If you read my previous post you would know how I planned my first solo trip on a whim. Well, I had done some basic research on how ‘safe’ Pondicherry can be. The internet humored me, and when I entered the city, I could say that I fell in love with it. Here’s why:
Hospitality and the no-judgement zone:
Coming from Alleppey to Pondicherry, I could see a vast difference in the perspective of the locals. People back there often questioned me directly about WHY I was travelling solo, among many other things, without realising if they were invading my privacy. Pondicherry on the other hand was a host that spread out its arms to all guests. With the history of being a Portuguese, and then a French colony, the city understands and appreciates diversity and is much more progressive in its approach while trying to keep its culture alive.
A cultural kaleidoscope of French, Portuguese and Indian-ness:
If you are willing to dive deep enough into their culture, the Tamils in Pondicherry will humor you well. Everything from their food, to architecture to even their language is infused with and influenced by Portuguese and French. If you don’t believe me, ask the restaurant chef about the recipe. Or simply check out restaurant names, cases in point being Le cafe and Rendezvous. You will find loads of them lined up in White Town.
My best picks for food:
1. Dis Dis & Co. – A boutique cafe, Dis Dis & Co mixes a serene ambiance with good food in the day, and transforms into a party club by the night. Do stop by here if you are in White Town
2. Theevu Plage – Offers an amazing assortment of local sea-food. Located near Serenity Beach, it isn’t much effort to find the place. Try dropping by on your way back from the beach.
I won’t call myself a backpacker, but quite evidently Pondicherry is replete with budget accommodations and backpacking hostels. I stayed at the Vedanta Wake Up! Hostels and loved the time spent there. It made my life easier as it was in close proximity to the nearby beaches and some shopping places.
Many tourists also opt to stay within Auroville Town, which is slightly away from the city. If you are someone who is looking for some time of your own along with meditation and yoga, or maybe if you just want to do nothing and spend your time on a hammock, this might be the place for you. I have heard of some youth parties within the premises, not very sure though.
Well, this had to be on the list. Right? The city offers many a beaches that are quieter and less trashed than other beach hub of India. I found the Serenity beach standing true to its name and offering one of the best times of my trip.
Sure the conservatism still exists and you would want to prefer to cover yourselves even at a beach. However, if you wish to take a swim and enjoy, take a boat to the Paradise beach.
Tip: Try to reach during the day itself as the only mode of transportation to Paradise Beach, which is the boat, stops operating by 5 p.m.