5 things to do in Pondicherry

No matter how many times you visit a place, there will always be something new for the next time. I believe that you can never say a place is covered or seen just by visiting it once or by checking in at a place. This was my third time in Pondicherry and I still found new things to explore.

PIN for later reference

5 things to do in Pondicherry

Where is Pondicherry?

Pondicherry, also known as Puducherry, is a Union territory town in the state of Tamil Nadu. It was a French colonial settlement until the year 1954. The town is a gem of South India and is a great place for an ideal beach vacation. The town was the residence of Sri Aurobindo and the ashram dedicated to Sri Aurobindo still operates from Pondicherry. There are several temples, churches, beaches, and monuments in the town and is a huge attraction for tourists and travelers.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Temples
One of the temples in Pondicherry

The best time to visit Pondicherry is between October and March as the town is relatively cooler during these months.

How to reach?

  • Drive – The total distance between Pondicherry and Bangalore is around 310 kilometres. The total drive takes about 7 hours. The first two times I visited Pondicherry, my friends and I had driven from Bangalore.
    • On route from Bangalore to Pondicherry, there is a beautiful fort Gingee/Senji Fort that can be visited.
  • Bus – There are interstate both public and private buses between Bangalore/Chennai and Pondicherry. The third time, I traveled by an overnight bus from Bangalore. The best website to book buses is Redbus.
  • Train – There is a direct train between Bangalore and Pondicherry. Access the IRCTC website for up-to-date information.

5 things to do in Pondicherry

There are so many things to do in Pondicherry. I was there for a week this time, in spite of it I felt it was less. It is a town where one can have a relaxed holiday, visiting the various French styled cafes and walking around the streets. However, I would like to mention the top 5 things to do in Pondicherry.

Auroville

Auroville must be the number one thing to do while in Pondicherry. The Auroville city is around 10 kilometres from Pondicherry. It is an experimental township founded in the year 1965, by Mirra Alfassa. In the middle of Auroville is the meditation centre known as the Matirmandir.

Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.

— Mirra Alfassa

There are frequent buses between Pondicherry and Auroville. The quickest and easiest way to travel is by an auto or a taxi.

Walk from Kargil War memorial to the Old Port

One of the cool things to do in Pondicherry is to walk from the Kargil War memorial to the old port. The walking path is along the Rock beach and is an easy 1.5 kilometres walk.
I have always believed that if one wants to get a feel of a city or a place, then exploring it by Walk is a great way to understand it. Even though this was a short walk of just 1.5 kilometres, it still provides a great way to see and observe the locals and the visitors. I would totally recommend doing this while in Pondicherry.

Scuba diving

Not many are aware but Pondicherry is great for scuba diving along the East Coast of India. It has diving sites that cater for all levels of divers. The Temple Reef, which is the artificial reef is amazing for the beginner level scuba divers and the Aravind Wall is best for the advanced divers. I recommend going with the Temple Adventures as they were absolutely amazing. The staff was professional and friendly. Read Scuba diving in Pondicherry for detailed information.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Scuba diving

Visit the Paradise beach

Paradise beach is one of the famous beaches of Pondicherry. It is a very cool beach to spend an afternoon. The beach is very clean and well maintained.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Paradise beach

The only way to reach Paradise beach is by boat. The boat point if the Chunnambar boathouse and the boat takes around 20 minutes to reach the Paradise beach.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - boathouse

The entrance fee to the boathouse is INR 30 per adult and the motorboat fee is INR 300 per adult.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - boathouse board

Note: Sip tender coconut along the Paradise beach. It is definitely heavenly.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - tender coconut

Note: Not all beaches in Pondicherry are allowed for swimming and they are really dangerous. So please do check with the authority before attempting to swim.

Enjoy the Cafes

There are plenty of cafes in Pondicherry. They range from being an Instagram picture perfect to the cafes where one can sit by the beach, sipping a cold coffee watching the waves. Some of the cafes that I visited are:

  • Even though Le Cafe is very famous and I was suggested by many of my Insta friends and followers, I did not like the food as much at this cafe. There are better cafes that serve delicious food. However, the views of the ocean were breathtaking.
5 things to do in Pondicherry - Le Cafe
  • Coromandel Cafe, which has been rated as one of the best cafes/restaurants to visit in India. I loved the ambiance and food. But I did not enjoy the service much as most of the time the staff were clueless as to what was happening.

Note: The food at Coromandel Cafe is expensive.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Coromandel cafe
Cold coffee at Coromandel Cafe
  • Hope Cafe – I spent a relaxed evening at Hope cafe. I loved this cafe. The drinks and the food were beautifully served and very delicious. I recommend visiting this cafe.

Safety for female solo travelers

I solo traveled in Pondicherry for a week, and I did not have any problems whatsoever. It is absolutely safe for female travelers. The people are decent and will not trouble you that much. However, there is a norm of people walking up to you so they can take selfies with you. Just politely deny them and they respect and go away. It happened to me quite a few times. Other than that I did not face any issues.

Note: Like any other place, keep yourself on a guard especially at nights.

Other important information

  • Stay
    • In the one week I stayed in Pondicherry, I stayed at two different properties.
    • Club Mahindra Pondicherry – While this property is amazing for family, it is quite far from Pondicherry city. Every time I wanted to go to the city, I spent Rupees 750 one way in a taxi. Note: There are no Uber or Ola taxis, so the only choice is to take the taxi from the resort which is very expensive. Other than the location, the resort was beautiful and they had their own beach. The staff is very friendly and the rooms are spacious and comfortable.
    • Micasa Hostel – I fell in love with this property. This is at a very ideal location and the hostel is very safe for travelers. It is just 10 minutes walk from Promenade Beach. The hostel has air-conditioned shared dorms for males and females.
5 things to do in Pondicherry - Micasa Hostel
Female dorm at Micasa Hostel
  • Food
    • As there is a French influence, the common food is croissants and baguettes for breakfast. Some of the cafes have delicious fresh cakes and bread.
    • The South Indian food such as Idli and dosa is equally famous among the locals.
5 things to do in Pondicherry - Lasagna
  • Shopping
    • Pondicherry is famous for textiles and pottery.
    • There are festivals along the beach that host the local vendors all at one place where one can shop for these textiles and local products.
    • These are ideal for buying souvenirs.

Note: Do haggle. The vendors reduce the price drastically if you haggle it right.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - local street vendor
Local street vendor
  • Street art
    • Pondicherry is famous for its street art. There is so much graffiti all around the town.
    • Do explore and enjoy these artistic walls.
5 things to do in Pondicherry - Street art

Conclusion

Pondicherry is very close to my heart. I have had very beautiful memories and I will always cherish those moments and experiences that I have had all three times. I will plan again when I visit India the next time.

PIN for later reference

5 things to do in Pondicherry

21 Comments

  1. I’ve been to Pondicherry and Auroville once, but you’re right — there are still so many places I haven’t seen. I’d really love to come back and spend more time there. What I loved most about Pondicherry was that it felt like a home away from home. Coming from Malaysia, I could see a lot of similarities.

  2. Umiko

    Paradise Beach is beautiful. I think it’s a must visit for the first time visitors to Pondicherry. I never heard about scuba diving there, but I am definitely won’t skip the young coconut drink after walking around Paradise Beach. The wall art looks interesting, no wonder you put it as one of the 5 things to do in Pondicherry.

  3. Pondicherry is still on my bucket list. I was in neighboring Kerala, and I was delighted. So I dream of visiting Tamil Nadu now. It’s a perfect guide and great tips, what is worth to do and see. I would like to see Old Port and try scuba diving. Auroville is also on my bucket list.

  4. Pondicherry is one of our favourite getaways from Bangalore. We love the unique vibes that Pondicheryy offers.It is a unique place in India. We love the beaches of course, but also love strolling along the promenade of Mahatma Gandhi Beach. Pondicherry somehow soothes the senses, be it Auroville, Aurobindo Ashram, or Paradise Beach.

  5. delhifundos2014

    Great pictures. Pondicherry is such a beautiful place. Never been to this place but that place looks very vibrant to relax and unwind. Looks like you had a great time there!

  6. Adele

    Very unfortunately I have not been to India yet. I have been reading many interesting places to visit in India though and Pondicherry has come up a number of times. Hanging out by the beach to people watch with a coconut in hand sounds really heavenly right about now.

    1. Subhashish Roy

      I have been to Pondicherry once but since it was a business trip hardly visited anywhere. I have always been intrigued by this place & Auroville and would love to spend at least a week there. Good insight through your post. I know now why you love the place.

  7. I went to Pondicherry when I was in school and still remember its green swaying coconute trees on rocky beaches. Cold coffee at Coromandel cafe is really very tempting. Good to know that now Pondicherry has lot of street art as when I visited 25 to 28 years ago there was no street art. I love street and therefore it must be nice to see vibrant walls here.

  8. Jamie

    I had not heard of Pondicherry before but it looks like such a fascinating place to visit. Thanks for sharing the history and details, it really brings some of the quirks and interesting elements to light. The scuba diving opportunities look incredible there and the beaches are so gorgeously idyllic.

  9. One important thing you have mentioned is distance from Bangalore.
    To add to this, I think the primary airport you can mention is Chennai. There’s also a direct train from Chennai to Pondy in addition to buses and its only 150 kms away . So for people who want to visit this French town , this is a better way
    Plus u missed out Manakula vinayakar temple and Cafe Des Arts πŸ™‚ Do check them out next time

I would love to hear your thoughts, please drop a comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.