Trip to Pondicherry - A Complete Travel Guide - The Humble World

Trip to Pondicherry - A Complete Travel Guide

We are here with a fantastic destination for your next trip to Pondicherry or Pondy, Pondicherry name is derived from the Tamil word Putucceri "In Tamil words, Putu means New and Ceri means Village" which French changed to Pondicherry and later is officially changed to Puducherry in 2006. 

Pondicherry is full of amazing beaches, rich heritage, and fascinating history. We are going to share our experiences and help you plan your next trip to this beautiful French colonial city. 

Let's begin to know more about Pondicherry.

Cafe des Arts Pondicherry
Cafe des Arts Pondicherry

About Pondicherry

Pondicherry is one of the nine Union Territories of India, that shares its boundary with the state of Tamil Nadu and is situated on the Southern coast of India. Pondicherry is located on the Coromandel Coast in the Bay of Bengal. The city is hampered with amazing beaches, legacy buildings, lush greenery, and unmatchable food, certainly making it an ideal destination for millions of travelers across the globe, photographers, and nature lovers. 

Beautiful evening near Rock Beach in Pondicherry
Beautiful evening near Rock Beach in Pondicherry

We found this place far from the chaos of life where we enjoyed our day on a beach, visited the museum to know much of the history, sat in a cafe with some cool music and made a delightful evening for ourselves, and lastly, we got an awesome experience to do the meditation.

We visited Pondicherry in the month of September 2021. We needed a break from our monotonous weeks and weeks of work, so took this vacation and started planning for our trip to Pondicherry.

We did find out the history of Pondicherry while planning our trip, which really came as a surprise to us. Let me share the history of Pondicherry in brief, which you should know before reaching here so that you can relate the architecture and the design of the city.

Pondicherry was ruled by European colonies like the French, Portuguese, Dutch, and British over the years. From the beginning of the 16th century, foreign countries started invading the east coast of India after realizing its importance. 

The Portuguese set up the first trading center in Pondicherry, followed by the Danes and Dutch. Later Portuguese invited the French to trade and set up their colonies. The latter started modernizing the place with the construction of forts, churches, embracing French architecture.

French architecture is clearly visible in White Town
French architecture is clearly visible in White Town

The Britishers came and captured the city from the French, but they had to return it under the Treaty of Paris. During the British period in India, the French had control of Pondicherry, Yanam, Mahe, Karaikal, and Chandernagar. Around for 138 years, there was a reign of the French in these regions, even after the independence till 1954. 

Finally, in 1954, Pondicherry became the Union Territory of India.

Fun Fact#1: Do you know that there is a monument in Pondicherry that is considered as the property of France, even today? Comment your answer now if you know and cross-check later once I reveal the name.

Now the important question is When To Visit Pondicherry?

What is the Best time to visit Pondicherry?

You should definitely consider the weather and climatic condition while visiting Pondicherry if you want your trip worthy and astonishing. 

The Best time to visit Pondicherry is from October to March.

The southern part of the country experiences the hot and humid in the whole year except at the beginning of winters till it ends. So try to plan during these months. Trust me the weather plays a major role in exploring this beautiful city.

Why I am saying to consider weather is because when we went to Pondicherry, the climate was very hot, we actually desired to stay put in our AC room instead of going out under the burning sun to see places.

Scenic view in Rock Beach, Pondicherry
Scenic view in Rock Beach, Pondicherry

Once you have answered the 'When', the next would be how to reach Pondicherry?

How to Reach Pondicherry?

Pondicherry is well connected via airway, roadway, or railway. We went to Pondicherry by Bus from Bangalore, which we booked from the red bus. Our bus was at 10.30 PM and reached there by 6-6.30 AM. The bus journey was decent. We booked a sleeper bus so that we could sleep properly at night. 

There are several frequent buses from Chennai, Bangalore, Madurai, etc. Both state government and private buses are available.

But if you are coming from far and want to save some time on traveling, you can choose an airway to reach Pondicherry. The airport in Pondicherry is small and can have the landing of a few flights, you may get the flights from Bangalore and Hyderabad. The next nearest airport is Chennai domestic as well as international airport, which is well connected to many major cities. It is around 135km from Pondicherry. After reaching the airport, you can book any private taxi or cab to Pondicherry.

The cheapest way to reach Pondicherry is the Indian Railway. The nearest railway station is Villupuram, about 35 KM from the town. The rail is well connected to the cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, etc. You can directly take a taxi or auto-rickshaw after reaching the station.

The most exciting route is a road drive from nearby cities like Chennai and Bangalore. The view from Chennai to Pondicherry is scenic and gives a phenomenal view of the Bay of Bengal. You will love this if you are traveling with friends or family. You can book a cab or take your own car and enjoy this marvelous ride to Pondicherry.

Where to stay in Pondicherry?

After When and HowWhere to stay in Pondicherry is the next important aspect to choose. You will find many options of good Hotels and villas in Pondicherry. The stay is something where we become extra conscious because a good vibe in your hotel means a soothing holiday. So we did a lot of research and found this classy hotel with moderate rates Hotel Annamalai International, which is just at the center of the city.

If you want to live in Portuguese-style architecture, there are many options of hotels, villas, and apartments in the White Town area. You can check on that.

Tip: Read the review on the internet before booking. Book your hotel prior to save yourself from unnecessary tension.

After reaching, what is the best mode of transport in Pondicherry is probably the last thing you have to worry about.

What is the best mode of transport in Pondicherry?

As we reached Pondicherry in the morning, we took an auto-rickshaw. The auto driver was very helpful to us, he asked if we need a rental bike and took us directly to the rental bike shop. We booked a bike for 2 days, till our stay. He took an ID card and gave us a bike for rent. There were many options for Scooty in different ranges. We took a suitable bike and headed to our pre-booked hotel.

Public transport in Pondicherry is kind of a hassle. Also, auto-rickshaw and private cabs charge a hefty amount to go anyplace. So the best option for travelers is to rent a bike or scooter which is easily available in the majority of the locations.

The rented bikes or scooters are cheaply available at around 300 to 500 per day, which one can take to any place and hidden beaches or cafes.

Also, If you are planning to visit Auroville, the route to Aurovialla is best to cover in scooter, the drive is really soothing and fun as one can see lush green trees around the roads and many chilled-out cafes.

If you are traveling with the family it is best to rent a car.

Note: If you want a local guy's number for renting a scooter at a really cheaper rate, please mention it in the comment section.

Places to visit in Pondicherry in 2 days?

Day 1: White Town --> Promenade Beach  --> Mahatma Gandhi Statue --> French War Memorial.

Day 2: Auroville --> Matrimandir -->  Paradise Beach.

Day 1 Itinerary

  • White Town

White Town is the French residential quarter, with still few French families residing. White Town is also known as the French colony. There are numerous appealing French cafes with amazing views and marvelous French architecture. 

White Town is the most beautiful and most visited place in India. This is a must-visit street, persuading a view of well organized, and planned Rome city. 

Many old houses are now converted into restaurants, art galleries, and heritage hotels. You will find the glance of French art and architecture in almost every building in this area. 

You will find a mix of Indian- Desi and local Tamil culture here. 

The street has a very lively vibe and music, you can easily spend hours roaming here especially in the evening. We visited the street around two times during our stay here.

White Town Pondicherry
Chill cafes around the street of white town 

  • Lunch in Hope Cafe

After exploring the lanes of White Town, we started feeling hungry. There are many cafes in lanes of White Town, you will anyway get attracted to enter anyone and try few continental dishes whether you are hungry or not. 

We went in Hope cafe, which is a very famous cafe and tried some delicious itallian dishes. The dish and hospitality of the cafe was wonderful. The interior was superb, although they didnt allowed us to take photographs but we still somehow manage to click stunning graffiti on the wall.

Hope Cafe wall art in White Town
Beautiful graffiti painted on the wall of Hope Cafe 

  • Promenade Beach

Post our Lunch we went the promenade beach which is very close to White Town. This is the most popular stretch along the side of Pondicherry Beach, also known as Rocky Beach. It is around a 1.2KM stretch along the Bay of Bengal. This is the liveliest alley along the seafront with the big rocks beside the beach. This reminded me of the Marine Drive of Mumbai if in case you have visited.

Vehicles are not allowed in the walking area. You have to park your bike or scooter in the parking area. 

Don't miss out "Le Cafe" which is one of the most popular cafes in the middle of Promenade beach. Usually it gets crowded in the evening, but if you want to experience the beach view with a cup of coffee and enjoy breeze, listening to the seashore, I would recommend to visit this cafe in the morning. 

Beautiful Le Cafe in the Promenade Beach
Beautiful Le Cafe in the Promenade Beach 

  • Mahatma Gandhi Statue

In the Promenade beach itself there is a very large statue of Mahatma Gandhi. This is the 3rd largest Mahatma Gandhi statue, which is 13 feet in height. There is an impressive lighting decoration beside the statue, looks absolutely amazing in the evening.

There is a big ground called Gandhi - Thidal, just opposite the statue. Many cultural events, programs, and functions take place on this ground every year.

Mahatma Gandhi Statue beside Promenade Beach
Mahatma Gandhi Statue beside Promenade Beach

  • French War Memorial

French War Memorial also located on the Promenade beach which is really famous for its architecture. The French War Memorial was built in 1937 in the memories of French Indian residents who died for France during the 1st World war.

You will be amazed to know that, the French government visits this place yearly on the occasion of Bastille Day on July 14, to pay respect to those who died and lay flowers at the foot. This monument is still considered as the France property. I hope you got the answer now.

French War Memorial in Promenade Beach
French War Memorial in Promenade Beach

Day 2 Itinerary 

  • Auroville

We started our day early around 9AM in the morning to visit Auroville which is around 15KM from our hotel. Auroville is known as The City of Dawn. It was founded by Mirra Alfassa in 1968. She was a disciple of Shri Aurobindo and commonly known as "The Mother of Shri Aurobindo Society".

The place is the model of peace and equality. The people from the different society, different traditions and cultures across the world come and live here in peace. This place is an experimental society where men and women from different countries stay together and practice the search for peace.

It is considered a place to find yourself and peace within yourself.

The big banyan tree in Auroville
The big banyan tree in Auroville

  • Matrimandir

Matrimandir is the most important premise in Auroville. Matrimandir is a Sanskrit word meaning, "Temple of the Mother". It is located just in the middle of Auroville in a very large open area, known for Peace. Matrimandir is very famous across the world with the name Golden Globe. You can view the place from the outside. But to enter inside the temple, you should have an understanding and idea behind this. There is a great revolutionary concept symbolizing the intelligent principle of Life.

The aim of The Mother concept is to help humankind to move ahead and understand the evolution of life. This is the place where you can sit in peace, meditate as long as you want with no discrimination between religions, color, caste, status, or anything.

Structure and Architecture of Matrimandir: The structure of Matrimandir is dome-shaped with gold-plated architecture, designed in such a way, a reflection of sunlight reaches the center of the structure. Just like lotus petals, the structure is surrounded by petal-like designs. There are 12 gardens around the structure signifying the 12 characteristics of The Mother- Perfection, Harmony, Youth, Progress, Utility, Wealth, Power, Life, Light, Bliss, Consciousness, Existence.

The center of the dome-shaped inner chamber has a pure glass crystal, which radiates the light in the inner chamber of the structure. The viewpoint of Matrimandir is at the south of the Park and has a huge garden area, showing the scenic view of Matrimandir and the greenery around it. You can get free passes for the view of Matrimandir from the Information Center. 

Timings to visit:

Monday to Saturday: 9 AM to 4 PM

Sunday: 9 AM to 1 PM.

To go inside Matrimandir for meditation, you can pre-book your slots. You can make the booking every weekday except Tuesdays. 

Booking Timings:  

10AM-11AM and 2PM-3PM

Petal Meditation Room(9.30 AM to 10.45 AM). 

Matrimandir in Auroville
Matrimandir in Auroville

  • Paradise Beach

After spending enough time in Auroville, we wanted to spend our evening at Paradise Beach. We had a delicious lunch in a french cafe, on our way to Paradise beach. Paradise beach is known for its peaceful environment for visitors in Chunnambar. This is an isolated beach with golden sand and is a wondrous place to spend your time. 

There are two ways you can reach the Paradise beach, the easier way is to take a boat ride and reach here. The other way, which we followed is the roadway. We drove all the way from Pondicherry to Paradise beach via our scooter. The reason was we were not aware that there is a boat option. So instead of wasting your time on the road, use the boat option and be relaxed. You will get an astonishing view, covering the backwaters in the mid of the thick forest.

There are shakes around. You can enjoy juice or coconut water if you want. You can do a lot of stuff here like, Enjoy water adventures if you are fond of that. You can walk on the beach and show your photography skills by clicking photographs of your loved ones, and family.

Timing: 9 AM to 5 PM

Entry Fees: Rs 150/-

Our overall experience in Paradise beach was astonishing. I would say this is a must-visit beach if you are touring Pondicherry.

Water sports activities in Paradise Beach
Water sports activities in Paradise Beach 

What are Important Points to know if visiting Matrimandir?

1. Prior booking for meditation is required. You should do at least one day in advance.

2. If you are a first-time visitor, in-person bookings are accepted. Later you can do bookings via mail or telephones.

3. Children below 10 years are not allowed in the inner chambers.

4. Free shutters are available inside of the Information center to the viewpoint, as the distance is around 1 KM.

5. No cameras or bags are allowed inside the chamber.

There are many other places to visit in Pondicherry. But if you are going for 3-4 days or on a weekend getaway, I would suggest covering at least these places.  


1. If you are fully vaccinated, keep your certificate handy maybe in your phone. If not, carry RT-PCR negative report.

2. Take some cash with you, although you will easily find ATMs there.Other essential things like Sunglasses, headphones, warm caps, toiletries, etc.

3. Try to keep the area clean.

I hope this will help you to plan your trip to Pondicherry soon. Let us know if you need any further assistance to plan your trip in the comment section.

Thank you for reading :)


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