In December 2014, after spending a day and a half at Mahabalipuram, we headed to Pondicherry. It took us about two hours to reach Pondicherry by taxi. We wanted to stay close to White Town that has the French quarters and our place of stay was at walking distance from the White Town and Rock Beach.
In the evening we took a stroll and reached the Goubert Avenue. It is a 1.5 km street that has Rock Beach on one side and White Town on the other side. It is a vehicle free zone from evening to morning. We could walk freely in this street. There were a lot of evening walkers. As we walked along the beach, we were delightfully surprised to hear a band, formed by the cops of Tourist Police Unit, perform a few songs which included Christmas carols.
On Day 2, we hired a motorbike and set out to explore distant places in Pondicherry such as Paradise Beach and Auroville. While attempting to reach Paradise Beach with the help of GPS navigation, we happened to find Pooranankuppam Beach nearby. It is 12 km from Rock Beach. It is not visited by many tourists. We found this beach quiet and clean, and spent some time there.
We headed to Paradise Beach which is accessible from Chunnambar Boat House. We took the motor boat ride on backwaters to reach the beach on the other side. This beach is also quite isolated. We found it well maintained and very clean. Back in 2010, I had been here with friends and we had spent full four hours in water convincing the guard who wanted us to leave at the end of every hour as per the rules. This time there were no such rules. But it was hot and we could spend only about an hour at the beach and a few minutes for refreshments.
We reached Auroville, an experimental township also known as the City of Dawn. We went to the visitor centre at Aurovile and walked to the Matrimandir.
It was late evening by the time we reached the Rock Beach area. We found a nice little restaurant named L'Été Indien which we visited multiple times for the delicious food they served and the relaxing experience. The Pomfret fry they make is a must try.
We sat by Rock Beach. Watching the waves hit the rocks at night, the sound of it, the calmness around, and the windy breeze was ecstatic.
There are many good restaurants in the area. We tried a couple of them. Le Club, known for serving traditional French cuisine, served us gratifying pizza.
On Day 3, we walked to the Botanical Garden.
There is a fossil called Mesembrioxylon tiruvakkaraianum. The geological age of this fossil is around 20 million years old. This is a petrified fossil that originated from Tiruvakkarai of Cuddalore Sandstone.
After spending some time at the Botanical Garden we headed back to explore the White Town. We visited Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Pondicherry Museum. The museum has bronze articles including arms and weapons. It also has terracota figures, urns and other items excavated from the nearby places of historical importance. It also displays French coins, rickshaws of earlier Pondicherry, etc.
Here are some of the pictures we clicked as we roamed in White Town.
The architecture of the area is a reminder that once upon a time Pondicherry was part of French India.
After a few hours at Pondicherry Beach and dinner at Le Club, we took a night bus back to Bangalore. Pondicherry makes a perfect getaway from Bangalore for a long weekend. We look forward to visiting Pondicherry again sometime.