What do you do when you quit the job that you have been working on for most of your life? You travel, right? That’s exactly the clichéd thing I did after I quit my job as a Creative Head from a corporate and entered the freelance life; being my boss. However, the non-cliched thing I did was gather my friends and went to one of the most beautiful places in India- Pondicherry aka Puducherry.
I reached Chennai via flight from Udaipur and took the road to Pondicherry, which I highly recommend. The Indian version of the Pacific Coast Road, driving along the coastline road is a beautiful experience. Upon reaching Pondicherry, I straightaway went to homestay DJ Villa, located in the heart of the town. Since I was in a non-cliched zone, I chose a homestay, which turned out to be better than expected. Thanks to the owner Jose, I found a safe and hygienic flat with all the amenities. He also helped me hire scooters to discover the town.
Pondicherry has three highlights: White Town, beaches and monuments, and Auroville.
Restoring the French architecture, Pondicherry’s White Town is a must-visit place. Hire a two-wheeler or wander on the roads, and you are bound to get stunned to see the colonial buildings, heritage sites, tree-lined boulevards, and numerous cafes and parks. The buildings adorned with French doors, colorful windows, and facades resemble streets in France.
I saw some famous tourist spots including the Gandhi Statue, The Promenade, Shri Aurobindo Ashram, and Raj Niwas (Palais Du Gouvernement), among few others to comply with the list of things to do in Pondicherry as seen online. Moving along the beaches aren’t exactly how you would envision if you have been to Goa. Beaches such as Paradise Beach, Rock Beach, Serenity Beach, and Auroville Beach each provide a different vibe.
The third main highlight is Auroville, an experimental township that is a different world altogether. I spent an entire day in the town visiting a museum, multiple cafes, the famous Maitrimandir, and the beach situated in the vicinity.
Where To Eat?
Every other café in the White Town (old town) and Auroville is worth visiting not because of the cuisines alone but because of the architecture, décor, and the vibe. Since I had limited time, I am listing my favorite four cafes that you are not allowed to miss!
- Villa Shanti– The best French café that there is
- The Motorcycle Diaries– This place is inspired by the famous book and movie based on the memoir of Che Guevara.
- Bay of Buddha located at The Promenade
- Le Café– 24/7 cafe located on the Rock Beach which serves the sumptuous fresh food and Idlis
Since Pondicherry is a union territory, the fascinating thing is the price of alcohol, and I’m keeping the crazy anecdotes for some other time. For now, I am recommending Pondicherry to everyone looking for a blend of history, leisure, and calm all at one place.