5 things to do in Pondicherry

5 Things To Do in Pondicherry (2024)

Explore the vibrant charm of the coastal town with these five things to do in Pondicherry. Dive into the rich culture where French architecture meets Indian heritage. Discover the hidden gems of Auroville, indulge your taste buds with delectable French cuisine, unwind at the serene Promenade Beach, explore the unique blend of spirituality at Matrimandir, and shop for exquisite handmade crafts in the local markets. Immerse yourself in the eclectic experiences that Pondicherry has to offer, creating memories that linger long after your visit.

No matter how frequently you revisit a destination, there’s always a fresh discovery awaiting your next visit. I firmly believe that labelling a place as fully explored or seen after a single visit or check-in is an oversimplification. My recent trip marked the third time I set foot in Pondicherry, yet I uncovered new facets to explore. The distinctive vibes and laid-back ambience of Pondicherry continually make it stand out and hold a special place in my travel experiences.

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5 things to do in Pondicherry
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Where is Pondicherry?

Pondicherry, or Puducherry, stands as a captivating Union Territory. Once a French colonial settlement until 1954, this town is a true gem in South India, offering an ideal setting for a beach getaway.

Renowned as the former residence of Sri Aurobindo, the town hosts the continuing legacy of his teachings through the operational Sri Aurobindo Ashram. With its mix of temples, churches, beaches, and monuments, Pondicherry is a substantial draw for both tourists and travellers alike.

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

Best Time to Visit Pondicherry

For an optimal experience, plan your visit to Pondicherry between October and March, when the town enjoys a relatively cooler climate. The humidity is lower, and you can enjoy outdoor activities comfortably.

  1. October to February: Winter is the peak season, characterized by cooler temperatures ranging from 15°C to 30°C. This is the most favourable time for sightseeing, beach activities, and exploring the town.
  2. March to May: Post-winter, the temperatures start rising, and it gets warmer. It’s still a good time to visit, but be prepared for higher temperatures, especially in the daytime.
  3. June to September: The monsoon season brings rainfall to Pondicherry. While the town looks lush and green during this time, heavy rains can sometimes disrupt outdoor activities. However, if you enjoy the monsoon ambience, this can be a good time to visit.

Number of Days Required for Pondicherry

To fully appreciate and explore all that Pondicherry offers, allocate a minimum of 3 to 4 days for your stay. You can still see most of the places in Pondicherry in 3 days.

How to Get to Pondicherry?

  • By Road – Covering approximately 310 kilometres, the distance between Pondicherry and Bangalore entails a driving time of about 7 hours. On my initial two visits to Pondicherry, my friends and I opted for the road trip, embarking on the journey from Bangalore.
    • While travelling from Bangalore to Pondicherry, include a visit to the picturesque Gingee/Senji Fort along the route.
  • By Bus – Interstate buses, both public and private, connect Bangalore/Chennai to Pondicherry. I opted for an overnight bus journey from Bangalore on my third visit. For convenient bus bookings, Redbus is the recommended platform.
  • By Train – A direct train conveniently links Bangalore and Pondicherry. Stay informed about the latest details by accessing the IRCTC website for up-to-date information.

Commute Within Pondicherry

For optimal mobility in Pondicherry, consider renting motorcycles or scooters, typically available at a daily rate of INR 350 to 400. Riding through the charming streets, particularly in White Town, is a delightful experience with vibrant buildings and lush greenery. However, exercise caution when navigating Pondicherry, as traffic rules are somewhat fluid, and vehicles may not adhere strictly to conventional norms. It’s advisable to stay alert, as traffic flow might not always yield, creating an unconventional yet dynamic road atmosphere.

  • The contact name for hiring a bike is Padmanabhan.
  • Contact Number: +91 95663 81377.

Where to Stay in Pondicherry?

Choosing the right accommodation in Pondicherry largely depends on your preferences and budget. Here are some options catering to various tastes:

  1. White Town: This area is known for its French colonial architecture and is close to popular attractions. It offers boutique hotels, heritage stays, and guesthouses.
  2. Promenade Beach Area: If you prefer a beachside stay, look for hotels along the Promenade Beach area. You’ll have stunning views and easy access to the beach.
  3. Auroville: For a serene experience, consider staying in Auroville. Some eco-friendly resorts and guesthouses provide a peaceful atmosphere.
  4. Heritage Town: This area is a blend of French and Tamil influences. You can find charming guesthouses and heritage hotels reflecting the town’s history.
  5. Budget Stays: If you’re on a budget, explore guesthouses and budget hotels scattered across different areas, providing economical yet comfortable options.
  6. Resorts: Pondicherry has several resorts offering a mix of luxury and relaxation. Many of them are located on the outskirts, providing a calm retreat.

During my week-long stay in Pondicherry, I lodged at two distinct accommodations.

Club Mahindra Pondicherry – While this property is ideal for families, it is quite far from Pondicherry City. Each trip to the city set me back by Rs. 750 for a one-way taxi ride. It’s worth noting that Uber or Ola services are unavailable, leaving the resort taxis as the sole option, albeit expensive. Despite this inconvenience, the resort itself was splendid, boasting its beach. The staff proved to be exceptionally friendly, and the rooms offered a combination of ample space and comfort.

Micasa Hostel – I was enamoured with this accommodation. It boasts an exceptionally convenient location and ensures a secure environment for travellers. Situated just a 10-minute walk from Promenade Beach, the hostel provides air-conditioned shared dormitories tailored for both male and female guests.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Micasa Hostel
Female dorm at Micasa Hostel

Here are some 5-star hotels in Pondicherry:

  1. Le Dupleix: A beautifully restored colonial-era mansion offering luxurious rooms and a fine-dining restaurant.
  2. The Promenade: Another luxurious option along the beachfront, known for its elegant design, spa services, and rooftop dining.
  3. Hotel Coromandel Heritage: This 5-star property is located in White Town and features a blend of French and Indian architecture, providing a luxurious stay.
  4. Sri Saibaba Guest House: Offering premium accommodations, this hotel is known for its upscale services and comfortable rooms.

5 Things To Do in Pondicherry

Pondicherry offers a variety of activities, and even during my week-long stay, I found the time insufficient. It’s a town that invites you to unwind, exploring the charming French-style cafes and strolling through its quaint streets. Nevertheless, I’d like to highlight the top 5 things to do in Pondicherry.

Visit Auroville

Auroville undoubtedly takes the top spot among things to do in Pondicherry. Approximately 10 kilometres from Pondicherry, Auroville is an experimental township established in 1965 by Mirra Alfassa. At the heart of Auroville lies the meditation centre known as Matrimandir.

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

Regular buses connect Pondicherry and Auroville, providing convenient transportation. However, an auto-rickshaw or taxi is recommended for a quicker and more straightforward journey.

Walk from the Kargil War Memorial to the Old Port

Walking from the Kargil War Memorial to the old port is a fantastic activity in Pondicherry. The walking path runs alongside Rock Beach, covering a manageable distance of 1.5 kilometres. I’ve always believed that exploring a city or place on foot offers a genuine feel of its essence. Despite the brevity of this 1.5-kilometre walk, it proved to be an excellent way to observe locals and visitors, providing a unique perspective. I wholeheartedly recommend experiencing this while in Pondicherry.

Scuba Diving

Pondicherry remains a hidden gem for scuba diving enthusiasts along the East Coast of India. The diving sites here cater to divers of all skill levels, ranging from beginners to seasoned experts. With numerous stunning dive sites spanning depths of 12 to 40 meters, one standout location is the Temple Reef, commonly known as Four Corners. This artificial reef is particularly enchanting for novice scuba divers. Additionally, Pondicherry boasts the PADI-recognized dive site, Aravind’s Wall, ideal for certified advanced open water divers and beyond. I wholeheartedly recommend experiencing scuba diving in Pondicherry at least once, as the marine life is astonishing and abundant.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Scuba diving

Visit the Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach stands out as one of Pondicherry’s renowned coastal gems. It offers a refreshing and laid-back atmosphere, making it an ideal spot to unwind during the afternoon. Its pristine cleanliness and impeccable maintenance characterises the beach.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Paradise beach
Paradise beach

Paradise Beach is exclusively accessible by boat, with the designated boat point at the Chunnambar boathouse. The boat journey to the beach typically spans around 20 minutes.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - boathouse
Chunnambar boathouse

Access to the boathouse comes with an entrance fee of INR 30 per adult, while the motorboat ride incurs an additional INR 300 per adult fee.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - boathouse board

Reminder: Indulge in sipping tender coconut along Paradise Beach—it’s a heavenly experience.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - tender coconut

Important Note: Not all beaches in Pondicherry permit swimming, and some can be hazardous. Please ensure to check with the local authorities before attempting to swim.

Also, Consider Visiting the Blue Flag Beach, Eden Beach.

Enjoy the Cafes

Given the French influence, breakfast in Pondicherry commonly features croissants and baguettes. Several cafes offer delectable fresh cakes and bread, adding a delightful touch to the culinary scene. Alongside these French treats, South Indian staples like idli and dosa also hold significant popularity among the locals, creating a diverse and flavorful dining experience in Pondicherry.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Lasagna

Pondicherry boasts plenty of cafes, each with its unique charm—from those perfect for Instagram snapshots to where you can leisurely sit by the beach, savouring a cold coffee while watching the waves.

Le Cafe, renowned and recommended by many Insta friends, lived up to its fame with breathtaking ocean views. The ambience offered a perfect blend of sereness and vibrant energy. As I sat there, the rhythmic sounds of the waves accompanied the delightful experience. The menu, featuring an array of delectable treats, complemented the picturesque setting. It was more than a café visit; it was a sensory journey where the taste of the coffee mirrored the beauty of the surrounding seascape. Le Cafe proved to be a must-visit spot in Pondicherry, encapsulating the essence of coastal bliss in every sip.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Le Cafe

Coromandel Cafe, acclaimed as one of the top cafes/restaurants in India, impressed me with its ambience and cuisine. However, there’s room for improvement in service; the staff tends to be slow and occasionally clueless. Notably, the dining experience comes at a cost, as the food at Coromandel Cafe is on the expensive side. Despite this, the overall charm and culinary offerings make it a notable stop in Pondicherry, deserving its reputation among the best in the country.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Coromandel cafe
Cold coffee at Coromandel Cafe

Hope Cafe provided a delightful backdrop for a relaxed evening. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, appreciating the beautifully presented and delicious drinks and food. The overall experience left a positive impression, and I wholeheartedly recommend a visit to this charming cafe.


Pondicherry is renowned for its vibrant textile and pottery offerings. Festivals along the beach bring local vendors together, offering a convenient one-stop shopping experience for textiles and local products. These events are perfect for acquiring souvenirs.

A friendly note: don’t hesitate to haggle. Skillful negotiation often leads vendors to significantly reduce prices, ensuring you get the best deals on your purchases.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - local street vendor
Local street vendor

Street Art

Pondicherry’s charm extends beyond its landscapes; it’s renowned for vibrant street art, with captivating graffiti adorning the town. Wander through the streets and immerse yourself in the visual feast of artistic expressions on every corner. From intricate murals to colourful graffiti, Pondicherry’s walls narrate stories of culture, creativity, and individuality. Each stroke of paint contributes to the town’s unique character.

5 things to do in Pondicherry - Street art

Embrace the opportunity to explore these artistic walls, unravelling the cultural side woven into the vibrant street art of Pondicherry. It’s not just a town; it’s a canvas of creativity waiting to be discovered and appreciated.

Is Pondicherry Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

During my solo week-long journey in Pondicherry, I encountered no issues, affirming its safety for female travellers. The locals are respectful, and while some may approach for selfies, a polite refusal is typically honoured. This happened to me a few times, but otherwise, my experience was trouble-free. Nevertheless, as with any destination, maintaining vigilance, especially during the night, is advisable. Pondicherry remains a secure place for solo female travellers, offering a blend of tranquillity and cultural richness, with a minor need for handling occasional selfie requests.

Closing Notes

Pondicherry holds a special place in my heart, adorned with beautiful memories that I will forever cherish from all three visits. The moments and experiences gathered during each trip are etched in my memory, creating a profound connection with this charming town. As I look forward to my next visit to India, Pondicherry undoubtedly stands as a destination I will eagerly plan to explore once again, anticipating the continuation of the enchanting experiences it consistently offers.

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