If you have only 1 day to spend in Pondicherry, here is an honest suggestion of 5 places, you shouldn’t miss, whilst you are there.
Expenses: Rs.800-1000 per person
Best Time: Round the Year
Transportation and Connectivity:
- Bus from Chennai takes 3-3.5 hours. (Rs. 150)
- Bus/Train from Bangalore takes overnight journey. (Rs. 500-600)
Places to Visit:
- Bodhi Beach: AKA Serenity Beach, is one of the most beautiful and important beaches of Pondicherry. Morning or evening, the ambience is great all the time and is safe from any nuisance.
This is one of the places which will definitely mesmerize you, whether you have been to a beach earlier or not. The sunrise, the breeze, the chill, the boats, the surfers. Seems tempting? Trust me, it most certainly is.
The section of beach is shielded by the layer of big rocks which minimize the effect of the tide. This is an ideal condition for beginner level surfer and swimmers as well. You might spot 2-3 surfer there already practicing.
Just don’t disturb them asking for surfboard just for photos. ☺
It is around 3.5-4 kilometers from the town and is accessible from the local bus as well as direct auto.
Breakfast: There are many restaurants near Bodhi beach, which ranges from South Indian to Sea food. You can choose as your preference.
Transportation: The place is around 3.5-4 kilometers from town. Local bus will take you to the entrance from where the actual beach is just 200 meters (fare Rs. 5/-), hence better to walk.
- Auroville: Auroville is a planned city which homes the citizens from around 150 countries round the world, having its own economy and community. It has a vast area of forest and homes the famous Golden Ball called Matri Mandir.
It will take good 3-4 hours to gasp the beauty of the environment. People from all the parts of world, living together in harmony and peace, quiet and calm environment, what else will be more soothing than this. You cannot go inside the golden ball though, unless you have a prior reservation, which can be obtained at least a day before. You can however view it from a distance.
The area is humongous, covered with greenery and you can rent a cycle as well.
Food: There are many restaurants on the way to Auroville Road from Auroville. Pizza, Idli, Aloo Paratha, name it and you will find it.
Transportation: Auroville Road is around 2 kilometers from Bodhi Beach. From Auroville Road, you can take either auto or mini bus(fare Rs. 50-100/-). It is available all the time.
- The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Built in the Year 1895, this basilica is a sign of heritage of the French Colony in this part of India.
The beautiful construction of interior as well as exterior is truly breathtaking. There are colorful stained glasses & colorful paintings on the ceiling and century old tradition, waiting for you.
It is situated right in front of the Railway Station, and isn’t hard to find, as it can be spotted from considerable distance. You can proceed to MG Road, for some time for local market before proceeding for next location.
- Manakula Vinayagar Temple: Built by Governor General Lord Dupleix, it is a beautiful Lord Ganesha temple, whose idol is made in Dravidian style. The interior is mind blowing and the positive vibe will lessen your stress.
It is a well-maintained temple and really old. Rebuilt multiple times but hasn’t lost is traditional importance. There is not much rush, but if you are visiting around Ganesh Chaturthi, you may experience some rush.
You must not forget to meet goddess Lakshami. She will be standing right outside the temple. As famous as the temple and Lord Ganesha himself, she is not hard to spot. ☺
It is hardly 1.5 kilometers from the Railway station and can be reached via auto.
- Rock Beach: There is no better place you should be in at dusk, rather than the Rock Beach. You can take a walk on the beach road, with vast sea on one side and diversity of people on the other side, you will be hypnotized by the beauty. It is located nearly 200 meters from Vinayagar Temple. There are a lot of eateries around including cafes restaurants, and street food. Some handicraft shops are also here in case you want to buy something for someone special ☺ .
You can spot French colony in back ally, chief secretariat, French war memorial, B R Ambedkar memorial, Gandhi Thidal, Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges, right alongside the beach road. You might even witness some function going on in front of Gandhi Thidal, as it is literally the most happening place in Pondicherry and some programs and function are organized round the year.
Try not to get lost in the maze of White Town. ☺
Right behind the Rock Beach, there is Bharathi Government Park, which is very beautiful, well maintained and relaxing. You can sit there to gaze the sea in front or the Governor’s House in the left.
Entry: Rs. 10/-
Give time a break, visit Pondicherry and witness the Franco-Tamil Culture, and make memories☺.