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Overview

Pondicherry Travel Guide

Pondicherry: An Overview

Just guess what is common among the following. Colonial architecture, clean virgin beaches, tree-lined boulevards, endless stretches of, backwaters, conversation in French, roads converging exactly at right angles. You are right, it is Pondicherry or Puducherry also called the French Riviera of the East.
Pondicherry is a curious combination of French suaveness with traditional Tamil culture. However the real charm of Pondicherry lies in its laid back attitude. No body seems in a hurry and the city moves on its own easy pace. Thus it becomes a perfect weekend getaway for the stressed out work force of nearby cities like Chennai and Bangalore.
Pondicherry has also a mystical connection to it. The great revolutionary and saint Sri Aurobindo chose Pondicherry as his abode then came Mira Alfassa aka Sri Ma or mother, the French disciple of Aurobindo.
Puducherry as the city is now called offers something unique to every one. With our Pondicherry Travel Guide here is your chance to discover the regal Pondicherry in all its splendour. Know about How to Reach, Accommodation, What to eat, Driving Directions, What to Shop through our well researched City Guide.

How to Reach

How to Reach Pondicherry

Pondicherry is a union territory to the west of Bay of Bengal coast. For the stressed out weekend travelers or for the serious truth seekers Pondicherry offers everything needed for the jaded souls. Reaching Pondicherry is very easy. Pondicherry has a good railway network with 2 stations. One is at Pondicherry while the other is situated at Villupuram some 36 kilometers away.
If you prefer roads then please note that Puducherry is very well linked to all districts and major towns of the Southern states. Places in AP, Tamilnadu,Karnataka and Kerala are easily accessible by road. As of yet there are no direct flights to Pondicherry. The nearest one is at Chennai some 135 Km away.We give here three modes of transport for reaching Pondicherry.

How to Reach Pondicherry by Road

How to Reach Pondicherry by Train

How to Reach Pondicherry by Airways 

Distance from Pondicherry to other locations
Place Distance
Chennai 150 km
Ranippettai 277 km
Rameshwaram 435 km
Thanjavur 177 km
Coimbatore 371 km
Bangalore 296 km
Salem 206 km
Madurai 324 km
Mammalapuram 132 km

 

Attractions

Pondicherry Attractions

Pondicherry is divided into two parts that runs north to south. The French rulers referred to them as the French Quarter (also known as the `white town` or `Ville Blanche`) and the Tamil Quarter (as Ville Noire or the black town). This distinction still exists today albeit in a subtle form. The French Quarter is obviously more spacious and better planned while the Tamil side has all the usual rumblings of any Indian city.
There are many attractions for tourists strewn across the whole of Puducherry. Some of the well known places are described here. 

Beaches: With a long coastline of 32 kms Beaches of Pondi beckons tourists from India and abroad.Read More... 

Vedapureswarar Temple: The Vedapureswarar Temple is located around half a kilometer to the west of Aurobindo Ashram. The Presiding deity is a Swambhu Lingam. 

Manakura Vinayakar Temple: The Manakura Vinayakar Temple is located approximately 200 meter west of the Aurobindo Ashram. It has a long history much before that of the French Colonizers. Read More... 

Varadaraja Perumal Temple: Varadaraja Perumal Temple is located next to the Vedapureswarar Temple. The presiding Deity here is Lord Vishnu 

Sacred Heart of Jesus Church: Sacred Heart of Jesus Church or Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus is noted for its gothic architecture and is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The stained glass panels here depict the complete life of Jesus Christ. Read More... 

Aurobindo Ashram: Spiritual Seekers as well as casual tourist alike throng this place. The Ashram is located at a short distance from The Beach Road. Read More... 

Museums of Pondicherry: There are three museums in Pondicherry each displaying their own unique Exhibits. They are really worth visiting. Read More... 

Romain Rolland Library: It is one of the oldest libraries in India with a rare collection of books. It is located at Rue Romain Rolland. Read More... 

Mansion of Ananda Rangapillai: Palatial 18th century mansion of Ananda Rangapillai,is situated on the street named after him. He was a courtier of a French Governor.Read More... 

Government Park: Government Park is really worth visiting. Located in the old Colonial part of the city it is the most beautiful public space in Pondicherry. Read More... 

Anglo French Textile Mills: Anglo French Textile Mills commenced its operation way back in 1898. The products of this mill make for good gifts. 

Botanical Gardens: The Botanical garden in Pondi is a real treat for visitors for it is home to several rare species of plants and trees. It was planned by C.S. Perrotet and executed in 1826.Read More... 

French Connections: Churches, Colonial Buildings, French institutions provide Pondicherry with an authentic French feel. Read More... 

Best Way to See the Attractions of Pondicherry

Pondicherry is not a very big place. So if you want to visit the tourist attractions of Puducherry , there are abundant modes of transport available. You can hire auto rickshaws (beware of overcharging) or hire a bike, or bicycle. Depending upon your age and riding ability this is the best option. No hassles involved all you need is to have a valid license for the bikes and give a security deposit. These are available at various important parts of the city. 

Local Sightseeing Tour

If you are short of time and energy then the best option is to go for the local sight seeing tour organized by the Puducherry Tourism & Transport Development Corporation. They conduct a daily sightseeing Tour which takes you to in and around Puducherry. The tour begins from the Beach Office and new Bus Stand and runs seven days a week.

Getaways

Pondicherry Getaways

Getaways of Pondicherry
Prithyangara Devi Saneeswara Villianur Arikamedu
Ousteri Chunnambar Chidambaram Auroville
Kanchipuram Tharangambadi Gingee Mandagapattu
Mamallapuram Thiruvannamalai Keezhoor Thiruvakkarai
Vedanthangal Kanchipuram Marakanam  

Pondycherry is located very centrally that makes the visitors to explore other nearby places aswell. They can easily make a half-day, full-day-trips or even over-night tours to several locations around Pondicherry. Buses, Auto rickshaws, Cycle Rickshaws are easily available. You can also avail the half day and full day tours conducted by Puducherry Tourism Development Corporation and other Private Bus operators. If you can ride a bicycle or a scooter then hiring one is the best option. A full day cycle ride costs you Rs 10/- with some security money. We give here some of the most visited destination from Puduycherry. 

Sri Prithyangara Devi temple

Sri Prithyangara Devi temple is located around 5 kilometers from Pondicherry. 

Saneeswara Temple

Saneeswara Temple or Navagraha Temple is 7 kilometers from pondicherry. 

Villianur

Just of 9.5 Km west of Pondicherry, Villianur is located on the Pondicherry - Villupuram main road. It is famous for Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswarar temple. Read More... 

Ousteri Lake

Just 15 kilometers from Pondicherry Town, Ousteri Lake is a century old artificial lake. It is located on the main Pondicherry - Viluppuram Road. 

Chunnambar Beach and Backwater

The distance of Chunnambar from Puducherry is just 8 kilometers. It is situated on the Cuddalore Main Road. Innumerable and exciting activities await tourists on its pristine beaches and tranquil backwaters.Read More... 

Auroville

The `City of Tomorrow` Auroville is located 10 km north of Pondicherry. It`s an Universal Town, where people bereft of nationalities, faiths and beliefs live in peace and harmony. A must visit. Read More... 

Marakanam

Marakanam is approximately 40 kms from Pondicherry on the ECR. Visit for its Beach and temples. 

Thiruvakkarai

Just 35 kilometers from Pondi it`s a place with many dimensions. You can find here The National Fossil Wood Park along with shrines of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Shakti together. Read More... 

Mandagapattu

Mandagapattu is 60 km away and is famous for its 7th Century Pallava style Cave Temple. 

Gingee

The historic city of Gingee lies at a distance of 75 kilometers from Pondy. It has fort that is more than 1000 years old. Read More... 

Chidambaram

Chidambaram is around 60 kms from Puducherry. Visit Chidambaram for its unique temples. The Union Finance minister P. Chidambaram also belongs to this place. Read More.. 

Mamallapuram

Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is located around 100 kilometers from Pondi on the scenic East Coast Road (ECR). A beautiful beach and Shore Temples awaits you. Read More... 

Thiruvannamalai

Thiruvannamalai is around 115 kilometers from Puducherry. A must visit for devout Hindus. Ramana Maharshi lived here. Read More... 

Tharangambadi

Tharangambadi is 100 kilometers from Puducherry. It is also pronounced as Tranquebar. It was a Danish colony in India from 1620-1845. 

Vedanthangal Bird sanctuary

Vedanthangal Bird sanctuary located in Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu is 77 km from Pondicherry. Read More... 

Keezhoor

Keezhoor Village lies at the border between Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. It is 28 km from Puducherry. The main attraction here is a 400 years old banyan tree. Its aerial branches cover is spread over a few acres. It also a historic place in the sense that here the voting took place for merger with the Indian republic in 1954. 

Arikamedu

Arikamedu was an ancient fishing village and a major port that had trading relations with the Romans. It was famous for beads making and flourished for centuries. As of now for the tourists not much could be seen at Arikamedu except for the perpendicular walls and a mission house. The artifacts recovered from the site have been transferred to Pondicherry Museum. Distance: 7 km; Location: South of Pondicherry, on the right bank of Ariyankuppam River. 

Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram is 130 kms from Pondy. Kancheepuram is one of the India`s seven most sacred places of pilgrimage. Don`t miss the lovely temples and the exquisite Kanchipuram Silk saris.

Kiomoi Must Dos

Kiomoi Must Dos in Pondicherry

We at kiomoi.com have identified 10 solid reasons that have a magical charm to beckon you time and again to Pondicherry. Here are those. 

Move around the Colonial Architecture: Puducherry`s Architecture of the resplendent past is sure to attract visitors. Colonial buildings and bungalows with shuttered windows and colour washed facades, courtyards spilling over with bougainvilleas. Buildings like French Institute, French Consulate, Raj Nivas are finest example of French Architecture. 

Revitalize Your Spiritual Aura: There is a distinct spiritual aura about Pondicherry that catches your attention right at the moment you enter Puducherry. You are bound to feel something changing inside your heart. You are filled with joy and peace. The atmosphere is more serene and silent. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of Pondicherry is still alive in the hearts of local populace and helps keep Pondicherry as an oasis of serenity. 

Play Boules or Petanque: This amazing game is played no where else in India. Petanque is an outdoor game popularized by the French. There are around 30 Bolues clubs in the city. It is sure to give cricket a tough fight. 

Savour French Cuisines: Pondicherry is a gastronomer`s delight. Food in Pondicherry is really very good as well as reasonably priced. You can expect authentic South Indian food, exotic sea foods, French cuisines, North Indian delicacies and Chinese food on a platter. Some real Sattvik treat too awaits you at Ashram Dining room. 

Enjoy Beaches and backwaters: With a 45 km of coastline, Pondi offers some exotic beaches. Watching the sunrise at the beaches is a heavenly experience. Paradise Beach and Auroville Beach with golden sands and beautiful palm trees is a memory of an unparalleled kind. Sea Cruise is also an attractive option. Chunnambar( 8 km) and Pichavaram provides excellent sight of the famous backwaters. As you cruise along in a boat past the lush greenery is a treat for the eyes. 

Take Leisurely Walks: Nothing is better in discovering Pondicherry than to walk along the city streets, monuments and the Beach road. Wandering can be a truly rewarding experience if you just drift along without caring about particular locations. 

Stay at Tree Top Houses: This is perhaps one experience that you will remember for your life. This is possible at the Chunnambar Beach resorts run by PTTDC. It`s an adventure worth trying. 

Play Water Sports: Chunnambar is also a renowned centre for water sport that offers yachting, wind-surfing, high speed rides on hydro-plane and boating. 

Do Yoga: Pondy is a prolific centre for Yoga. There are well known institutes that take cares of both your physical as well mental wellness. Visit in January during the International Yoga festival is an enlightening experience. Read More... 

Shopping: Shopping in Puducherry can really drive everyone into fanatic shoppers. Right from the footpath shops to malls and Aurobindo Ashram run stores there is a huge mine of items luring to be taken home. Read More....

Driving Directions

Driving Directions Pondicherry

Pondicherry, the union territory is situated in the Southern India. The long line of palm trees, French edifices, and the pleasant weather makes this destination famous amongst the bohemians who love to savor the French culture in their own country. French ruled this city for three centuries and the impressions of colonial reign can easily be noticed. While on a tour to Pondicherry, the travelers can visit French War Memorial, Arikamedu, Jawahar Toy Museum, Pondicherry Museum, Botanical Garden, Plage Paradiso and Aurobindo Ashram are the best travel attractions worth visiting. The nearest airport to Pondicherry is Chennai International airport, which is around 135 km away. Chennai is well connected to all airports in India and many cities abroad. The people who want to travel by rail can board train from Villupuram rail head. This railway station is well connected to Madurai, Trichy and Chennai. The travelers who want to visit other cities from Pondicherry can board state transport service up to the cities like Thanjavur, Trichy, Chidambaram and Coimbatore. The bus services back to above mentioned cities to Pondicherry. The NH 66 road links Ponidcherry to the major cities of India.

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Chennai
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Pondicherry → Cuddalore → Karaikal → Vailankanni → Tranquebar
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Trichy
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Chennai → Mahabalipuram → Pondicherry → Vailankanni
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Chennai → Tirupati → Thiruvannamalai → Thirukkadaiyur → Kumbakonam → Thanjavur → Rameswaram → Kanyakumari → Courtallam → Madurai → Namakkal → Tiruchirapalli
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French Connection

Pondicherry - French Connection

Pondicherry has a strong French flavour which gets reflected in every aspect of the city as it goes about its daily business. Be it the colonial buildings, neatly laid out roads, Beautiful street names, sacred churches, fusion as well as authentic French cuisines or even with the Police uniforms- there is the unmistakable French connection. There are French Nationals in Pondicherry who had never been to France but can vote for the French Presidential elections. Let`s find out what makes Pondicherry to be called as the "The French Riviera of the East". 

Office of French Consul: This is the office of the French Consulate General which is situated in the Rue De La Marine. 

Statue of Duplex: Duplex was Pondicherry`s most illustrious French Governor. Humbled by the British he was forced to return to France in 1754. Nevertheless recognition by the French Government came a century later when in 1870 they commissioned his statue at Pondicherry. Originally the The 2.88 meter tall majestic statue statue was erected over six ornamental granite pillars at Place Du Republique. The Statue now stands relocated to the southern end of the beach overlooking the Children`s park. 

French War Memorial: Located on the Beach Road or the Promenade Goubert Avenue, the French War Memorial was constructed to pay a tribute to the French soldiers who laid their lives during World War 1. It is maintained by the French government. Every year to commemorate the Bastille Day on July 14th a ceremony is held here. 

The statue of Joan of Arc: The statue of Jeanne d Arc or Joan of Arc is located on a well laid out garden across the entrance of the Notre Dame des Anges. It`s a typical French marble statue. The statue set in a triumphant posture commemorates the valour of this French Damsel. 

The French Institute: The French Institute of Pondicherry is one of the important landmarks of Pondicherry as a centre for academic excellence. It was inaugurated on 20th March 1955. An eminent French Indologist, Dr. Jean Fillozet was its founder. It`s a classical colonial building with a well decked up entrance gate, arched staircases, large windows and pediments. It is located at St. Louis Street. 

Raj Niwas: The 18th century building "Palais Du Government is now known as the Raj Niwas. Once occupied by the French Governor Dupleix , it is now the official residence of the Lt. Governor of Pondicherry. 

The Lighthouse: The 19th century lighthouse on Goubert Salai is still one of Pondicherry`s prime tourist attractions. It was built in the year 1836 and stands on the edge of the sea close to the Place Du Gouvernment. 

Eglise De Notre Dame Cathedral: The Eglise De Notre Dame Des Agnes or Church of the Capuchins, is located on the Rue Dumas. The locals call it Pink Church because of the colour. Built in the year 1865 it was modeled on the Basilica in Lourdes. The church is believed to have been donated by the French emperor Nepolean III. Prayers are still conducted here in French. 

Sacred Heart Church: Sacred Heart Cathedral aka Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus is situated on South Bolevard. This 100 year old cathedral is well acclaimed for its Gothic architecture and the immaculately stained glass panels. The glass panels show the complete life of Jesus. 

Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception: Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception lies in the heart of Pondicherry at Mission Street. It has a 300 year old history attached to it. After much destruction the present church was built in 1791. 

Hotel Lagrenee de Meziere: Hotel Lagrenee de Meziere dates back to 1774. It is located at Romain Rolland Street. This imposing colonial building was gifted to the religious order of Saint Joseph de Cluny. 

LA Ecole Francaise d Extreme Orient: LA Ecole Francaise d Extreme Orient or the French Institute of the Far East is located on the corner of Rue Dumas. The institute consists of two impressive buildings diagonal to each other. You need permission before hand to visit this place. 

Lycee Francais: Lycee Francais is located at Rue Victor Simonel. It was established in the year 1826. It has a good collection of old photographs and rare coins belonging to the French East Indian Company.

Accommodation

Pondicherry Accommodation

Where to stay While in Pondicherry

ondicherry like other Tourist destinations offers the tourist with a huge range of accommodation to suit every pocket and budget. You can choose from Aurobindo Ashram Guest Houses, private guest houses, lodges, budget hotels to even luxury hotels and seaside resorts. Apart from these, there are few places like heritage hotels and guest houses which have been converted from old French style colonial buildings. Pondicherry also has a number of business hotels catering to corporate clientele from the industrial sector. These accommodation choices are widely spread out over the sea face, main city as well as on the outskirts. Puducherry`s lodges with basic amenities are mainly located around the main market area, Nehru street and Ranga Pillai Street. If you want to stay in the French part of the city or in the Sea Beach resorts obviously this would come at a premium. 

Aurobindo Ashram Guest Houses

The Ashram run guest houses are located within 2 km of the main Ashram building. They have total of 16 guest houses. These guest houses are meant chiefly for visitors to the Ashram and not for people searching cheap accommodation. Staying in the Ashram run guest houses has its advantages and limitations. To start with the advantages, staying there can fetch you passes that enables you to stay for longer hours inside the Ashram as well as access the restricted places. Coming to the limitations, you have to come back to your rooms by 10.30 PM. You are not supposed to smoke and drink inside the guest house. No TV sets or phones. No entertaining of guests. Also guests are supposed to fetch their own bucket of hot water from the common tap at each floor. However both AC as well non AC rooms are available. Some of the guest houses have the provision of advance booking others have only current booking. 

Tree Top Houses

Amazed! Yes it is true at Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort, run by PTTDC you can actually stay at three tree top houses. One of them even has a balcony.

Festivals

Best time to Visit Pondicherry

If you are planning to travel to Pondicherry then this piece of information might be of help to you. October to March is the right season to be in Pondicherry. The weather is comparatively pleasant for you to discover the city. After March it really gets hot and humid. Other than the peak period for tourists ( oct- mar) there are some other events which seas people thronging to this coastal place. Some of the important festivals are highlighted here for you to think and decide for yourself. 

Christmas and New Year Rendezvous

Christmas and New Year are a big celebration time in Pondicherry. The whole Pondicherry wears a festive look during the whole week. Visitors can look forward to a having a gala time out there. Shopping, feasting on special menus offered at restaurants, hanging out in the public beaches, dance at beach parties organized by various resorts outside the city etc. On Ist January you can head to Aurobindo Ashram to participate in morning meditation with New Year music.

Time: 24th to 31st Dec 

Pongal

Pongal the festival of harvest at Pondicherry is celebrated among local Tamil populace with pomp and gaiety. During Pongal the city parks and beaches are given a colourful look and the whole place flooded with people.There is an air of celebration all over the place. Visit for an altogether different experience.

Time: 13th to 16th January 

French Republic Day

 French Republic Day or `Fete National` or Bastille Day is another popular attraction of Pondicherry. You get a feeling that you are in any French city as the French anthem is sung and wreath placed at the foot of �Soldat Inconnu� (Unknown Soldier), on the premises of the War Memorial. The war Memorial illuminated during the night looks spectacular.  As a part of the celebration, the day`s activities include march past by uniformed war veterans singing ``Marsellaise``as well as ``Jana Gana Mana``through the streets of Puducherry. Though Pondicherry is hot at this time but miss this regal event at your own cost.

Time: July 14th 

Masquerade

Masquerade is a popular mask festival held annually. People in bright and piquant costumes put on masks and dance on the streets of Pondicheryy, to the musical tunes.

Time: March/ April 

Villianur Temple Car Festival

The annual car festival of the Thirukameeswarar temple in Villianur is a major attraction of Pondy. In this event the temple deity Thirukamemswara Kukilambal is taken out for procession in a decorated chariot. People join in hauling this chariot. Join the event if you are religiously minded.

Time: During the middle of May. Exact date depends on Hindu Calendar. 

Fete De Pondicherry

Fete De Pondicherry is a cultural pageant that is held to coincide with the Liberation Day and the Independence Day. A cultural extravaganza takes place here for three days. Though the event is slated during 15 to 17 th August, the cultural fest is now held in the month of May due to rains. Fete de la Musique organized by Alliance Francaise of Pondicherry is turning out to be an annual event that is held in the month of August.

Time: 15th to 17th August

Eat n Dine

Pondicherry - Eat n Dine

Eating at Pondicherry
South Indian Chinese Italian
French Ashram Food Breakfast
Beach side Bakeries Sweets N Snacks
Coffee Salads & Juices Nonveg

Pondicherry is the place to indulge your gastronomical cravings. It is truly a gourmet`s delight. Here is a place where you can savour diverse cuisines from French, continental, Thai, Vietnamese to the Indian fares of authentic South Indian, Gujarati, Bengali and typical North Indian Stuff. And yes prices are affordable too. So be it breakfast, or lunch, and dinner get ready for some tantalizing foods. Some of the typical Pondicherry stuffs to try are Assad and Podanlangkai. Another favourite is the smoked Aubergine crush, a mouth watering preparation that is slowly rustled up on charcoal fire. 

Daily Bread

On Mission Street as you come out of the Cathedral, there is a smell of baking wafting in the air. You can watch out for the plum cake at Geeta Bakery it is really tasty. On the road to Ambour Salai you can find Stanley and Natraj`s Daily Bread bakery-cum-restaurant. Here you can find an assortment of breads, rolls, pies, tarts and doughnuts. The restaurant here serves piping hot soups, delicious Pizzas, fresh salads, burgers, etc. Paradise serves some very good Pizzas both veg and non veg and is located near the entrance of Auroville. "Au Feu de Bois" serves mouth watering wood fired pizzas.
Inside Auroville, the Auroville Boulangerie, make some of the finest confectioneries in Pondicherry. You get 15 different kinds of bread, 100 different cakes, croissants with chocolate and apple centres, assortment of biscuits. You can`t just ignore this joint. 

Beach Side Restaurants on Pondi Outskirts

The Beach side restaurants are located on the fringes of Pondy town. Theses restaurants with French sounding names also serve French sounding dishes on the menu along with local fare. You can get mouth watering Seafood at affordable prices. A must try is the Crab Malabar preparation. It is crab with corn kernels and poppy seeds. As for restaurants, you can try the Banyan Tree resort among others. 

Breakfast

For breakfast there are quite few good options in the city try Rendezvous for continental breakfast. Le Promenade is also good choice. For typical South Indian fare try the Surguru restaurant. Saravanabawan also offers South Indian food (Idly, Vada, Pongal)
Cafe Bistro part of the Le Club group is known to serve the best breakfast in town.
Krishna sweets
( Breakfast and Tiffin Rs 10-180) 

French Cuisine

Pondicherry as we all know had a French past. Still now it has a lot of tourists from Pondicherry. So no doubt you will find a lot of restaurants serving French Fare. Though the authenticity of the French food served at most restaurants is a bit doubtful. Rendezvous is one of the best in Pondicherry. Le Club though costly, serves quality French cuisine. Satsanga a colourful restaurant at Labourdonnais Street also serves good French food with high points being luscious steaks and crispy French salads. Then there is Le Dupleix which also gets lots of patrons (more sophisticated kind). The food here is contemporary French with a strong emphasis on presentation. Try out the three lettuce salad that is served on a bed of bright lettuce and cherry tomatoes. Flambéed coffee is another item to look for. 

Aurobindo Ashram Dining Room

The ashram dining room, few blocks away from the guest house north of Government place is unique. Around 2000 people can be served here (ofcourse not at the same time). It serves non-oily, non-spicy Satvik food at very affordable prices.
Come here if you are not a food aficionado 

Indian Food

There are a lot of very good South Indian and North Indian restaurants. A2B(Adyar Ananda Bhavan) restaurant on Jawaharlal Nehru Street opposite the Vak Bookshop serves good vegetarian North Indian dishes like Tandoori items and chat along with Chinese, Continental and South Indian varieties. Anugraha Restaurant at Hotel Surguru is known to serve authentic south Indian meals including lavish Thalis. The Park Guest House at the south end of Goubert Salai also offers good vegetarian food. You could also try out Selva Restaurant which is just diagonally opposite Gandhiji`s statue on Beach Road. It`s a vegetarian fast food restaurant. For lunch South Indian dishes like idli, dosa and various rice dishes are really good. All in all vegetarian food is available on a platter in Pondi.  Surguru Restaurant.

  • (Buffet Meal Lunch and Dinner- Rs70- 140)
  • Hotel Jayaram
  • (Lunch and Dinner- Rs 70 -140) 

Non-Veg

  • Chettinad
  • Hotel Annamalai International
  • Buffet Lunch and Dinner( Rs 180-400)
  • Hotel Aachiamma
  • Buffet Lunch and Dinner( Rs 100-250)
  • Hotel Appachi
  • Buffet Lunch and Dinner( Rs 95-200) 

Italian Food

Madam Santhes at 10 Lal Bahadhur Street offers rooftop dining and Mediterranean-inspired food. Look out for stuffed seasoned crab, garlic squid, hearty pastas and salads.

Sweets and Snacks

Ungal Agarwal Sweets on Mahatama Gandhi Road offers really delectable sweets. A special item of theirÂ?s is the Tirupati Balaji laddu. You can also try ghee laddu, cashew sweets and boondi paaku. Badaam kheer and chaats are also an attraction here. Amirtham sweets on the Anna Salai is another good sweet shop where you can try the typical south Indian Sweets.

Coffee

For having a cup of leisurely coffee with sandwiches or just as it is Pondy offers several places.There is La Lune on Rue Romain Rolland Street. Picnic is located at Canteen Street. Both would take you back down memory lane. For some modern ambience you can visit Kasha Ki Aasha. It is located at the end of Surcouf west of the Canal. They are also known to serve mouthwatering nutritious breakfasts and lunches. Try Coffee.com on Mission Street for an altogether digital experience. It is air-conditioned and you get computer with internet access, huge collection of DVDs and a giant screen to view them. Here you can watch movies for money. Try out their Vietnamese coffee besides pastry, cake and nice ice-creams.

Chinese

Blue Dragon at Rue Dumas and China Town, Rue Suffren is known for serving very good Chinese fare.
China Town( Dinner- Rs 200-600)

For the Health conscious

Kovai Pazhamudhir Nilayam(KPN) on Chetty Street is just the right place to be. Here you can have exotic as well as popular fruits and vegetables. Their specialty is fresh juices without water. Also on offer are fruit and vegetable salads.

Shopping

Shopping at Puducherry

Pondi is every shopaholic’s dream come true. You can buy a multitude of items from the shops strewn across the city. Sales Tax is low here and compared with affordable prices makes shopping a delightful affair. Primarily the shops in Puducherry are located in Mahatma Gandhi Street, Anna Salai, Cathedral Street, Nehru Street, and Rue Romain Rolland. During Deepavali when there is festive mood all around there is a Deepavali Bazar at Anna Thidal. There is also a shopping festival held every year around December-January to cash on the tourist inflow.
For shopping you could turn to the shopping malls, Khadi and Village Industries Board outlets, Aurobindo Ashram run shops and scores of other big and small shops. On Sundays many of the roads are closed for traffics and the roadsides become huge bazaars. A variety of items at affordable prices can be shopped from here. The only problem is that you have to jostle with the bustling crowds. As most of the times villagers from the nearby places arrive here in droves for shopping. 

Items to look for

Pondicherry offers a lot of knickknacks and other decorative items that can be bought cheap. The following are some of the products. 

Hand crafted items: Bedcovers, Stoles, table mats, Handmade paper jewellery etc, all typically hand-made. You can try Boutique d`Auroville and Kalki for some great stuff. 

Incense and aromatic stuff: You can buy a lot of stuff like herbs, candles, incense sticks, mosquito and insect repellents etc. You can get a good variety of these items from shops run by the Aurobindo Ashram near Rue de Mannakula vinayagar. (Rue means street in French) 

Fabrics: In Pondi you get a good range of fabrics at affordable prices. Khadi fabrics, twill, satin, corduroy, chambray, poplin, oxford are all available. The legendary Anglo-French mills are known for their range of crinkle free printed cotton and they give discounts too. Fab India, Casablanca and Titanic are good stores. Also check out for a good range of export-surplus clothes from Tirupur. Here you can have high-fashion clothes at unbelievably low prices. 

Leather products and accessories: You get top notch leather products and accessories here. The leather products of Pondy are highly acclaimed for their quality, finish and designs. Hidesign offers their products which are slightly cheaper as compared to other cities. 

Ashram Products (from the Ashram): Aurobindo Ashram offers quite a few products like Books being published by SABDA. You can buy books written by and about Sri Aurobindo and Mother of Pondicherry. Besides this you get a lot of eatables, Ayurvedic soaps, toothpastes, lotions, balms, hair care products etc. You are helping many self help groups if you buy these products. 

Pottery and Ceramic pieces: Pottery and ceramic pieces created by the local artisans of Pondicherry are something that you can’t just ignore. They can be found all over Pondicherry as well as Auroville. The pottery and ceramic artifacts are manufactured with certain varieties of clay and glazes in kilns that are environment friendly. Check out for "Golden Bridge" and "Rhinestone Art" range available at Casablanca among others. 

Miscellaneous Items: For the movie buffs you can get latest Movie DVDs (pirated of course) very cheap. It costs something around Rs.30. 

Kiomoi TIP: We recommend the following stores to look out for in Pondicherry

  • Casablanca: 165, Mission St. Tel- 2336495
  • Fab India: 59, Suffren St. Tel-2226010
  • Nilgiris: Mission St Tel: 2336604
  • L’art Naturel: 52, Canteen St, Tel: 2222470
  • Hidesign: 31, J.N St, Tel-2336495
  • Boutique Auroshree: 18, Nehru Street, Tel-2222117
  • Cohinoor: 54C, Ambour Salai, Tel:.2222331
  • Kalki: 134, Mission St, Tel- 2339166
  • La Boutique d` Auroville: 38, Nehru St, Tel-2337264
  • Little Shop: 21, Rue de la Compagnie, Tel-2343272
  • Splendour: 6, Goubert Avenue, Tel:-2336398
  • Nirvana 53, Suffren St, Tel: 4209610
  • Wonders: Mission Street, Shalimar
  • Gift Shop: Nehru Street
  • Archies: Mission Street
  • Hallmark: Needarajaper Street

Kiomoi Tip: Please remember that between 1 and 3 pm. The city almost closes down for afternoon siesta.

Local City Expert

Pondicherry - Local City Expert

 Shreejanani ,  Kiomoi`s Pondicherry City Expert

Shreejanani 

Shreejanani is a self confessed travel freak with a penchant for exploring new places. This is one of the reason why she studied in different places. As a city expert, Shreejanani wants travelers visiting Pondicherry to know the hotspots well in advance and avoid disappointment. She loves south Indian delicacies and likes to stay in a place for a longer duration to fully understand its essence


 

 

Useful Facts

Pondicherry Useful Facts

Official name: Puducherry
Status: Union Teritorry

Districts: Pondicherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mah

Languages Understood: Tamil, English and French

STD Code: 0413

Distance From Chennai: 165 Km
Distance From Bangalore: 320 Km (shortest route)
Distance from Mahabalipuram: 95 km

Location: On the Coromandel Coast, surrounded by Tamil Nadu on all sides except East.

Best Time to Visit: September to March 

Climate: The climate is tropical climate; usually hot and humid; monsoon- October to December.

Temperature: Summer- 37°C(max), 22°C(minimum); Winter - Max: 32°C, Min: 19°C

Watch Out: Pondy has many streets with different names at both the ends. This is especially true for east-west oriented streets. 

Kiomoi Advises

Cheap Booze: Liquor is comparatively cheaper with a good choice of brands.

Pondicherry after Dark: The nights descend very early in Pondicherry. By 10 pm streets turn empty. Though it is relatively safe in Pondi, but do take precautions and avoid venturing alone into secluded spots especially if you are a woman. Also avoid beaches after dark.

Getting Out in the Sun: Pondicherry in the afternoon sun can be pretty exhausting. Early morning walks are always recommended. If you need to go out please carry sun block, sun caps and plenty of water. Drink Coconut water to keep sun at bay.

Shopping Bags: Plastic Bags though not exactly banned but are generally frowned upon by the environment conscious shop owners of Pondicherry. So it is better to carry your own bags for heavy shopping.

Service Time in Restaurants: Everything about Pondicherry per se is bit on the laidback side. The same is true for the time it takes for the restaurants to serve food also. Be patient to wait for the food!

Pondicherry Map: The map of Pondicherry is available in most hotels. Get that before you begin exploring the town. You can get lots of information as well as a detailed mapping of various restaurants and places of interest.

Shopping: In Pondi mostly the shops open their shutters at 10.00 a.m. They continue till 1.00 p.m. In the afternoon after 1 pm they mostly close their shutters. They are then open  from 4.00 to 10 p.m. On Sundays, you can find many shops closed. Plan your shopping trip accordingly.

Commuting from Chennai: Avoid traveling from Chennai to Pondicherry in the night by private taxies. They are prone to charging astronomical amounts.

Commuting from Bangalore: If you plan to travel from Bangalore during the weekends you need to book the tickets for two way journey well in advance. Chances are slim that you will get tickets for buses on your day of travel (be it private or Government)

Hotel Accommodation during Weekends: The weekend crowd form Chennai and Bangalore descends Pondicherry in hordes. Prospects of finding hotels get very dim during the weekends or on holidays merging with the weekends. You need to book the hotels in advance or have to spend a lot of time in searching.

Tourist Offices

Pondicherry Tourist Offices

Pondicherry Tourism & Transport Corporation

It is the government agency that offers accommodation along with conducting sightseeing tours

Tourist Information Bureau
40, Goubert Avenue (Beach Road),
Pondicherry - 1
Phone: 0413-2339497

PTDC

Tourism Complex
No 2, Wallajah Road, Chennai
Tel: 044-2330532

Local Sightseeing tours conducted by PTTDC 

Full day Sightseeing

Timing 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM; Charges: Rs 200 per person, children below 5 years free. The charges include free boat riding at Ouesteri Lake. 

Half day Sight seeing

Timing: 1.30 PM to 5.30 PM, Charges: Rs 100 per head. The tour covers 3 places Auroville, Sandy Beach and Ashram.

Local Holidays

Pondicherry Local Holidays

Public Holidays for 2009 in Pondicherry
Holidays Date
New Year Day Ist January
Pongal 14th January
Thiruvalluvar Day 15th January
Uzhavar thirunal 16th January
Republic Day 26th January
Meelad Un Nabi 10th March
Good Friday 10th April
Tamil New Year Day/ Ambedkar Jayanthi 14th April
May Day 1st May
Indpendence Day 15th August
Ramadan 21st September
Gandhi Jayanthi 2nd October
Deewali 17th October
Bakriid 28th November
Christmas 25th December
Bank ATMs

Pondicherry Banks & ATMs

SBI ATM

15 Rue Suffren Pondicherry - 1 

HDFC ATM

112, MG Road 

ICICI Bank ATM

1) 47, Mission Street

2) P.B. No. 45, 105, Chetty Street

3) Hotel Mass Complex, Maraimalai Salai 

Axis Bank ATM

1) 40, Mission Street

2) Hotel Anandha Inn, 154, S V Patel Salai, Pondy-3