Planning A Getaway Soon? Try These Top Things To Do In Pondicherry

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For a slice of Europe, closer to home, Pondicherry has always been our exotic, quick getaway from Chennai. The best part about Pondy is that you can go with your friends, family, or fly solo and they'll always be something for everyone. A dip in the sea, walk in the lanes of White Town, or gobbling up Pondy famous treats — the options are endless. Now, to make all this easy to access, we have curated a list of the best things you could do in Pondicherry.

Shopping

Do some gift shopping in and around Pondy — you can get gorgeous dresses from Anokhi, leather bags and jackets Hidesign's flagship store with some crazy discounts. If you are on a budget and looking for more discounts, check out Titanic for some export surplus shopping. Also, Mission Street is where you go to stock up on your shopping bags; eco-friendly and sustainable products. Do remember to check out Casablanca on Mission Street — home to some beautiful collections from local designers!


Tuck Into Seafood

Bon Appetit! What’s the point of coming all the way to Puducherry without stuffing your face with the fresh catch of the day? If you don’t mind splurging a bit, the gorgeous Palais de Mahe Hotel has a lovely restaurant that serves incredible seafood at their in-house café and specialty coffees that are sourced from neighbouring Auroville. You can also head to Le Pondy which is located within thatched huts for peaceful conversations and food. Fish Aurant in Heritage Town is another delightful place where you can find a variety of South Indian seafood variations. 

Cafes And Desserts

The rare mix of the Tamilian and French heritage gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to food in Pondy! The little town is filled with multi-cuisine options when it comes to cafes and sinful french desserts. Head to Bread and Chocolate for some freshly baked delights. You can also head to ZUKA Choco-la-te café which offers a range of chocolate-y desserts and more. We loved Kasha Ki Aasha which is a heritage cafe that is a women run and led cafe boasting of the fluffiest pancakes and good brewed coffees to try. If you want to try out of French cuisine then La Maison Rose is another place to head to. Click here to find more about the best dessert places! 

Scuba Diving

A couple of daredevils, are we now? Take a deep dive into the cool waters of the Arabian Sea and gawk at the incredible marine life down under. Organised by Temple Adventures, they have 20 underwater sites ranging from 12-metres to 50-metre depth. And the best part? We hear you don’t even need to get your own underwater cameras, you can get these guys to take a picture of you swimming in the deep sea. 

Auroville

People from different societal backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities practice a peaceful life of sustainable living here. A 15 km drive from Pondicherry, go sightseeing, visit ashrams, pick up handicrafts, and even watch performances like fire shows and plays (most of them are free!) at their auditorium (subject to changes, of course). You can even stay at one of their many cool, budget-friendly homestays for INR 400 per night! Currently, the ashram and Matrimandir are open only for long-term guests and volunteers, however the guidelines keep getting updated. 

Soak Up The Sun And Sand

The best part about Pondy is the sheer serenity that it provides. The long walks along the Promenade Beach are as dreamy as it can get. You can catch mesmerising sun rises and sun sets here. If you want a quieter place with less crowd then you can head to Maha Beach. Or you can sit by Rock Beach in the evening with an ice-cream. 

Water Sports

Did you think diving was the only option here? Well, no. You can head to Serenity beach if you want to give surfing a shot. This is the most popular surfing spot where you'd find many amateurs and professionals give waves a hit with their boards. Promenade Beach and the others also offer banana boat ride which starts from about INR 300 onwards. You can also try out Jet Skiing which starts at INR 450 onwards. 

Boating At Chunnambar River

The beaches and sands are alright, but did you know about this hidden gem? Pristine waters and greenery on its banks, the Chunnambar River is a place to go for picnics, boat rides, and stay up tree houses. The backwater boating will be an ethereal experience. You can try out banana boat rides here, or you can go for pedal, or motorboats too. What is even more special is that you can set up your own tent by the banks of the sea and enjoy the peace and serenity. 

Get Spiritual At Aurobindo Ashram

If you want to find the peace of soul then you must head to Sri Aurobindo Ashram set up in 1926. You can even book a stay here! If you offer to do a few a chores, you can even stay for free. Along with the calming and peaceful surroundings, they are mostly known to host various yoga and meditation sessions every now and then. You are always welcome to be a part of it. A little away from the ashram is the Matrimandir which is a known meditation house where people from around the world come to seek peace. Currently, the ashram and Matrimandir are open only for long term guests and volunteers, but new guidelines are being implemented.

Visit Ancient French Churches

Pondy has some of the most beautiful churches. One of the must-visit churches in town would be the Dumas Church on Rue Dumas. This happens to be the only church in town to still conduct mass in French. The tiny, peaceful lanes at the French Quarter and the vintage design, gives us a feeling of being in an old town in France! Churches in Pondicherry are magical and filled with history.

Stay In An Ancient French Building

White Town and most of the French Quarter is filled with colourful, ancient buildings. It's lucky for us, because most of them are hotels! Check into places like Dune Mansion Enclave or the Hotel De L'Orient on Rue Romain Rolland, to experience vintage architectures, furniture and baths. Spoil yourself with the best food, and chill in a stone bathtub filled with bubbly warm water and a glass of wine. 

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