Voyage A Pondycherry

Pondicherry aka Puducherry is a culmination of two worlds. 2km stretch from sea till mainland takes you back to spirituality, coastal life and French connection – the land beyond this stretch is very similar to any other city in India with crowd, traffic, buildings and congestion.

We took a night sleeper bus from Bangalore and reached Pondicherry early around 7am, checked into a business hotel – Anandham. The south indian breakfast in the hotel was complimentary, may be this feature made it more tastier. Room rent in Anandham ranges between 1400 to 2000 Rs depending upon season and your bargaining power. The hotel has no view as rooms are without any windows.

Places to visit in pondy are Aurobindo Ashram on the street named Rue De La Marine. ( Rue in French means Street ). Kids below 3 are not allowed into premises; I took my kid into a school opposite to ashram and spent good time pondering at aquariums. Ashram is a very serene place and you can actually hear a pin dropping on the floor. Benevolent use of flowers to decorate Samadhi and incense sticks makes the atmosphere pretty meditative. One can buy books published by ashram at sabda and memoirs in the form of incense sticks, essential oils, soaps and potpourri from auroshikha.

Promenade – similar to marine drive of Mumbai is a nice place to hang out , wished people would have respected the beach more and used dust bins rather than littering. La café restaurant on the beach is a nice place to sip cold coffee and gaze at the aggressive sea lashing out its power on boulders lined across the beach. Some scenes of hindi movie Jism were shot at La café.

There are many options to stay at pondy ranging from Rs.100 to Rs. 3000 per person. We stayed at Park – Guest house facility from auronbindo ashram. These guys are choosy in giving the rooms, a holidaying couple may not get a room – there intention is to accommodate only visitors to ashram. Gh has got a good garden, meditation – reading room and a make shift canteen. One can hire cycle for Rs.35 per day and go across the city. Odd canteen time makes it difficult for having regular food especially if you are with kids. Restaurants are plenty and there is no problem to find any kind of food.

We went to Auroville the other day , but couldn’t get into the meditation dome as it requires prior approval. Auroville is a international community living area , where residents are from different countries – its around 15 km from main city. One must carry umbrella , juices and time if one wants to enjoy the place. The bakery at Auroville serves yummy food relished specially by foreigners who visit them. One can buy little upmarket products at boutiques inside auroville.

We then headed to Mahabalipuram , but I think its better to travel to Mblrm from Chennai rather than from pondy. Bargain a lot for any product you purchase here.

Highs about the trip : Solace, French Architecture , Evening Stroll on promenade , noisy Sea, Dolphins swimming near the coast ( carry binoculors)

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Lows : High Temperature , Auto fare – Rs 40 as minimum fare.

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