Pondicherry – The French Riviera of India

After a long week, I decided to break away from the city for the weekend with my sister Geeta. It was a much needed break and the quiet town of Pondicherry, with its serene beaches, French colonial architecture, scenic boulevards and rich and diverse culture, was the ideal location to take things slow and relax.

As we boarded the night bus from Bangalore, our excitement also started inflating. When we get together its hard to keep our mouths shut. We kept talking, talking and talking until our fellow passengers in bus had to alert us to keep it low. (Well.., I don’t blame them, it was half past 12am 😀 ) and then we finally decided to sleep, before the rest of them in the bus would throw us out.

An overnight journey by bus got us to the former French colony. Sleeping late into the wee hours of the night, we had a lot of catching up to do in the comfortable seats of the KSRTC bus. I awoke to droplets of rain glistening in the early rays of the sun and it was a sign of good times to come.

Yaaay, Pondicherry it was when i woke up to the sunrise taunting my sleep from the window. And guess how blissful it looked with fields on either side with the raindrops chasing over themselves on my window.

Got a day at Pondicherry?  Here’s the perfect place to jot down what all u can do in a day. Arrived at 7am from Bangalore, as we took a over night bus (overnight travel is always better to save time). We, Checked in to hotel , got freshen up and we were on roads of Pondicherry by 10am.

Chunnambar Boat House

An auto ride from the hotel through the quiet and surprisingly clean roads of Pondicherry got us to Chunnambar Boat House. It offers a simple boat ride through the clean water of Chunnambar backwaters. Getting there early helped to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and beat the crowds that would gather past noon.

Chunnambar Boat House, Pondicherry
Chunnambar Boat House, Pondicherry
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Chunnambar Boat House, Pondicherry

Paradise Beach

A 15-min ride by auto followed by short ferry ride across the backwaters got us to the beautiful Paradise Beach. This sandy stretch of beach is surrounded by lush coconut palms. The beach was neat to sit along and watch the beautiful landscape. Various water activities such as jet ski and kayaking were available along the beach but we thought otherwise and basked in the sun. The cool sea breeze brought relief as we watched the various shades of blue in the horizon.

Paradise Beach, Pondicherry
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Paradise Beach, Pondicherry
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Along the Paradise Beach, Pondicherry

Sri Aurubindo Ashram

A quick visit to this ashram in White Town was soothing to the soul. We could see people deeply involved in meditation. There is an air of calmness in the ashram. Photography was not allowed to not disturb others. There is also a special room for a person celebrating his/her birthday on that day to meditate in isolation.

The Rock Beach:

The 1.2km rocky beach stretch is ideal for walks in mornings and evenings. Vehicle movement is restricted along this road to aid the tourists and locals alike who come to enjoy the serene beachfront. Numerous restaurants are present along the beachfront. Amazing coffee and a delicious sandwich at Le cafe, with the sound of waves lingering in the background was ideal for us to relax and lift our spirits. There is a French War memorial at the end of the beach dedicated to the residents of French India who gave their lives in the World Wars. Mahatma Gandhi statue and Dupliex Park are other attractions here.

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Rock Beach, Pondicherry
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French War Memorial, Pondicherry
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Tourists bustling along the beachfront with the statue of the Mahatma in the background.


Pondicherry has something to offer for everyone. The clean, wide streets and colonial-type townhouses, the French War memorial and plenty of French restaurants take you back to the French era. Experience the vibrant nightlife and drink away your sorrows on the tax-free liquor. The clean serene beaches, scenic boulevards and plenty of water activities available will delight the beach bum in you. With centre’s like Aurubindo ashram and Auroville among others, Pondicherry is also a hub to explore spirituality, yoga and meditation.

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