Azure beaches, cobbled streets, french architecture, villas, boutiques, side walk cafes, flowers reaching out from the balconies of houses and happy people cycling around the town. Who wouldn't want to go here again and again?
Reaching there: The best route to reach Pondicherry is via Chennai. Several private and government owned buses leave Chennai for Puducherry every half hour. The roads are excellent. Pondicherry is also connected directly by air via Bangalore with a few flights a week. We would not suggest the route that we took (Direct bus from Bangalore – Terrible roads. Avoid this bumpy ride). If you are willing to drive down, that would take you around 6 hours.
Best time to visit : October to February
What to see/do?
1. Aurobindo Ashram Sri Aurobindo himself wrote, it had less been created than grown around him as its centre” – Formed about 88 years ago by Sri Aurbindo, this Ashram is a spiritual community. The Ashram is open for public during visiting hours ( ). One can also stay in the Ashram guest houses. Check out details about the guest houses in the link below: http://www.sriaurobindoashram.org/visitors/guesthouse/ghlist.php Please note that these are not Commercial hotels and the gates close by 10:30 pm. No alcohol is allowed within the premises.
Traveller’s tip: The guest houses are mostly booked throughout the year. An advance booking is recommended.
Top 3 reasons to stay here: Within the Puducherry town. Mesmerizing view of the Rock Beach. Clean rooms and does not burn a hole in your pocket Access to the Ashram and passes to the Matrimandir (See below)
2. Paradise Beach 10 kms away from Pondicherry, this beach is accessible only by Ferry from Chunnambur Boat House. You can find a small island here – Not so crowded, not so commercialized but a great place for the beach lovers. No eating options here - Few shacks available that sell Beer and Breezer.
(14 kms from Pondicherry)
Cycling to Auroville from Pondicherry is a good experience.
Auroville happens to be an interesting place that you would want to visit because of its unique concept of an experimental township based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. It was designed by an architect Roger Anger and The Mother. In her own words she said that "Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity."
Matrimandir is known to be the central force of Auroville. The Matrimandir can be viewed as a large golden sphere which seems to be emerging out of the earth, symbolising the birth of a new consciousness. The highlight of Matrimandir is its inner chamber. Its spacious inner chamber, situated in its upper hemisphere with white marble walls will leave you spellbound. In the midst of this is the crystal glass globe. Meditating here is a truly mesmerising experience and is highly recommended. It is important to remember that this is not a 'tourist place' but a place meant for some individual introspection.
Bookings for visit to Matrimandir can be done at the Information Desk at Visitors Centre in Auroville which is open from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm and 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm. Watching the video on Matrimandir at the Visitors Centre will help you get access to it.
4. Rock Beach
Here you can sit on the rocks and just gaze into the sea for hours. Best place for some intense conversations with the sea. ;) You can spend an entire evening here.