Places to visit
Travel local and enjoy the hospitality of people around you. Do not hesitate to ask your stay owners or other locals about the routes. I recommend taking the local buses for a very local feel. After all, what fun would it be if you can’t do it like the locals do.
White Town / Promenade Beach
A walk through White Town takes you back to the French period. The brightly coloured structures, the small cafés, the multiple by-lanes, etc. A walk on the promenade is a must especially during sunrise and sunset. The view is magnificent!
This promenade is also called the Promenade beach. Since it’s a rocky beach, swimming is a strict no-no.
The area of white town has many historic churches which are centuries old. The histories of these monuments are mentioned in the premises. You are only left in awe when you look at the structures.
Pichavaram mangroves: Here is an interesting story I’d like to share. The drive from White Town to Pichavaram is almost 2.5 hours, one way, if we took a direct cab. However, being weirdos, we decide on public transport to reach our destination. Which means switching three different buses – White Town to Cuddlore, Cuddlore to Chidambaram, Chidambaram to Pichavaram. To make our journey even more exciting, the Rain Gods decided to pay us a visit! So there we were – bus hopping in the rains and having the same return journey.
The Pichavaram mangroves is the second largest mangrove forest in the world. Upon reaching the destination, we were awestruck by the scene before our eyes. Zero visibility due to the winds and rain, dark heavy laden clouds passing slowly, and the vast horizon. After a long wait, the rains stopped and we were able to have our ride with one “Anna” who also gave us a chance of rowing the boat!
About 7-8 kms from White Town is a beach, less crowded than the other famous beaches in Pondicherry – Auro Beach. Clear waters, calm breeze and the mesmerising sound of the waves; in short, a perfect spot to spend your time away from the hustle of the city life.
There are many more beaches to visit – Serenity beach, Paradise beach, Mahe beach, etc. These are recommended in case of a longer duration of stay.
Another destination marked off our list. Depending on how many days you wish to be there, the trip can be planned. However, due to our short stay, we could not visit Auroville. It’s a must visit, and missing it was our only regret on this trip.
Riding a 2-wheeler through the by-lanes, having local idli sambar and filter coffee for breakfast, we felt at home in Pondicherry. Despite a high influx of tourists, the quiet little town has been able to retain its essence of being a being a laid back town with a sense of calmness everyone longs for.
P.S. Touring Auroville leisurely requires a full day visit. Hence, plan the trip before you travel.