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Pondicherry Travel Guide


  • Pondicherry travel guide
Pondicherry At a Glance
  • Capital City:Puducherry
  • Average Climate: 20°C - 40°C
  • Best Time to Visit:Octobers to March
  • Major Airports:Puducherry Airport
  • Ideal Durations:3 to 5 Days

Introduction

Feel the French connection in Pondicherry - India's Own French Town. You go there with a chaotic mind and would come back with a clear one and much more positive outlook on India. You will keep asking yourself, "Am I in India or in France?" Pondchierry is a union territory and had been under the authority of France for 300 years (approx.). So even today the French colony, their architectural craft, and culture are well preserved here. Pondicherry, or what people still know by the name of Pondicherry, is a prized Nagina of this treasure.

This place full of natural beauty is nothing less than a paradise. Filled with diverse forms of nature, shining white sand, blue sea, and golden sunshine, this city is a unique attraction for tourists from all over the world. By taking a short break from your busy life, you can also enjoy a great holiday in Pondicherry. Whether you are after underwater marine life or seeking rejuvenation at the spiritual Ashrams, this french town in India couldn't be any more epic.

Continue reading to find out everything about Pondicherry travel guide...

Why Visit Pondicherry?

The East Coast Road connecting Pondicherry to Chennai has a lot of untouched and extraordinary beaches. Which is safe even with the keen eyes of the local people. This is important for any female traveler, whether married or unmarried. There may be some fishermen around, but they do not bother. It is a safe place where there is no clumsiness or molestation.

Pondicherry is a serene town and home to many secluded beaches. It is also one of the best places in India for scuba diving and exploring the underwater marine life. There are ashrams in Pondicherry where tourists can attain mental peace. Auroville Ashram is one such place for meditation. With the sheer presence of French appeal everywhere, the seafood of Pondicherry is a blend of Tamil and French culture.

If you want to transport yourself back into the ancient century, Pondicherry is a must-visit place.

How To Reach Pondicherry?

Tourists who are looking for ways to reach Pondicherry either from domestic or international destinations will be spoiled with choices. There are three ways to reach the French town of India, which includes:

By Flight: Pondicherry Airport is an interstate airport in the Lawspet district. There are regular flights from Bangalore to here, and the Chennai Airport is the nearest international airport from where regular domestic and international flights will be available. Traveling by air from Chennai is also a good option where you can go to Pondicherry, which is just 145 km (approx.).

  • Domestic airlines to reach Pondicherry: IndiGo, GoAir, SpiceJet, etc
  • International airlines to reach Pondicherry: Qantas, Vistara

By Train: The nearest railway station to Pondicherry is in Villupuram. It is 40 km (approx.) from Pondicherry. The rail network of French towns is well connected with the major Indian towns like Kolkata, Trivandrum, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, etc.

By Road: Pondicherry has excellent road connectivity with its nearby towns like Chennai - 150 km (approx.), and Bangalore - 310 km (approx.) Pondicherry is well connected to the rest of the country by a good network of roads. It is located on National Highway 45 and is easily accessible by buses from some of the nearby major cities including Chennai, Thanjavur, Trichy, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Madurai.

How To Travel Around Pondicherry?

Pondicherry is the sole township in the street mohallas. The best way to see this small town is by renting a bike or a bicycle. There are a lot of shops on Mission Street that offer bikes and kinetic fares at low prices. Rent bikes are cheaper than auto-rickshaws and convenient for walking in the streets.

Note: Pondicherry tourism department runs buses for tourists to explore the attractions in Pondicherry. However, tourists could hire a private cab also.

Best time to visit Pondicherry:

The ideal time to visit Pondicherry depends upon tourists to tourists and their interests. If you are someone who wants to plunge into the beach activities, you must visit Pondicherry in winters. Tourists who love lush greenery around them could plan their trip in monsoons. During summers, the accommodation price gets dropped, which makes Pondicherry a must-visit place for the budget-friendly tourists.

Here is detailed information about the best time to visit Pondicherry according to weather and climate:

Pondicherry in Winters (October-February):

Winter marks the best time to visit Pondicherry because of plentiful water sports activities. From scuba diving to beach hopping, tourists are welcomed in Pondicherry between October-March. The temperature remains pleasant for sightseeing and oscillates between 15°C-30°C (approx.) It is the time when the international yoga festival is celebrated in Pondicherry.

Pondicherry in Monsoon (July-September):

If you love rainfall and budget-friendly accommodation, the best time to visit Pondicherry is between July-September. The temperature minimum and maximum temperature touch 25°C-35°C (approx.). It is the time when the Pondicherry blanketed in lush greenery. Tourists can indulge in photography. From the cultural point of view, the monsoon period marks the celebration of Sri Aurobindo's birthday with full pride and joy.

Pondicherry in Summers (March-June):

Tourists can satiate their hunger for plunging in cool waters in the evening on a beach between March-June. This period marks the summer season in Pondicherry. However, the humidity is at its peak, but that doesn't stop tourists flocking around Pondicherry top attractions like Promenade beach, Serenity beach. The temperature ranges between 26°C-42°C. If you love boating and taking Vitamin SEA, Pondicherry couldn't be better in summers.

Places to Visit in Pondicherry:

Famous by the French Town in India, Pondicherry has many top tourist attractions. Here is a list of must-visit attractions in India's Own French Town:
 

Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach is the oldest beach here, which is reached by boat through the backwaters of the Chunnambar River. You can build sand forts here, play with the ball or read a book while having fun. Boat House Beach, Paradise Beach, Chunnambar Beach are all the same place names.

Timings: 9 AM - 6 PM

Entrance fee: INR 150 (approx.) per person

Camera charges: INR 75 (approx.

Additional charges: For chairs, parking, ferries, and boat

Ideal duration: 3-4 hours (approx.) - depends on person to person interest
 

Shri Aurobindo Ashram

This Ashram in Pondicherry is a must-visit place if you want to attain mental peace. This ashram is a great option for meditation. Not only Indians but people from different parts of the world come to this ashram.

Timings: 8 AM-12 PM, 2 PM-6 PM

Entrance fee: Free of cost

Ideal duration: 1-2 hours (approx.)
 

Gingee Fort

Unfold the history of Pondicherry and explore Gingee Fort. It is labelled as a National Monument in 1921 due to its impeccable architecture. If you are a historical buff, you must visit Gingee Fort.

Opening days: Open on all the seven days of the week

Timings: 9 AM - 7 PM

Entrance fee: INR 5 (approx.) for adults, and free for kids below 15

Ideal duration: 1-2 hours
 

White Town

See the mix of past and present at White Town. It is a place that will take you to the old French town because of culturally rich pasts, chic cafes. Here you will have ample photography options if you love capturing the yellow architecture. The White Town has plenty of Instagrammable cafes to relish the delicious seafood.

Opening days: Open on all the seven days of the week

Timings: 24*7

Entrance fee: Free of cost

Ideal duration: 2-3 hours

Note: The chic cafes and eateries are affordable for budget tourists.
 

Jawahar Toy Museum

Envy yourself pampering your inner child on Pondicherry holidays. If you love this, visit Jawahar Toy Museum. It is a dollhouse which features 140+ dolls (approx.) brought from the different states in India. This place is a great spot for kids also.

Opening days: Except Monday, it remains open on all the weekdays

Timings: 10 AM - 5 PM

Entrance fee: Free of cost

Ideal duration: 1-2 hours (approx.)

 

Things to Do in Pondicherry:

Keep reading to learn why the French town in India is a tourist magnet for both local as well as international tourists. Here is a list of top things to do in Pondicherry for all age groups:
 

Scuba Diving

There is no shortage of calm, sun kissed beaches in Pondicherry. So, it goes without saying that adventure sports options are at every beach. Witness the enigmatic underwater life and meet underwater creatures.

Underwater creatures to watch during scuba diving: sea snakes, butterflies, manta rays, dolphins, and lionfish
 

Places for scuba diving in Pondicherry: Aravind's Wall, Ravines, PADI Dive Center

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

Cost of scuba diving in Pondicherry: INR 5000 - INR 8000 (approx.)

Dive dept: Upto 25 m (approx.)

Visibility of water: 20 m - 30 m (approx.)

Note: Water visibility is highly dependent on the weather conditions.

 

Bird Watching at Osudu Lake

This lake in Pondicherry houses the 40+ (approx.) species of migratory birds. You can see egrets, openbill strokes, white breasted water hens and golden orioles. You can also indulge in boating fun with your family. It is a great place for photography enthusiasts.

Opening days: Remain open all the seven days of the week

Entrance fee to visit Osudu Lake: Free of cost

Timings: 9 AM - 5 PM

Boating fee in motorboat: INR 100 (approx.) per person with one person sitting capacity

Boating fee in the pedal boat: INR 150 (approx.) per person with a two-person sitting capacity
 

Sightseeing on Bicycle at Green Quarter

Hop the French on a bicycle to explore the vintage French colonies coupled with traditional Tamil settlements. Going on a cycling trip at Green Quarter is all about witnessing cultural centres, and historical palaces. You will be rewarded with impeccable architecture to capture in your camera.

Timings: 7 AM - 9 PM

Price for bicycling tours: INR 1700 onwards (approx.) with bicycle safety gears

Ideal Duration: 2-3 hours

Note: You can choose walking tours to explore the French capital of India. Walking tours costs INR 500 (approx.) per person.

 

How Many Days Are Sufficient to Visit Pondicherry?

3-4 days (approx.) are sufficient to explore the French town in India. However, this could be increased depending on the type of travellers you are. If you love leisure around Pondicherry beaches, you should add on 2-3 days (approx.) in your Pondicherry itinerary.
 

Average Travel Budget For Pondicherry:

The budget required for Pondicherry trip is around INR 2000 - INR 2500 (approx.) per person. However, it may increase if you will indulge in the best things to do in Pondicherry, including shopping, eating, sightseeing. This is subject to change price and highly fluctuates the type of accommodation you select.
 

Where to Stay in Pondicherry:

Whether you are a luxury accommodation lover or you seek a budget accommodation, Pondicherry will serve you accommodation according to your budget. The French town has many homestays, hostels, mid-range and luxury range accommodation available. Checkout the best of accommodation as per your travel style:

  • Luxury - Palais De Mahe La Villa, Villa Shanti
  • Mid Range - Villa Anna Pondy, Pondicherry Executive Inn, White Pearl Residency
  • Budget: Villa Umar, La Maison Radha
  • Hostel: Valentine Hostel, Blue Lotus
  • Homestays: Unique Thatch Cabin, Serenity Homestay, House of Mud

 

Where to Eat in Pondicherry?

The French town has a huge influence on Tamil and France culture. Here you can gorge on the Tamil and French cuisine. You must savour the sea food in Pondicherry. If you love seafood like crab, Jhinga Fish, there are plenty of places to eat in Pondicherry.
 

A few of the best restaurant in Pondicherry:

  • Cafe Ecstasy, Baker Street, Juka Choco-La (MG Road)
  • Le Dupleix and Satsanga (White Town)
  • Tanto Pizzeria (Kuliyapalam, Auroville)

Cost: INR 500 - INR 1500 onwards (approx.) for two people

Timings: 11 AM to 11 PM (approx.)

 

Shopping Places in Pondicherry:

The French town of India is fondly famous for its fragrance candles, oil, handmade clothes and crafts. Check out the best shopping places in Pondicherry:

Kalki Boutique: Shop cotton and silk clothes, handmade pieces of jewellery, and unique oils.

La Boutique Auroville: This shopping spot in Pondicherry has one of the best collections of clothes, and scarfs for women.

Geetanjali: For traditional artefacts, carved doors, wooden chests and beautiful paintings and furniture, Geetanjali is the place to go!

The expense of shopping in Pondicherry: Depends on the shopping market.

Timings for shopping in Pondicherry: 10 AM - 8:30 PM

 

Pondicherry Travel Tips:

  • Carry your ID proof in case you want to hire bicycles or self-drive cars.
  • Also, compare the price of the operators and pick the one that suits you.
  • Be a responsible tourist and do not wander alone after sunset.
  • Book your scuba diving activity in advance to avoid hefty prices.
  • English, French and Tamil is widely spoken in Pondicherry.
  • Test your bargaining skills to avoid shopkeepers fooling you.
  • Dress modestly when visiting cultural attractions.
  • Smoking and drinking on the beach is strictly prohibited.
  • A permit is not required to explore Pondicherry.
     

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