Weekend Trip to PondicherryIt was a hectic week at work and as usual I started praying for the Friday evening to arrive soon! And finally, thank god it's Friday, oh no, one more nine-hours to pass for the much awaited weekend. My watch dissed me showing 3'0 clock (just) and I literally started toying with ideas on how to get through this irksome Friday afternoon! My friend came to my rescue as he whatsapp'd me. After a bit of usual chit chat, my friend suggested if I could join him for a weekend trip to Puducherry. I jumped at the idea and being just 330km from Bengaluru, it was 'game on' for me.
Keeping the thought that in a few more hours we have to leave to Pondy, I took the help of Google to come up with a good itinerary. Headed home, packed my stuff and it was 10 PM at night and off we go!
We were hoping to reach Puducherry in 7 hour but Bangalore traffic has other plans for us. It took almost 90 minutes for us to get out of city limits. Thanks to Google that we had the best possible route, i.e,
'Bangalore - Krishnagiri - Vellore - Arcot - Cheyyar- Vandavasi- Tindivanum- Pondy'
We finally reached Puducherry by 5:30 in the morning. Before proceeding further, we had a stopover for refreshments and enquired about good hotels among the friendly people over there.
People suggested us that most of the hotels around Puducherry bus stand are good and reasonable. We found a nice-looking hotel close to the bus stand, Hotel Green Palace, a decent 2 star hotel. We booked a 'Superior room' for Rs. 2,000.
The room was really cozy and definitely worth the money. The complimentary breakfast came at the right time as I had to listen to my stomach growls for some time. Enjoyed a good breakfast and we had a nice little nap. Then, we came down and made use of the travel desk operated by the hotel. It was around 11 in the morning and we finally decided to step out and have some real fun out there in 'Pretty Pondy'.
Day 1:We were heading to the car parking and all of a sudden I got an idea of hiring an auto! My friend was rather surprised and I had to convince him that auto might be a good idea to explore the city. He got fairly convinced and we hired one.
Our first target was to explore the renowned Chunnambar Backwaters (approx. 8 km away from the city center). The autowallah was demanding Rs. 120 for the drop and after negotiations; the rate got finally settled for a hundred bucks. It took us close to 15 minutes to reach the spot.
On reaching the spot, we have decided that rather than visiting too many places, it is better to explore whichever place we visit to its fullest. After taking the entry tickets for Rs. 5 each, we got into the spot among the massive crowds.
It was a stunning sight as the backwaters is the point where Chunnambar River streams into the Bay of Bengal. The fine-spun combination of calmness and nature - truly a heavenly feel! It was very tempting for us to see the local boys happily playing beach volleyball!
On a casual walk along the edge of the backwaters, we spotted numerous tree-house accommodations for rent. The beach at this location is popularly called as 'Plage Paradiso'. The backwaters also house a sophisticated resort, maintained by the Pondy tourism department. We plowed ahead and hired a motor boat for a long trip at Rs. 100 per head.
The gratifying cruise into the sea was so special as we had the fortune of spotting amazing dolphins playing around. We touched the nearby island called as 'Paradise Island'.
The Chunnambar Boat House offers many other boating options. Coming back to the land after a stupefying experience, we thought of going for another cruise, this time in 2-seater speed boat! Unfortunately, long trips are allowed only till 4 PM.
We were extremely hungry and the tourist spot also houses an eating house - Seagulls Restaurant. We indulged in gastronomic adventures with delectable Tandoori and Chinese dishes served. By the time we left to the hotel, it was almost evening.
Totally exhausted with too much of fun in a day! After some respite, we visited this in-house restaurant - Bistro Multi Cuisine Restaurant to treat our tongue with regional delicacies for dinner. Unquestionably, a nice place set in a terrific ambience; we tried Kadugu yeraa (mustard prawn), Eggplant gosthu, Crab masala with rice and chapathi. Overall, the food was mildly spicy and was really yummy (Rs. 450 for two people). Quickly we were off to bed as the most awe-inspiring sight of Sun Rise at the Promenade Beach awaits us the next day.
Day 2:I got out of the bed as early as 5:00 AM. I woke up my friend and we rushed out of the hotel and headed to the Promenade Beach aka Pondicherry beach or the Gandhi beach (just 10 mins away from our hotel).
The main beach of Pondy is a good 1000 meter-long beach stretch that houses numerous memorials. Oh boy, even at this time, the beach had considerable crowd, perhaps people were there for the Sun Rise. It occurred right in front of us, worshipful sight, and jaw dropped and dumb stricken! Rightfully, it was nothing short of a nature show orchestrated by the almighty himself, a must-watch sight for all.
It took some time for both of us to come back to normality, we went ahead up to Goubert Avenue (probably the end of the beach stretch) and spent good time exploring Mahatma Gandhi statue, French War Memorial, Statue of Dupleix (former governor of Pondy) and a few other sites.
We then returned to the hotel for breakfast and again we were out to explore Pondy as much as possible after all we only had a few more hours of time. Our next stop is 'Sri Aurobindo Ashram' (took 10 mins for us from our hotel).There was a long queue for ashram entry.
The couple of hours we spent inside the ashram were astounding. Too much of serenity all over inside and it was genuinely soul-soothing. It was around 2 PM and being in Pondy, it was not a good idea to leave the place without having a French connection.
We found a nice little French restaurant - Satsanga, which serve French and Italian menu. We tried some of the well-known French delicacies before we go back to hotel and finally sign off to Bangalore.
The two days in Pondy - simply phenomenal. Had one of the best boat ride ever, enjoyed nature staring at my face in full form at Promenade beach, mingled with the history of the region with memorials, finest soul searching hours at the ashram, tried being a French for some time - for me, Puducherry was simply a big wow!
Santosh Kumar from Bengaluru shares his travel experience to Puducherry
Also read: Things to do in Puducherry