Dainty cafes, hues of white blue and chrome yellow, cobbled pathways, sun accompanied by cold sea breeze and sound of breaking waves as you go close to the edges – Welcome to yet another beautiful colonial corner of India – Pondicherry! A friend of mine is currently in Pondicherry and so my Instagram feed reminded me of this beautiful union territory of India.
Pondicherry or Pondi, like it is colloquially called is one of the oldest colonial parts of India which still remains under a wrap of time painted in shades of modernity. It is a perfect place to experience the blend of Chettinad and French culture while wandering around languidly in the clean, almost empty streets.
I spent just a day in Pondicherry, but the positivity of Auroville and the symphony of waves at the Pondi Promenade is something I think I would never forget. Driving through the picturesque Eastern Coastal Road from Chennai for two hours is not just a drive but a transition in time, as it takes you away from the hustle bustle of the city life of Chennai to an 80’s setup town still reminiscing in its own glorious past.
The best way to explore the city is to walk or cycle around the lazy organized lanes fenced by white and yellow houses with bougainvillea laden gates. But if the tropical sun seems too much for you to walk around, fear not you can always take old rustic rickshaws to explore.
To hear the chiming wind chimes greet the morning at Auroville or to see the hues of sunrise spread on the deep blue Bay of Bengal at the Pondi Promanade? It is a very difficult choice, trust me. So get your Auroville tickets in advance and enjoy the sunrise peacefully by the sea – you don’t want to miss it!
While the sea lets you connect to the sound of nature, Auroville welcomes you to a different world altogether, a world where you can connect to yourself if you try. For me Auroville visit – the peaceful 10 mins in Matrimandir, the lost and found feeling under the great Banyan tree, meeting and talking to people from around the world and helping with gardening for half an hour learning more about the surrounding gardens than cover in the tour was highlight of the Pondi trip. And you also get an extended dose of Auroville in the heart of Pondicherry at Shri Aurobindo Ashram. I have tried many a times to pen my experience of Auroville, but guess some experiences are truly beyond words.
Back to town after the inner connect? You are in a French town so look out for some amazing churches! Be it the Immaculate Conception Cathedral or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it is French legacy when it comes to their architecture and the interiors are a must see. But I did say it is a Tamil blend with French right? So for the Tamil bit of spiritual and religious touch, visit Manakula vinayagar Temple for Laxmi’s blessings. Laxmi is an elephant by the way and now Goddess Laxmi.
Pondicherry has a lot of beaches to quench your beach loving souls, but just before the nightfall, I resorted to spending some quiet me time at the dim lit, quaint cafes, that dot the lanes of Pondicherry. A perfect end to a perfect day of exploring and I made my way back to Chennai with a freshness in my mind.
I had a great me day at Pondicherry - losing my way happily in the French quarters, sipping cold coffee at Café and rejuvenating in the rendition of the cracking waves.
Have you been to Pondi? How was your experience? Are you planning to visit anytime soon? Let me know in the comments.
P.S. - All pics used in the post are personal.