondicherry wasn’t a concern for us at all as we were all in for a good 7 to 8-hour drive. What did bother us a bit though was the trip duration and choosing the right hotel in Pondicherry.
I spoke to an office friend who had already been there and came to a conclusion that while three days were not ideal for exploring the famed French town completely, they were enough to get a good glimpse of it, whilst enjoying the serenade of serenity. However, if you really wish to know the town like a local does, I, as your fellow well-wisher, would suggest that you spend at least 5 to 7 days there. And don’t worry about the thought of getting bored because there is plenty to keep you company there.
Things To Do In Pondicherry In 3 Days
This may have been the first time I visited the town, but thanks to the tonnes of articles floating online, I had my fair share of knowledge about places I had to visit on my family trip to Pondicherry. Here’s a glimpse of the same!
1. Eat At Cafe Le, Cafe Xtasi, Bread & Chocolate, And Buddha By the Bay
As they say, the good food beckons, which is also the sole reason that these eateries stay amongst the top places to eat in Pondicherry. Adorned with a fascinating number of cafes and restaurants, each place in the town offers an ambiance you and I both would readily want to wait in the queue for. We ordered from Xtasi at our villa and had a bomb. Whereas, both Cafe Le and Buddha By The Bay treated us with a hearty breakfast & a dinner with gorgeous views.
On the other hand, located amidst a quaint street in Auroville, Bread & Chocolate seemed like a small vintage bakery whose charm spoke volumes about it much before we delved into its luscious platters and drinks. However, it is the light-on-pocket services that make a food tour here so feasible for everyone. So, if not anywhere else, these four places are definitely the pit stops that you ought to make for attaining that much talked about foodgasm.
2. Spend A Day At Paradise Beach
Some 15-minutes ferry ride away from the Chunnambar Boat House, this beach is everything that its name spells. It is laden with white sand and crystal clear waves that come calling out to you like a musical rhyme from heaven. We spent almost a day here walking around, soaking up the sunshine, and capturing moments that we didn’t want to leave behind. Apart from this, there are also a bunch of water activities like jet skiing and parasailing that the beach offers on its good days. And if nothing else, you can always go for the fish spa to seize the day.
3. Stop By At Whitetown, Rock Beach & Casablanca
Known to be the heart of Pondicherry, Whitetown is one place none of us can afford to miss. After all, it is here, that all the good views and great cafes reside. With a cool breeze and a setting sun, Whitetown welcomed us like we were its own. The rocks in front, people relaxing on the promenade seemed pretty much like a scene of Marine Drive in Bombay, but only cleaner.
We took a walk and stopped by at the famous store of Casablanca with a hope to take back something cherishable from Pondy. Cool shirt dresses, fruit-shaped soaps, classic bags, stylish hats, and a few other items were on the display to pick from. A bit on the expensive side, this store is good to take a look at when you’re in town. But if something tickles your fancy, it’s always worth a dime.
4. Soak In Bliss At Serenity Beach
Not just a name amongst the list of beaches in Pondicherry, but a place to enjoy the true serenade of serenity and embrace solitude, the Serenity Beach is one of its kind. It is located on the outskirts of the town, which made it only a 5 minutes walk away from our homestay. And while the water did not seem as blue as in Paradise to me, there was something in its aura that made it stroke my mind.
Accommodation In Pondicherry: Ditch The Hotel, Choose A Homestay
There’s no doubt that much like other places, Pondicherry too has a plethora of hotels ranging from 2-star to 5-star, with prices perfect for every kind of traveler. But, this time, I was sure that a hotel wasn’t the place where I wanted us to stay. Thus, I shared the idea of picking a homestay located right across the beach. After scouting online for a few days, we finalized Omkara Retreat, a villa located in Villupuram, on the outskirts of the town.
Made up of red mortar bricks and crystal clear glasses that offered an infinitely breathtaking view of the worldly-famous Serenity Beach with huge glass doors that opened to a sprawling green patio & to two English-styled balconies on the first floor, this villa looked straight out of a Hollywood movie. All I could see with my bare eyes was the true paradisiacal side of nature, and all I could feel was the purest breeze on earth.
Owned by an Englishman now settled in Kerala, Omkara Retreat looked like a perfect place in itself to get away from the bustling city life and relax for a weekend. Its interiors had a soothing French touch to it, that only added to its classiness. Needless to say, if you ever visit the town, you have to ditch the hotel for a homestay experience!
Tips For Visiting Pondicherry
- Plan a holiday in Pondicherry for at least 3 days. If you have time, spend around 5, believe me, you won’t regret.
- Carry all your comfy summer dresses and shorts. The weather in Pondicherry is perfect for you to step out in the sun in those haute couture outfits.
- Auroville is a popular yet a hidden gem in Pondicherry because of its location. Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit it. But do make a point to buy your tickets and visit there early in the morning if you don’t want to regret like me.
- Both Rock Beach and Paradise Beach offer good backdrops for leveling up your Instagram game. Make sure to experiment with your camera here.
- While staying at a hotel comes with its own perks, there’s nothing that can beat the charm of a homestay in Pondicherry. So, prefer booking a villa or a beach house.
- Getting around in Pondicherry can be expensive if you don’t have your way to bargain correctly. If you have your own car, prefer driving to every place by yourself.
- Do not buy any local liquor and carry it back to your city. There’s a strict police inspection that happens right outside the city where they halt every other car for a quick check.
A trip to Pondicherry can really change how you look at life. While on one hand, the French town flaunts thrill & bliss, on the other it helps everyone discover their calmer side. If you haven’t been to Pondicherry yet, believe me, you are missing out a lot in life. Just let that Goa trip wait for another year and travel to this little haven in the south this time. Bet you wouldn’t regret it!