5 Best things to do in Pondicherry in two days

There are so many things to do in Pondicherry , but when you have got just 2 days you need to figure out the best things to do in those two days. It was a long weekend of April, 2012 when we headed to Pondicherry for just 2 days. We were urging to break from the city madness and visit somewhere delightful nearby. Pondicherry immediately came to our mind. Although it was the peak of summer season, yet we couldn’t brush aside the temptation of a pleasant road trip. And hence we packed our bags and set in our vehicle on a drive to this beautiful union territory of South India.

We started early in the morning. By 6 am we were actually out of the Bangalore boarders. It was a beautiful drive of almost 6 hours, mostly through state highway that passed amidst beautiful countryside. We had halted on our way for breakfast around 8am. After this, we drove straight to Pondicherry. We spent nearly 1.5 days in Pondicherry. And from our experience, here goes the list of best things to do in Pondicherry over 1.5 to two days.

1) Promenade Beach #1 – things to do in Pondicherry

We reachedPondicherry at around 3 o’clock. After checking-in into our hotel and having a nice lunch we headed straight to the Promenade (Rocky) beach, which was at around 10 minutes walk from our hotel. This beach has a nice provision to sit around on the rocks. There is a long stretch of pavement along the coastline,  and a road runs parallel to it. I wondered how lucky of those who live just along the coast. They have such a super lovely morning walk trail. Actually, vehicles are not allowed on this road in the early and evening hours, letting the pedestrians have a super time walking leisurely across the beach.

Things to do in Pondicherry
The rocky promenade beach

After a long drive, it was an absolute refresher to sit on this beach and see the waves crushing on the rocks. After a good hour or so, we decided to walk along the pavement, passing several nice monuments on our way. On our way back, we stopped for snacks on a beach side small restaurant with open seating , watching the sea and the numerous activities going on the beach.

We then walked around the french style houses in the streets adjacent to the beach. While on our way back to our hotel, we had dinner at a local cafe. Then we came back to the hotel and called it a day.

Next day morning, we headed for a day long tour. We struck a nice deal with an autorickshaw driver just outside the gates of the hotel. He agreed to be with us the whole day and take us around all the spots that were worth visiting in Pondicherry.

2) Auro Beach #2 – Things to do in Pondicherry

We first headed to Auro beach. It is fine sand beach on the eastern coast. Actually, totally contrary to the Promenade beach, this one is swallo, has fine sand and is totally for playing into the water. Since the water is swallow, thus making it an absolute delight for the swimmers. We spent a nice morning hour here, strolling on the beach, along the coast. Also, we collected a huge number of shells from the coast (perhaps with nothing better to do 😛 ) before we thought to bid farewell to this beach.

3) Auroville #3 – Things to do in Pondicherry

Next, from Auro beach, we headed to Auroville. It is an experimental township where people of all nationalities live together in absolute harmony. The concept of the township is to let people live and thrive together in harmony , no matter which caste, rase or religion they belong to. A major population of Auroville is foreign nationals. The township also boasts to be self sufficient. The people of Auroville work together to maintain their ecosystem, with the help of workers employed from nearby villages. They have their own farms, dairy farms, schools, hospitals, market, shops, and anything else that you can think of that is required to sustain a modern life. Must say, Auroville was a unique experience that we had.

Auroville Pondicherry Things to do in Pondicherry

Things to do in Pondicherry

In the center of Auroville lies Matrimandir, a huge meditation center. It can be seen from far and wide even outside of Auroville. Read more about the interesting township in my post here.

4) Paradise Beach #4 – Things to do in Pondicherry

By the time we were out of Auroville, it was afternoon. We then had lunch. Post lunch we headed to Paradise beach. We went to the beach via boat ride upon a backwater lake. Paradise beach is no less than what its name suggests. It is a soft sandy beach formed on the coast, almost secluded. The water on this beach is a pristine turquoise blue and the sand fine white. The water is very swallow on the shore but soon becomes deep. So, swimming is permitted only on the shores . Even the currents get pretty strong as you go further in the sea.

This beach is privately maintained. And, it is absolutely neat and clean. It has abundant options of food, restroom and resting shacks right on the shore. It is around 8km from the main city. And we found it to be one of the most beautiful and clean beaches in India that we have visited so far. We played in water and then rested on this beach for a couple of hours. Although I had to literally drag myself to leave from here.

The only teaser that kept crossing my mind was why I didn’t do my due diligence before. If I knew of this beach before, I would have planned for at least half a day solely on this.  But alas, it was too late now. The last return ferry from the beach back to the shore was around 5:30. We boarded this ferry and then returned back to board our autorichshaw waiting on the road.

Things to do in Pondicherry
Paradise beach

 

5) Sri Aurovindo Aashram #5 – Things to do in Pondicherry

It was already 6 by the time we reached back in the main town. Before closing our day we visited the famous Aurovindo aashram. This Aashram is a spiritual centre for those seeking inner peace. The aashram was started as a small community gathering center by Sri Aurovindo when he settled in Pondicherry. Later it grew in popularity and strength with each passing day. Now, it is one of the most famous places to visit in Pondicherry. While the roots of the community of Sri Aurovindo lies in this Aashram, the members now reside all across Pondicherry.

They gather in the morning and evening for the prayers and meditation centers. We were just in time for the late evening meditation session. We participated in the meditation for around half an hour. The Aashram looked quiet abuzz with activities at this point of time.

Back to the hotel

From Aurovindo Aashram, we headed back to the Promenade beach for an evening stroll. Tonight, we stayed till late at the beach. Then we returned back to our hotel for the night. Tonight, we had dinner in the hotel itself. Post dinner we retired to a restful sleep. Next day post breakfast we started our trip back to Bangalore. It were a nicely spent 2 days weekend and the memories were built forever! I would anytime vote Pondicherry for a lovely family weekend getaway from any of the metropolitans of South India. Well, writing this post itself makes me carve to go there again.

Tips for a trip to Pondicherry

  1. Plan for a 3-4 days trip if you want a leisurely trip
  2. Nearest airport is Chennai. You can hire a cab or take a bus from Chennai to Pondicherry
  3. The place is well connected to rest of the cities of South India via road as well as rail network
  4. A road trip from Bangalore would take around 5 hours.
  5. Spend at least half a day at Auroville and another half day at Paradise beach
  6. You can then keep one more day for the rest of the sites
  7. Visit some more places which we couldn’t cover in our plan
  8. Take a morning walk or evening stroll on the Promenade beach for sure
  9. Try out the local cafes. Most of them have delicious food
  10. The place has a beautiful laid back culture, try to slow down a little when here, to match the pace and enjoy the place to the best
  11. It gets extremely hot in the summer months of March – June. Best time to visit would be between November to February.

2 days in Pondicherry, what to do and what all to see - rocky beach, sandy beach, auroville and a lot more

 

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98 Responses

  1. […] then we slowly became a frequent traveler. Having traveled to many parts of India including Ooty, Pondicherry, Shimla & Manali, Kodaikanal, Lepakshi, Mysore, Goa, Hampi […]

  2. […] So far, we have mostly covered parts of the Indian subcontinent including : Ooty, Kodaikanal, Pondicherry, Jaipur, Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh, Ranakpur, Shimla & Manali, Goa, Kerala, Mysore, Lepakshi & […]

  3. Pondicherry has always been on my radar but somehow never got the chance to visit. Have heard so much about Auroville and the unique living culture over there. Am definitely going tolan a trip soon and will keep your tips handy.

    • I can bet you have not heard anything that is exaggerated. The place is really so magical. I will love to hear your experience when you manage a trip

  4. Pondicherry is lovely. I love the vintage French aura associated with the place. We were there last year and had a wonderful time. Auroville is indeed a serene place to spend time in.

    • Auroville is definitely a unique experience in Pondicherry. And the beaches are also very lovely here

  5. This place looks beautiful! Of course I love great beaches, this one belongs to them, but I like to see more of the area and there’s definitely more to see 🙂

  6. Love Pondicherry.. Have been there twice.

    Especially the French Quarters and paradise beach are my favorites. But one of my friend recently visited pondy and he said that Paradise beach is no more the way it used to be due to the cyclone.

    • Oh I am really sad to hear that. Hope nature slowly restores itself, because that was the most lovely beach of all I have so far visited in south India

  7. Puducherry looks very beautiful. I have not been to India yet but its in the plan as of next year. India seems like it has 2 completely different sides. Looking forward to getting there myself.

    • India has many different landscapes from mountains to beaches, natural parks to deserts. It has everything to offer that you can ask from mother nature

  8. It’s good that Pondicherry is connected to the rest of India by rail. I’ve heard of Chennai before, but not Pondicherry. My birthday is between November & February so……..

  9. travellingslacker

    Great snippets from Pondicherry. I went there only once but it was during extreme summer and dd not enjoy it much. I think I need one more trip to make up for that.

    • Hmmm… we also went in extreme summer actually. It was so hot and humid. Now when I look back, I wonder how did we even survive when the fact is actually we thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Perhaps because we had headed here without much expectations and the experience was much better

  10. Puducherry looks very beautiful. I knew that India has so many beautiful beaches, this one looks very good. Take a note for my travel to India next year 🙂 thank you

    Stefano

  11. Pondicherry is one of the best places from Bangalore for a holiday. It is neither too far nor too near. And the beaches are the best there. Did you go to Subramania Bharati’s house there? Worth a visit with kids.

    • No Indrani, we couldn’t make it there. We definitely will when we get a chance to visit Pondicherry the next time

  12. Wow, those beaches. I still remember the paradise beach. Nice article

  13. Pondicherry looks like a great place. I love the concept the town has. The meditation centre reminds me of Epcot! Surreal

  14. Brown Gal Trekker

    India has so many options for beaches. Never heard of this one but if I’m in Chenna, I may just pay it a visit. Looks like a lovely place to relax.

    • Sure, you would love it. India has a very long coastline that runs on both east and west side of the country. It is marked by many different beaches from rocky to sandy, white sand or yellow sand .. fine sand .. you just name it 🙂

  15. Pondicherry is one of my favourite places in India. It was my first solo trip so it will always be special. When I was in Pondicherry I was happily surprised to see the Masi Magam festival going on in other part of the city. Not many go to the Tamil Pondicherry. It is full of life.

    • Pondicherry is our favorite too. It is our first destination that we had driven down to. You were lucky to catch the festival

  16. It must be really hot in pondicherry in April. I remember going in March and couldnt enjoy much due to heat.. But you seem to be fine with it and seem to have enjoyed it.

    • It was very hot in April. Now when I think, I don’t know how exactly we managed to enjoy even in the scorching heat 😀

  17. Although Paradise Beach sounds tempting, I think what would really draw me to Pondicherry is to experience Auroville. It really sounds like paradise. Imagine the entire world lived like that, in harmony with each other. Would be fantastic.

  18. Puducherry is such a beautiful place. Neemrana has lovely properties there. What all did you eat out there??

    • It is very beautiful. We had most of our breakfast and dinner in the beach side shacks and some cozy cafes. We tried continental food a lot, even the small cafes seemed to have delicious options.

  19. Adam, Bite of Iceland

    I’ve been there in January 🙂 Gosh, I have amazing memories from that trip! I I stayed there in an amazing old house 🙂

    • Wow..I would love to stay in an old house there.. must have been a beautiful experience

  20. I cant believe there’s actually a pedestrian only zone there. I’ve never seen one anywhere in India. In fact that’s usually why I never find Indian cities to be a pleasant experience unfortunately. Interesting definetly, but most certainly not pleasant or relaxing 🙂

    • I can totally understand. India is not a pedestrian friendly destination … to put it bluntly. I get frustrated often walking the distance from bus stop to my home because of the difficulty I have to face while walking. That is the reason I highlighted this part of Pondicherry in my post. It is a real pleasure to experience a pedestrian only zone in India 🙂

  21. Pondicherry sounds amazing. What an interesting mix of spiritual centres and beautiful beaches. Paradise beach is especially attractive, like it was in the Philippines or the Caribbean.

  22. I love the photos, it looks like you had a wonderful time. The beach is my fav. place.

  23. Great guide on the beaches to check out. 10 minutes walk to Promenade beach from the hotel is pretty good. It sounded like a lot of fun going around to all the different beaches. Too bad you didn’t have more time at Paradise Beach but these things happen. Auroville sounds like an interesting little community. I’m glad they are trying to live together to set an example for others.

    • You are right. You can never get tired of a place that you love. Same happened with us at Paradise beach. But then, Pondicherry has so much to offer, different kind of things, you can choose what you want to do. And yes, Auroville is one of a kind place, I hope others learn from their example and one day we achieve absolute world peace in real terms

  24. Looking at these pictures when it’s winter in Russia is really making me want to drop everything and head to Pondicherry! Itd be so nice to take a stroll on the beach. Loved this post!

    • I know. When you are tired of the winters and they never seem to recede, a tropical beach provides the ultimate relaxing atmosphere

  25. Such a wonderful place Pondicherry is. It looks like a great destination to visit some day.

  26. Kathy - Walkabout Wanderer

    I haven’t been to Pondicherry on my previous visits to India but I will be back in India in march and I think I will be heading to this area. Thanks for sharing about it. I will save it and make sure i take a trip here.

    • Thanks Kathy. I know it will be a wonderful trip , you will enjoy it a lot

  27. Pondicherry is so calm and beautiful reminded me of childhood days when I went there

  28. What a helpful place. Paradise beach sounds and looks like a great place to soak up the rays. Oddly enough, Paradise by Coldplay just came on my Spotify as I was reading this 🙂

  29. I have such a connection to the sea. I love the photos of the beach.

  30. Soraya @ Hello Raya

    Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. This is a great round up of places to visit and I hope one day I will be able to make it here. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Soraya, we did have a wonderful trip to Pondicherry. Already carving to return back here

  31. Pondicherry looks like an awesome place to visit!! Paradise Beach sounds amazing. Thank you for offering such fantastic tips and advice!

    • Thanks Jackie. It is a small beautiful place to visit. Auroville is quiet an experience, so is a walk around the rocky beach

  32. I am from Bangalore. This looks like a prefect roadtrip from here. Time to hit the French colony.

  33. I was in Pondy a couple of years back on new year’s eve. Guess what, we landed there with no reservation and it was quite an adventure hunting for a decent hotel room to sleep at 11.00 in the night. All the hotels were fully booked and we finally found a shabby dorm. We returned within a day with a lesson learnt- not to venture out on new year’s eve without pre booking. Reading your post makes me feel like going back to Pondicherry and explore it at leisure 🙂

    • You should do that Sindhu..you will love the place if you plan a little bit and go, particularly during the new year time because it is so packed (all the places are) during this time. We recently learnt a similar lesson, just two days back on our year end vacation where we had planned a little late and had to book whatever hotel was available, at the last moment. And the hotel definitely turned out to be a big disappointment

  34. It looks like you had such a great trip! I’m slightly jealous of this trip. I have not even really heard of Pondicherry, but now it’s on my list of places I want to visit!

    • Thanks Krysten. It’s a complement that my writing makes you want to go here. Whenever you will be able to travel to this place, I am sure you will love it

  35. It’s shockingly hard to find an unspoilt beach these days. Pondicherry sounds absoloutely lovely! I like that you included what’s nearby as well.

    • Thank you. Definitely Paradise beach is not going to disappoint you in terms of cleanliness

  36. Auroville sounds like a pretty amazing place! Do you when this community began? I am going to have to look into this a bit closer I think. There is a lot of really nice photos also!

    • Do check my post on Auroville , it is such a wonderful place that I dedicated one post to it 🙂

  37. Lovely guide!! Its so useful!! Paradise Beach is awesome! Great post and photos as always 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us

  38. Blonde Seashell

    The paradise beach souns like I place I would love to stay in the sun. The beaches in Bali are not always as clean. Really like reading your posts and the tips are very helpful for planning a trip!

    • Thank you Nadine. This one beach was exceptionally clean and fine sandy beach. Loved it here

  39. Fair Dinkum Traveller

    I don’t think two days is enough because Pondicherry looks amazing. Great coastal views, you know I love them. Great scenic walks, which there is nothing better to do. I might just need to add this beautiful place to the bucket list. It is a long bucket list.

    • Fair assessment. Pondicherry can be enjoyed for longer. It’s the best we could do with just two days at hand

  40. So excited to read your post. I’m hoping to visit India next year (had a trip planned this year but had to cancel). I’ve never heard of Pondicherry so I’ll add it to my list.

    • Great to hear that Debra. I will be waiting to hear your stories from India :). Do let me know if you would need anything

  41. what a beautiful place to visit With many interesting sites to see it would be great and very educational visit.

  42. I am SO jealous!!! I want to travel so badly…. Sharing with my husband..

  43. It looks beautiful! What an amazing trip!

  44. Funny I always thought Pondicherry was somehow in Dorset or on the English coast its name is so British. It does look beautiful though I am a big fan of beaches and sitting on the rocks watching the waves crash down.

    • It was one of the port towns in ancient time. But the one thing that the name brings to my mind is the thought of the tranquility I felt at this destination like nowhere else

  45. Hmmm, Auroville sounds like an interesting place. What most stood out to you about visiting it? Could you tell that it was more diverse than other parts of India?

    • If you talk about the representation of different cultures and diversities inside one single township then indeed it is very diverse. But you don’t see all the citizen of Auroville all the time. I was deeply moved by the concept of peace and harmony that runs in its roots. I liked the meditation center the most, wish I could have experienced it from inside.

  46. Love anywhere with a good beach, I think we would prefer the Auro Beach over the Promenade beach which looks a little to rocky. Paradise beach also looks lovely. I really like that they have walking trails as well and places to grab a nice snack.

    • It’s nice to have three altogether different kind of beaches in one single town. You get to experience them all

  47. Omg I have heard about Auroville!! How long did you stay and what was it like?! Your pictures are awesome!

    • Even I didn’t know much about Auroville before we went here. We spent almost half our day here. It was a wonderful experience, you can read the details in my other post on Auroville.

  48. I’ve never heard of Pondicherry but it really does look like paradise, and Auroville sounds like such a great idea!

  49. I have read so much about India recently and would really like to start planning a trip there in the near future. Well, I will have to wait a few years probably until we have enough time for a proper visit. All the places, such as Pondicherry, really sounds amazing. 🙂

  50. Ah, another place in India that has not appeared on my radar, but that looks like a great place to visit. India is certainly full of places like it! If I find myself in the Chennai area, will hopefull be in a position to add Pondicherry to my itinerary 🙂

  51. I was just discussing about Pondicherry with my husband and was telling him that we should definitely plan a visit super soon! Thanks for such amazing tips; I am definitely going to refer back when we plan our trip next year! 🙂

  52. That Auroville sounds an interesting place.

    How did it come into being? Do you know if it has grown and lured people organically, or did they actively seek people who would suit their community beliefs & philosophy?

    • It was founded by Mirra Alfassa who was a spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo and also the Executive President of Sri Aurobindo Society. Both Alfassa and Sri Aurobindo have following world wide. So, I guess the people would have automatically come and joined, starting with the followers. And then the words would have slowly spread to others too. There are certain criteria that one must fulfill in order to get a citizenship of the Auroville Society. Details are mentioned on their website

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