The French Riviera of the East as it is known, the quaint confines of the Indian town of Pondicherry dwell in a touristry appeal that is a mix of old world charm and pristine beckoning, of calm lands and calmer seas, of blue skies and turquoise waters and a vibe that is as laid back as it is enamoring. Vintage feels, age old French influences, the southern Indian charm and a very relaxing yet hip setting, Pondicherry is a land of beauty in its every offering. A visit to this land of serenity should be a must in your bucket list, even if it is just a weekend getaway or even a one day adventure. Here’s listing the best places to visit in Pondicherry in one day to not miss out on a lifetime of wanderlust goals-
Among the list of places to visit in Pondicherry a definite feature should be one of its most beautiful beaches. The picturesque Paradise Beach, also known as the Plage Paradiso, is a relatively lesser known gem and therefore remains one of the calmer and cleaner among tourist attractions in the country.
Glorious golden sands lead down to the sparkling waters lined with an array of palm trees making for a setting that is mesmerising in its beauty and soulful in the tranquility. Also bigger than many of the other beaches that abundantly dot this coastal town, the Paradise Beach stands true to its name. Well built shacks are easily spotted all over the beach making it a perfect getaway to while away an entire relaxing day in. Whether you want to just laze around or indulge in beach sports or jump in joy with some dolphin sightings, Paradise Beach will offer it all.
Chunnambar Boat House
Accessing the Paradise Beach however is a problem as the pretty space is not connected by road. A tropical heaven some 8 kms away from Pondicherry, it’s therefore the Chunnambar Boat House that serves as the reaching point for Plage Paradiso that becomes another must visit place in town. Taking a boat from this spot is the only way you can land your feet on the glorious sands of the heavenly beach.
The boat house is also famous for the backwaters that occur at the point where the Chunnambar River meets the Bay of Bengal. A pretty resort rests on the area adjoining the backwaters that offer ample opportunities for relaxation and recreation. You can even live in quaint tree houses at this spot along the Cuddalore main road which makes it all the more fascinating for holidayers looking for quite the detour.
Pondicherry Botanical Garden
A sprawling 22 acre expanse of lush greenery, the Pondicherry Botanical Garden counts as one among the must visit place in Pondicherry not just for its exclusive reserve of greenery but also for its history. Built years ago in time by the French colonists by planting exotic plant species from all around the globe, the garden today is resplendent in its more than 1500 species of plants that make it a pretty enticing place to be in town.
A very prominent gate marks the entrance to the garden, reminiscent of the French architectural influence seeped deep within the verdancy that was amassed way back in 1862. The garden also doubles up as a spot of entertainment, with toy rides and a musical and dancing fountain as well as an aquarium providing ample fun for visitors to unwind and frolic about at leisure.
The largest coastal village in Pondicherry, Veerampattinam is a quiet, laidback place that makes for a delightful option to step in venturing a little out of town. A village with a 100 years old legacy, Veerampattinam houses also a namesake beach that is quite a gorgeous beauty to seek solace in. A little known expanse of prettiness, the beach is just the perfect spot to soak in some glorious sun while watching about in leisure as the village fishermen go about their daily fishing chores. Also the host of the popular car temple festival, this tranquil beach is sure one of those hidden gems that abound in this quaint town. Glorious in its quietude and boisterous in its unadulterated beauty, Veerampattinam sure is worthy enough of your list of places to visit in Pondicherry.
Kanniga Parameswari Temple
It is only in very rare instances that you come across a magnificent temple that radiates and revels in its influence of foreign architectural styles. Pondicherry is one of those lands so known for its French elements that you would inevitably encounter ample influences of the foreign culture in many of its treadings. And the Kanniga Parameswari Temple is one such exquisite show of the Pondi inclusivity, that seamlessly incorporates elements of both the French style and the traditional Deccan architecture. An architectural marvel and a renowned place of reverence, this uniquely incorporating temple dedicated to Goddess Shakti draws a whole lot of tourists every year. Whether you visit it out of sheer devotion or in awe or even for serving the purpose of your travel snaps, the Kanniga Parameswari will endow you with abundance of all.
You cannot be in Pondicherry even for just one day and return without a view of the Aurobindo Ashram, one of the places to must visit while in the coastal town. A highly spiritual place that stems from the strength of its almost 1600 members strong community, the Ashram lets you connect with your inner self in the expanse of peace it seeks to hold.
Pondicherry’s popular stretch of beachfront that derives its name from its rock lined shores is the popular Pondicherry Promenade, also known as the Rock beach. The perfect place to sit down and look over as multiple waves hit the rocky shores, the 1.2 kilometer long promenade is also as luxurious a walkway to while away an entire evening in the cool caress of the refreshing sea breeze. Even in the huge crowds it draw with its perfect ambiance and popularity, the beach still remains a great place to unwind if ever you are in Pondicherry.
Another of the many lesser known beaches that characterise Pondicherry, Reppo Beach however remains besotted by foreign tourists who flock to this pretty seascape for its laid back ambience and the relaxing vibes. Far removed from the din of modernity, this striking beach offers an array of pretty sights to soak your soul in some soothing solace. Whether you want to be mesmerised by the many fishermen boats that sail on the horizon conjuring up a pretty spectacle or want to be taken aback by the spectacular beauty that envelops its dusk skies, the Reppo beach is one of the places you must visit even when you are in Pondicherry for just one day.
Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges
Famed as the most beautiful church in entire Pondicherry, Eglise de Notre des Anges is also one among the oldest in the region. Resplendent in its many encompassment of the French style of architecture, this very religious place is a prominent tourist attraction in town and exuberates splendor in its every element. The immaculate stone work also extends to the gorgeous white chapel of this church that translates as Our Lady of Angels Church and is the host of the only Sunday mass in Pondicherry.
A century old man made lake that is another of the must visit places in Pondicherry is the Ousteri or Ossudu lake. A wetland designated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the lake is the hotspot for a wide variety of migratory birds who make this haven of enormous resources an even prettier place to flock to. There is even a small boat club on the lake where visitors can roam about and enjoy the sunset or they can go boating and grab a bite at any of the numerous restaurants around.
Grand Bazaar is the most happening tourist hub in Pondicherry and one that you must definitely throng if you get the exclusive feel of the Pondicherry life. Within its messy alleys and its stacked up sacks of wares, Grand Bazaar hordes an enormous array of goodies. Be it edible stuff like fruits, veggies and fishes, grocery and spices, home ware and clothes, as well as souvenirs and idols, there’s no color on the spectrum that’s not discernible in the shopping chaos that is Grand Bazaar. Even when you don’t have anything particular to buy, a visit to the bazaar is a must for it being an offbeat charming experience.
As popular a tourist site for its unmatched surfing opportunities as it is for its golden laced sands, Pondicherry’s Serenity Beach is yet another of those exquisitely gorgeous havens that should take up space in your itinerary. Sparkling sands and shimmering waters, serene and secluded, Serenity Beach has to be the most aptly named beach of its kind. The many palm trees that dot the sandy vicinity provide a luxurious expanse of shade where you can sit down and laze about with all that glorious beauty at play or cool down your heels after an invigorating session of surfing. To do or to be, this one’s a serene choice you need to be making!
An experimental township some few kilometres away from Pondicherry, Auroville gains prominence as the coveted City of Dawn and is very much an international town. A fully modern setting but one that is steeped in the ideals of spirituality and the many virtues of humanity, Auroville is the place to discover your essence and your true self.
Auroville is also known for one very prominent edifice that spans the entire range of vision with its monumental size. Called the Matrimandir, this huge golden globe like structure is a meditation center and has in fact been built as the soul of Auroville city. Seething with the very ideals that make Auroville so much the revered city of peace, access to the Matrimandir is strictly overseen by authorities as the architectural landmark is not sought to be deemed a tourist site despite its tremendous impact on public curiosity.
With its coastal existence, it’s no wonder that Pondicherry has more than just a couple of beaches for tourists to seek detour. Another such beach that has its pristine beauty as its claim to fame is the Auroville beach, apart of the Auroville Ashram. Like its counterparts, the beach is known for its exotic sands and strong waves that makes relaxation come easy to everyone who visit it. But the Auro Beach is also at least a tad different from the others of its kind in town most prominently because it is one of the important nesting grounds of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Also with its shallow waters and small but resilient waves, the beach is the perfect spot to go about swimming for a further attempt at indulgent relaxation.