Pondicherry Itinerary: Best Places to explore in the French Capital of India

by Riya Bagaria
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Often referred to as the French Capital of India, Pondicherry, or Puducherry, as it is more popularly known, is a short drive away from Chennai. A small, quaint city, Pondicherry has so much to offer! Brimming with white-washed cathedrals, boasting huge and spacious villa rentals, serene and rocky beaches, snuggly cafes, spacious private villas and vibrant interiors, Pondicherry is an ideal getaway to spend time with your friends and family.

Divided in 2 parts – the French Quarter, proudly echoing the French legacy, and the Tamil Quarters, providing you with an authentic experience of the essence of Chennai, Pondicherry is an all-encompassing experience. Choose to spend your time at the Tamil Quarters or experience the remains of the bright French architecture, or, divide your time and experience both at its best! Rent out bicycles or bikes, explore and navigate your way through the narrow streets, let your hair loose and just take in this beautiful city.

Corners of Pondicherry mirror the French colonial culture. From the architecture to the food, the remnants of the French culture are scattered throughout this tiny city. Famous for its villas on rent, beaches and cuisine alike, Pondicherry is so much more than just an instagrammable city. Though the best time to visit would be from October to December, this city is a treat all-year round! Here’s a detailed itinerary for you to make your stay at this city memorable and to ensure you don’t miss out on anything!

Jog at the Promenade Beach 

Start your day with a brisk walk at the promenade beach. Overlooking the crashing waves and rocks, there isn’t a better way to start your day while at Pondicherry. Jog, run, walk or just sit by the beach and soak in the view, amidst the early morning sun. Once finished, head over to Le Cafe, that is a stone’s throw away from the beach, for a scrumptious breakfast, including croissants, your classic coffee/tea, maybe even a sandwich. After all, a good start to a day will ensure you are ready to experience pondy in all its glory for the rest of the day!

Experience serenity at Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Now that you have had a healthy and good start to the day, it is time to get spiritual. Located just 8 kms away from Pondicherry, Aurovilla is an experimental township housing one of the most famous ashrams in India, Sri Aurobindo Ashram. For everyone alike, Sri Aurobindo Ashram is where you experience calmness like no other. Formed in 1968 on the proposed idea of the acclaimed freedom fighter and founded by Mira Alfassa, you can indulge in yoga and meditation sessions at Matrumandir. Embrace the quietness, chirping of birds and once fully satisfied, head over to various cafes for an amazing lasagna and other delicacies.

Matrumandir at Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry

Rent out cycles and explore the city


After an enlightening experience at Auroville, it is only fair to come back to the city and explore it even more. Pondicherry is filled with beautiful narrow streets and cycling tours are available in abundance. Be a part of a cycling tour or simply rent one and traverse through the city. Experience the rich culture and diversity throughout the tour. Visit the famous Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple, famous for its figures and vibrant exteriors or head over to a three centuries old church – Basilica of Sacred heart of Jesus – that is famous for its impeccable gothic architecture. Stop by the Pondy-classic mustard coloured walls and pose for the perfect instagram moment. Explore the huge properties and villas in Pondicherry. Once tired of cycling around the city, take a small snack break at Madhuram Multicuisine Restaurant for a plate of authentic south-indian snacks. From a sweet pineapple sheera, to an appetizing plate of medu vada, all of your needs will be catered here.

The French quarter, Pondicherry

Indulge in scuba diving

If you cycling around the city is just too plain and simple for you, don’t worry, we have got you covered. Pondicherry is a city offering an array of adventure sports, however, scuba diving is the most popular. Home to some of the most wide range of marine life, Pondicherry is the place to go for scuba diving. Clear, crystal water and ranging in depths, Pondicherry caters to all audiences. Regardless of if you are trying diving for the first time or your nth time, you are sure to have a good time here. Spot various marine animals ranging from sea snakes, angelfish, parrotfish and more.

Visit the Chunnambar backwater

While a good place for adventure-seekers, Pondy also provides a serene environment. The Chunnambar Backwater is just an example of that. A few minutes away from the city, you can rent out paddle-boats or motor boats and venture out in the blue backwaters. Witness a wide range of marine life through the crystal clear water. A soothing and calming experience, amidst the water, the greenery, the sunset and more, Chunnambar Backwaters is truly unskippable. After this amazing adventure, head over to Le Dupleix and relish a delicious dinner. Situated a mere 15 minutes away from the Backwaters and located in the French quarters, Le Dupleix is an amazing restaurant offering a range of delicacies from North Indian to French to Continental. However, their most popular and famous one remains, the classic, Chicken Biryani. Admire the blue French architecture, soak in the ambience, gorge on the oh-so-good Biryani and end the meal with a cheeky Cheesecake or a plate of Gulab Jamun. A perfect end to the day, in my opinion. 

Boating in Pondicherry

Phew, Pondicherry has quite a lot doesn’t it? You can visit all these places in a day – which if you manage to do, kudos to you – spread it over 2 days or even 5 days! So, what exactly are you waiting for you, start planning!

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