Pondicherry is one of the most beautiful destinations in India- full of history, character! Here’s a complete guide for planning 2 day trip to Pondicherry.
Pondicherry is one of my favorite travel destinations in India, so it comes as no surprise that my first post on Indian travel is about Pondicherry and Auroville. Although what surprises me is the number of people I meet, both Indian and non-Indian, who haven’t yet visited there. Pondicherry is like 3-4 hours away from Chennai. So you should visit if you’re around and have a weekend to spare, because I’m laying out the whole plan here for you for a 2 day trip to Pondicherry!
So hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll be inspired to plan your trip as soon as you get a chance, if not right now!!
Why You Should Visit
Pondicherry is the only popular place that has lots of French elements since the colonial rule by the French, you’ll find French people, cuisine, restaurants, architecture, and even the street names are French here. Other than this unique culture and history, the city is marvellously beautiful – a small town with a laidback attitude, and is right next door to Auroville, the new town made for meditation and spirituality, where travellers come to find peace. Also: plenty places to rent a bike or motorbike!
When to Visit
The best time to visit is Winter and Spring, from November to March, when it won’t be too hot there. Plus, less mosquitoes (in summer and monsoon you’ll find plenty insects and mosquitoes owing to the high amount of greenery everywhere)!
Where to Stay
Pondicherry and Auroville are both amazing places to stay in. If you’re going for a 2 day trip to Pondicherry, I recommend finding a guest house in Auroville. You can visit their official website to search for guest houses according to location and category.
Find a nice guest house that’s rated either C-good or D-self contained. Some of these have kitchenettes so you can cook there. The best location would be either near Matrimandir, which is in the center of the town, or closer to the main highway. Two of the places I’ve stayed in and recommend are Auromode, which was near Matrimandir, had nice breakfast and big rooms, and Guest House at New Creation, which is near Tanto, the popular restaurant, and had a beautiful big site with lotus ponds and tiny cottages to stay in.
2 Day Trip to Pondicherry: Things to Do
Head over to the Tourist Information Center in Auroville, where you can have some breakfast at their cafe, have a fruit bowl, and be sure to try their locally made iced tea. View their exhibit about Matrimandir, the temple that marks the center of Auroville, and is a spectacular structure made for meditation and has a facade of gold concave plates. They also have a tiny theatre that shows a documentary about its making.
Also check out the shops there. Buy locally made cotton clothes, in crisp white or earthy beige, reminding you of the purity, peace and devotion that Auroville stands for. Some of these apparel are traditionally Indian and some are fusion. Buy some handmade paper jewelry in a bright color to contrast your dress, and maybe even a silk handbag to match. They also have scented candles, insense sticks, handmade paper notepads and neat wooden kitchenware.
Then head over to Matrimandir. Remember, if you would like a visit inside the temple, you’ll have to book 2 days in advance, so you’ll be able to do that only on a longer than 2-day trip. But it’s good to just even see it from outside, which is frankly what I’ve always done. 😛
Then drive down to Tanto’s for lunch. Have a nice pizza with some fresh watermelon juice maybe! After having a lovely siesta, drive to Pondicherry in the evening. Park your vehicle somewhere near the Goubert Avenue, or the beach side promenade. Le Cafe there has particularly interesting views if you’re in the mood for some evening tea.
Just sit and relax by the beach on one of the rocks and watch the sunset.
Then take a walk in the streets on the west of the beach, discover the tiny antique shops with furniture n cotton apparel, stone and wood sculptures. Have dinner at one of the beautiful colonial buildings, I recommend Hotel l’Orient at Romain Rolland Street that has fusion south Indian and French cuisine. But food is not the only reason I go there again and again. This hotel is a colonial bungalow-style building with a beautiful courtyard restaurant that has trees, plants and open to sky wrought iron seating.
If you don’t just want to sleep in, drive to one of the nearby beaches in the morning to watch the sunrise. Guy promises it’s beautiful, even though the only time I see the sunrise is when I haven’t slept all night.
Check out some of the pretty buildings in Auroville, such as the Atithi Griha guest house that has beautiful architecture in traditional south-Indian style with pebbled flooring in the courtyard and terracotta roofs.
Head down to Pondicherry for lunch, and eat at one of the local restaurants such as Spice Route. Go see Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and after that, the Basilica of the Scared Heart of Jesus, which is a beautiful building with Gothic architecture. If you’re feeling calm and rejuvenated after seeing all these spiritual places, walk along the beach boulevard again, and just relax. Dine at another French place like La Maison Rose (which I am yet to try, but want to asap). And also save space for some ice-cream, because Baskin Robbins has the bestest chocolate flavours (and many more) and is on your way to Auroville. How can you resist? 🙂
I was wearing:
Purple silk maxi dress and Purple silk necklace: Auromode
Navy blue nailpolish: Yoga-ta Get This Blue! by O.P.I.
Blue studded skinny belt: Forever New
Tortoise-shell Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren
Face Powder: Clinique perfect real makeup 116
Blush: Clinique 108 Cupid
Eyeliner: Intensite Eclat liquid eyeliner by Christian Dior, and Chambor pencil eyeliner
Mascara: Clinique high impact mascara 01 black
Concealer: M.A.C. Pro Longwear NW35.
Eye Shadow: Diamond Glow 02 Wide Pink Maybelline New York
Lipstick: Revlon 344 Grape Juice
Lipgloss: Dior Addict Liquid Stick 373 by Christian Dior
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Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]