Pondicherry or Puducherry is the perfect getaway for anybody who needs a break from their busy and happening life! Though people have an image of Pondicherry as the ‘French beauty’, the place is a perfect amalgamation of French and Tamil cultures in its right amount.
One of the most beautiful (and convenient) things about Puducherry is that you can roam around the city and manage to see everything, even within a short time!
However, it is always better to keep the list of things to do in a place handy before the visit for clarity! Let us check out the Best Things To Do In Pondicherry
1. Heritage walk- Things To Do In Pondicherry
Out of all the touristic attractions in the city, the resplendent architecture is the main thing that draws travellers across the world to visit this tiny place. You can see beautiful French architecture in the French quarters whereas extremely traditional Tamil structure in the Tamil quarters. Be sure you don’t miss out on any major buildings in Puducherry which portray different styles of the building! To make sure that you don’t miss any highlights, we have an organization called INTACH. The guides who work under INTACH will take you around Puducherry and detail about the architectural heritage and its features. The bookings should be made at least a week before.
Visit http://www.intachpondicherry.org/Getinvolues_contactus.php for the contact details.
Cost: 800/- per person.
2. The Beaches of Puducherry
Pondicherry Beach also known as Rock Beach is the most famous amongst all beaches. Different shops and cafés are lining the shores where you can have a heartful shopping and unwind later, sipping a cup of hot coffee with the view of the beach! It is 1.5 km long and open only for pedestrians from 5.30 am to 8.00 pm. Now that you can go down by the shore, it has become busier than ever!
An evening walk through the beach shouldn’t be missed! There are various other beaches afar from the buzz of the city like Serenity, Paradise and Auroville.
3. Aurobindo Ashram
Amidst the noisy streets, Aurobindo Ashram is the place you would love you linger around to experience the kind of inner peace! It is considered as a holy place where people pay respect to Shri. Aurobindo and his devoted follower Meera (known to be the ‘mother’!). The ashram is the place where their ‘samadhi’ (cremated spot) is, and hence utmost care is taken to maintain ‘pin-drop silence’ since there are a lot of people meditating and praying in the ashram. There is a book shop inside and once in a year they open the house where Shri. Aurobindo spent his life. The opening dates might vary.
Timings: 8 am to 12 noon and then again from 2 pm to 6 pm.
No entry fees.
4. Auroville and Matrimandir
Remember, your trip to Puducherry is incomplete if you haven’t visited Auroville and Matrimandir! Auroville, in my opinion, is the cultural symbol of Puducherry. Just half an hour away from the central city of Pondicherry is the neighbourhood of Auroville- a beautiful spectacle not to be missed. There is a community in Auroville, popularly called as the ‘aurovilleans. They engage in making handmade candles, handwoven clothes, soaps, perfumes and much more which are available on the shops inside (The top-notch quality is guaranteed with a not-so-affordable cost too!) There are eateries where you can try different organic and healthy juices, salads, cakes and cookies.
There is also an information centre in the entrance where you will get all the background details of Auroville and Matrimandir. After the visit, I would suggest you walk around the place (outside Auroville) a little. You will find many cafés, the best and the authentic Italian Pizza shops and other stores which sell the Auroville products at cheap rates. Though nothing is close to each other, exploring is a good option. Isn’t it?
To avoid the chaos and to get a clear picture of Auroville, you can contact the visitor’s centre- 2622239 or the website www.auroville.org.
No entry fee.
Timings: 9:30 a.m – 12:30 p.m
1:00 p.m – 4:00 p.m
Open from Monday- Friday.
5. The Botanical Garden
Is anybody interested to witness the exotic variety of flora bloomed under one roof? Well, if yes, here is the Botanical Garden of Puducherry set-up long back in 1826 by French invaders. Another fascinating aspect of the garden is the French architecture. Although many are not fond of visiting such gardens, the botanical garden is yet another major attraction of Puducherry!
Timings: 9 am to 6.00 pm.
Entry fees: 20/- per person. (Free for kids below 12 years)
6. Shopping- Things To Do In Pondicherry
The joy of street-shopping is unexplainable! And, Pondicherry is the best when it comes to street-shopping. There are two major markets – Goubert Market and the Sunday market (which is set-up only on Sundays) which will show you the city in its most original form. There are a lot of people moving around, noise, bargaining and suffocation. But, in the end, I guarantee you the most satisfying shopping experience ever!
Handmade papers, candles, Auroville perfumes and soaps are the unique things in Puducherry. You can go for shopping or walking around at any time of the day.
The city is always wide awake!
Pondicherry is at its best during November, December, January and till the mid of February. However, avoid coming during the months of April and May because of the extreme weather.
Check out the best cafes in Pondicherry on my blog.