Pondicherry was French colony till 1954, and now is a Union Territory in the South East part of India bounded by Tamil Nadu. It comprises four coastal regions namely Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. Puducherry and Karaikal are situated on the East Coast of Tamil Nadu, Yanam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe on the West Coast in Kerala. The French influence is still visible in its French Quarter with tree-lined streets, mustard coloured villas, cafes and boutiques. Its a popular destination for both domestic and international travelers who visit it for various reasons from relaxing at the beach to immerse in spirituality, or just spend a nice time walking at the beach promenade. The Portuguese have been here, so have the Dutch, the Danes and the English.
It is only in quietness and peace that one can know what is the best thing to do.Mirra Alfassa, The Mother
- Destination: Pondicherry or Puducherry
- Google Map Co-ordinates: 11.9416° N, 79.8083° E
- Nearest City (Airport): Chennai
- Nearest City (Railway Station): Pondicherry
- Distance: Chennai (170 km), Bengaluru (309 km)
- Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
- Duration: 1D, 2D/1N, 3D/2N, On request. From an overnight stay to any number of days depending on your requirement.
- Dates: On request
- Price: On request
Pondicherry conjures the image of French soaked architecture, beautiful beaches, interesting cafes, chic boutiques and more. This is all true and there’s more for any traveler looking for a brief holiday getaway, sunny beaches, adventure and scuba diving, or spirituality and yoga. Pondicherry in its quaintness offers you these and more.
Pondicherry is well connected by rail and road. In fact, it’s a pleasure to drive on the East Coast road to Pondicherry a beautiful highway along with the coast and the sea on one side. The nearest airport is in Chennai.
The best way to explore Pondicherry is walking or cycling. You could join us for any of these tours.
Following are some of the places and experiences we have listed. Based on your interests and time we could curate a personalized itinerary for you.
The town was divided in a French section and Tamil section, with its respective population and architectural differences and each with its own particular streetscapes. While the French town has colonial style buildings flanked by huge compound walls, huge gates, the Tamil town has streets lined by verandahs and extended porches.
THE FRENCH QUARTERS
This part of town is unmistakably different from the rest. With heavy French influence you are bound to feel that you are in France. You can explore walking or cycling on the tree-lined streets, passing by the beautiful Villas, cafes and boutiques. While you are doing so you would also be able to discover the cultural diversity of the place as you explore Tamil Quarters and the Green Quarters (also called the Muslim Quarters) as well. This cultural and historical melting point has a lot of interesting stories that you would love to know.
SUN KISSED BEACHES
Pondicherry has many beautiful beaches that are serene and tranquil. The Promenade Beach is one of the longest ones here and with a walkway its absolute delight to walk on it as the sun sets on the horizon. For water sports, Paradise Beach and Karaikal Beach are recommended. If you like to surf, you should head to Serenity Beach. And if you just get lost in your thoughts the quiet Mahe Beach is ideal.
Pondicherry is a popular destination in South India for scuba divers. With a beautiful reef off the sea you could dive upto 40 m and explore the exotic marine life like sea snakes, corals, moray eels, triggerfish, manta rays, lionfish, angelfish, parrotfish, kingfish among others.
Boating at Chunnambar Backwaters:
The backwaters of the Chunnambar River is a stunning place for boating. The serene waters against the blue sky discovering exotic birds in the area is indeed a tranquil experience.
BIRD WATCHING AT OUSTERI LAKE
Ousteri lake is a man made lake that gets quite a few migratory birds along with the residential ones that are there. You could find golden orioles, egrets, white ibises, openbill storks, greater flamingos and white-breasted water hens.
EXPERIENCE THE CUISINE
Pondicherry is a hotpot of multiple cultures and therefore different cuisines. There are multiple cafes and traditional restaurants and eateries serving the French, European, South Indian cuisines. It’s a bad idea to be on a diet when in Pondicherry. ☺
LEARN THE PAST AT PONDICHERRY MUSEUM
Pondicherry Museum houses plenty of historical and cultural treasures, ranging from antiquity to the present day. There is a treasure trove of unique and rare stone sculptures and bronzes that belong to the age-old Chola and Pallava dynasties, Pre-Christian relics and artifacts from the Arikamedu Roman settlements and Roman empires, who once lived in the city. There is also a fossil room, a geology room, handicrafts, French furniture and other artifacts.
TEMPLES AND CHURCHES
Pondicherry is home to many religious places with unique architecture and features. These include the Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple, which features a colourful exterior and ornate sculptures; the Manakula Vinayagar Temple is known for its elephant blessings, huge golden chariot and ornately carved stone walls; the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has Gothic architecture and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, which is a 300-year old church and an architectural marvel.
SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM
Established in 1926 by a French disciple Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, the Ashram is a peaceful place. For those seeking spiritual retreats could come here for many such programs involving meditation and yoga. There are no compulsory meditations or systematic instructions in Yoga, the disciples are free to determine the course and pace, but the abiding principle is Surrendering to the Divine. Work is an offering to the Divine and all ashramites work each day in the Ashrams departments.
Auroville or the ‘City of Dawn” is located around 10 km from Pondicherry. Spread over 20 sq km Auroville is an experimental township founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (also known as ‘The Mother’ and designed by architect Roger Anger). It’s a universal town where people from across the world, irrespective of caste, creed, culture or country, live and work together in harmony and peace. This township is the perfect example of ‘unity in diversity’. It highly recommended to spend a day here and soak it in the positive energies of the place.
1. ASHRAM WALK
Starting Point : Ashram Office (beach)
Walk ends at : Ashram Dining Room
Distance covered : 1 Km.
Approximate time taken : 30 to 45 minutes
2. FRENCH HERITAGE WALK
Starting Point : Puducherry Tourist Information Centre
Walk ends at : Puducherry Tourist Information Centre
Distance : Approx. 2 k.m
Approximate time taken : 1hr to 1.30 hrs
3. TAMIL QUARTER WALK
Starting Point : Easwaran Koil (Temple)
Walk ends at : VOC School
Distance : Approx. 2 kms
Approximate time taken : 1 hr
Where to Stay
Rustik Travel has partnered with resorts, lodges, camps, hotels and home stays that follow all the protocols laid out by Ministry of Health and Ministry of Tourism. We recommend only these trusted places to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable stay.
Further, you could avail of a discount as a Rustik Travel customer here.
Contact us for details.
COVID-19 – SOP for Partner Hotels And Resorts
All Rustik Travel partnered hotels and resorts have stepped up precautionary measures in preventing the spread of the Novel Corona virus ( COVID-19).
The safety of guests and employees are of paramount importance. The partners have committed that they will do everything that they can to ensure that the guests have a safe and pleasant stay.
Please go through the various guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India and the State Govt..
Dos and Don’ts for the Guest
1. Do not step out of the room unnecessarily. Wear a mask whenever outside the room.
2. Guests are recommended to carry their own sanitizer and wet wipes for personal use.
3. Clothes should not be washed inside the room.
4. In case a balcony is shared with another room, please be on the side of your room and do not interact with the other room’s guests.
5. No visitors should be allowed in the rooms.
6. Doors should be kept closed and any contact with the doorknobs should be avoided by staff.
7. Kitchen and washing area entry must be prohibited for guests.
8. Always keep a safe distance of at least 2 m (6 feet) while you are at the property.
9. Wash your hands frequently with the soaps/sanitizers provided.
10. Put all bio-degradable disposable plates/cups/bottles after use in the garbage bag.
The following have been implemented in all our partner properties.
The staff have been briefed on the guidelines provided by the local health authorities. In terms of measures taken, Front desks are equipped with infrared thermometers to conduct temperature checks on all guests, when required. Staff and guests who are unwell with any symptoms of fever, flu or respiratory problems will be immediately provided access to medical assistance, and if so required, their fitness would be assessed by our consulting doctor.
Additional measures include staff briefings to reinforce the rules and practices of good personal hygiene, provision of masks and gloves for staff and guests, as well as hand sanitizers that are placed at guest contact areas such as hotel lobbies. Special attention has also been placed to sanitize public contact points such as reception counters, activities area and conference / meeting rooms. The cleaning of guest rooms has also been stepped up.
Daily meetings are conducted to review the situation; the property is in constant communication with staff and guests to keep them updated and to advise them on appropriate measures to take.
We remain vigilant and will work closely with the authorities for the health and safety of all stakeholders.
Thank you for choosing Rustik Travel and we look forward to welcoming you where ever you stay with us.
- Airport transfers.
- Transport (Innova AC or similar car) for the specified duration of the trip.
- Fuel costs, driver’s allowance and stay, parking & toll charges.
- Hotel accommodation in character hotels with breakfast.
- Other inclusions as per the experience/trip and/or specifically requested.
- Tickets (camera charges) to monuments, temples, parks etc.
- Meals, water and beverages unless specified.
- Guide Services.
- Personal expenses.
- Any Airfare.
- Any item that is not mentioned in inclusions.
Book or Personalize
Its interesting, isn’t it?
Its now time to go out there and experience.
Hope you liked it. Do you want to request some changes and personalize the experience – in terms of date of travel, exclusive group, additional facilities and any other? If yes, then