PC: Kumar Appaiah
Pondicherry, popularly known as Pondy, is the French city of India. With the French culture, cuisine and customs featuring in every corner of the city, Pondicherry makes your visit to the town worth a while. Pondy is also culturally rich because of the prevalent Tamil culture, which beautifully amalgamates with the French culture in every corner. This city has eclectic offerings for your first time in the city and we have hand-picked some of the favourite activities; we know you'd love to enjoy them as well. So read on, if you want to find out what all you should be doing on your first visit to Pondy.
Cycle Around The French Villa
PC: Sandip Dey
What is better than a stroll in the lanes of Pondy? It is cycling, to be honest. It's a bit lethargic if you plan to explore the town on foot. Cycles are easily available on a daily rental basis. It's cheap, it's fun and it's faster than a walk. The best way to make the most of your Pondy trip is to hop on a cycle and see the French colonies.
The architecture is still so intact and finely kept. You'll discover hidden nooks and interesting shopping delights as you paddle your way through the town. The beautiful bright yellow houses, lilting graffiti and French doors will swoon every part of your heart. You'll also stumble upon breathtaking views of bougainvillea climbing through the roofs and walls of the many French buildings.
This part of Pondy is well-kept, with special attention to cleanliness and polishing. You would also come across various cafés, blooming with French décor.
Go To Aurobindo Ashram
A visit to Aurobindo Ashram is one of the things that you have got to do on your first trip to Pondicherry. There is no fee to get inside the ashram but you'll need to switch off your phones and other electronic devices. Photography is not permitted inside the premises. You will be asked to leave out your shoes, too.
The inside of the ashram is rather serene and peaceful. You will find people sitting around a tree, meditating. There will monks from the ashram guiding you around. Since a lot of people visit this place in a day, you'll be required to follow a queue, quietly.
Many people decide to sit by the meditating people and enjoy a moment of peace. If you like, you can join them and have your moment of peace.
Live In Auroville
There are two parts to Pondy. One is the main city that covers the Tamil and French localities and the other is Auroville. The key feature of Auroville is its futuristic spherical temple made out of gold discs. It was founded by Mirra Alfassa in order to establish a community that thrives on healthy and peaceful living.
Its botanical gardens protect the regional forest area from getting dry. The place has a character that symbolises peace, harmony and humility. There are many guest houses in Auroville. Many people prefer to stay in Auroville to make the most of this place. The beach is not far away either. It is one of the most beautiful black-sand beaches. Auroville is ideal for families. You'll find maximum French tourists here.
Eat At A French Café
Pondi boasts of its uber French culture and French cuisine. So, there is no limit to French cafés in Pondy. But we recommend heading to the French colonies and trying authentic French food over there.
We all know the French are known for two things: kisses and cuisine. While we'll let you handle the kisses, we'll take over the cuisine. There are many cafés to try out. We recommend Baker Street, Café Des Arts, Rendezvous and Le Café.
Watch A Show At Indianostrum
It's a performing arts theatre located in the White Town of Pondicherry. They feature some spectacular shows. It's one of the most important elements, and quite a new one, added to Pondy's cultural scene. The group at Indianostrum worked under the fine guidance of Koumaran Valavane.
The theatre from the outside looks like a delight, with graffiti and yellow walls speaking to you. The atmosphere is beautiful comprising of beautiful, fun-loving theatre artists. If you arrive late or missed the time of the show, you can still walk in and the artists and local managers will be happy to show you around.
Read A Book By The Beach
Reading a book is one of the best things you can do on a vacation. But when you are vacationing in Pondy, nothing beats the charm of a good old sea view and the essence of Promenade Beach.
A good, filling breakfast at Le Café, looking at the vastness of the sea and a friendly book to extend your time leisurely is a way to start your day in Pondy. If you happen to cycle around the area, you will also find a number of bookstores in Pondicherry. Don't forget to stop by French Book Shop.