Distance – 170 kms from Chennai (nearest Airport)
Duration of my trip – 2 nights and 3 days but 2 whole days in Pondy should be enough. 3 days makes it more relaxing.
Things to do
- Walk in the White Town, enjoy the old architecture and lovely colors
- Buy from Cottage Naturals and Auroshikha – really great stuff for affordable prices
- Dine in good restaurants
- Go for a stroll near the sea, sip a cup of coffee at La Cafe.
One can drive down to Pondicherry/Puducherry via ECR(east coast road) or via GST (grand southern trunk road). If you are a fairly good driver, I’d suggest you take the ECR during daytime. I’d suggest ECR because the road is scenic with the road running parallel to the sea and view of backwaters and migratory birds. At the same time the drivers need to be a little cautious as the roads do not have a divider and it’s just 2 lanes (most of the way). So if you are driving after sunset it’s better to take the GST road.
The best way to do this three day trip is to start on a Saturday morning around 11 AM and stop by Mahabalipuram for lunch. There is Radisson Blu, Grande Bay for good lunch buffet or there are more restaurant options(A2B, Motel Mamalla, CCD) in Mahabs one can try.
Start from Mahabs at 2 PM and reach Pondy at 4PM. There are lot of lodges and hotels (very affordable)in White Town. So if you are the adventurous type, you can drive in those streets and easily find a place to stay. I’d suggest you start your search for rooms from the hotels in the beach road and work inwards.
Once you got your room, check-in, relax and then head out for dinner. There is this place called La Pasta World. We really loved it. It’s run by an Italian couple and has an open Kitchen. Try it out. After dinner take a walk in the streets of Pondy. Sunday, there is a Sunday Market that happens, but we didn’t find anything interesting to buy from there, so you might want to avoid that. It can get really sunny, hot and humid during the day time, so you might want to step out after 4 PM. You can visit Auroville, Aurobindo Ashram and Paradise beach << those are some of the places everyone visits when they to go to Pondy, but since I’m from Chennai, beaches are really not that attractive to me and Ashram isn’t my thing. So, we went to Le Cafe in the evening, just sat there listening to the sound of the waves and sipping coffee and eating cake. After that you can end the day with a wonderful dinner at Le Club at Dumas Street. On the third day, have your breakfast and checkout of the hotel by 12 noon and go shop for friends and family. We wanted to buy some stuff for our home and went to Auroshikha and Cottage Naturals. Just make sure to check out these shops, you will be surprised at the wonderful things that are sold there.
Cottage Naturals (phone:(0413)2333324), they open everyday from 3PM to 7:30PM. You can buy incense sticks, organic soaps and lots of other handcrafted things at a superb price. Closed on Sundays.
To avoid: we had lunch at Madame Shanthe’s, Romain Rolland Street, the service was very slow and the food was not good at all.
Get out of Pondy by 3:30 and you should reach Chennai by 7 PM, depending on the traffic.