How do I get to Pondicherry?
- Pondicherry falls on NH 45, which is connected to major South Indian cities. Chennai is 150 kms away, and Bangalore is 320 kms away. You can either drive, or hire a taxi to reach Pondicherry. The drive from Chennai to Pondicherry is on the East Coast Road, and is preferred by many because of the scenic beauty on the drive.
By bus - There are several private and state-owned buses that regularly ply to New Bus Stand, Pondicherry from Chennai, Thanjavur, Trichy, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Madurai.
By train - Puducherry Railway Station is well connected to major cities in India like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Nagpur, Bangalore, Coimbatore, and Hyderabad. It's wise to check train schedules before you make further plans.
By air - Chennai Domestic and International Airport is about 150 kms away from Pondicherry. The city is well connected to major cities in India and abroad. Once you arrive at Chennai, you can hire a private taxi, or take a train or bus, to get to Pondicherry.
How do I get around in Pondicherry?
The most convenient and enjoyable option is renting a scooter or bicycle by the day. There are rental outlets in MG Road, Mission Street, as well as other places. You can also get your resort to hire one for you.
You can also hire a taxi or autorickshaw to move around town. If you're lucky, you might even see a share auto pass by and they charge almost nothing; so hop on and meet new people on the way to your next stop.
Pondicherry Tourism Development Corporation operated daily buses to take tourists around the city. The bus route covers most of the popular sightseeing spots in town.
When's the best time to visit?
Pondicherry is one of the most popular tourism destinations in South India. It is located on the Coromandel Coast, which is why the climate in the region tends to get humid. October through March is the best time to plan a holiday to Pondicherry as the weather is most comfortable then. Summer (March till June) may not be the best time for sightseeing because the weather is hot. But since it's a lean season, prices for accommodation will drop, and popular tourist spots won't be crowded. The showers in June make it a little more bearable. This is a great time to try your hand at different water sports at the beaches in Pondicherry.
Although the intensity of rainfall in the monsoon (July till September) is irregular, it is the perfect time to enjoy the natural beauty in Pondicherry. The city celebrates the birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo in August, and the festivities are worth experiencing!
Winters (October till February) in Pondicherry are pleasantly cool, which makes it the best time for sightseeing. Temperatures range from 20 degrees to 29 degrees celsius; visitors may like to carry light woollens.
What's there to see?
Known as the "French Riviera of the East", Pondicherry is a harmonious amalgamation of 2 main cultures - French, and Tamilian. An interesting collection of heritage churches, buildings, and temples- like Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Notre Dame Des Anges, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple, and the French Quarter- awe tourists with their glorious architecture. With charming buildings and cafes, roaming streets of French Town is an experience by itself. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry Museum and Jawahar Toy Museum are worth a visit. Drop in at the Anglo French Textile Mill, and the Sri Aurobindo Handmade Paper factory if you'd like, and pick up handmade souvenirs to remember your trip by.
You can't leave Pondicherry without spending a day or two at Auroville. The region oozes harmony and tranquility - you're sure to feel at peace being one with nature here. At Auroville, making a trip to Matrimandir is a must! You have never "heard the sound of quiet" until you've visited this monument.
Spend time at the beaches of Pondicherry. Mahe beach, Promenade beach, Aurobindo beach, Paradise beach, Karaikal beach, and the most popular Serenity beach are perfect for relaxation, recreation, and to catch the setting sun. Take a walk down the scenic Promenade beach and stop to take a snap in front of the many monuments like the Mahatma Gandhi statue, and French War Memorial. Take a surfing lesson at Serenity Beach or visit Paradise beach for its lovely swaying palms and vast sandy shores.
What are the things to do?
Pondicherry may be a small city, but there's a boat-load of things to do! Head to the Aurobindo Ashram or Matrimandir and lose yourself in meditation. Rent out a cycle and hit the streets- it's the best way to discover the city, and get a glimpse of the mixed cultures and architecture. Visit the many beaches that Pondicherry calls its own, and get to participate in fun water sports, including surfing. The cocktail of cultures brings with it a spread of delectable fare that is sure to delight your taste buds, so choose a different cuisine for every meal and enjoy your gastronomic adventure!
Pondicherry is also the only place in the south of mainland India that you can experience scuba diving. Temple Adventures is the most established dive center here, so make sure you drop in and book yourself an unforgettable diving escapade!
What to eat and where?
Pondicherry holds an interesting blend of cultures, which shows in its diverse cuisine. French, Italian, Chettinad, all kinds of Indian, Asian, Continental, and coastal cuisines - foodies hit the jackpot in Pondicherry. Finish up with a trip to an Italian gelato parlour for some delicious ice-cream.
Cafe Xtasi (wood-fired pizzas)
Rendezvous Cafe Restaurant (seafood)
Bay of Buddha (Asian)
La Pasta World (Italian)
Café des Arts (French)
Zuka Choco-la (cakes and desserts)
Gelateria Montecatini Terme GMT (gelato)
Auroville Bakery (bakery and cake shop)
How safe is Pondicherry?
Pondicherry is a safe city, and the people are welcoming. Pondicherry is also rated one of the safest cities in India for solo women travelers. However, like anywhere else in the world, it?s good to keep your belongings safe and stay alert.
What are the commonly spoken languages here?
English, Tamil, Hindi and French are the most frequently used languages in Pondicherry.