Pondicherry: Sighs! And Stuff

A couple of friends are planning to take a trip down South and asked for some information about Pondicherry. I meticulously worked on the assignment and ended up writing this email. In fact, I worked *so* hard on it that I actually deem this email to be fit for public display! :)

* * *

Hey Wanderer!
This is the official site for Pondicherry Tourism, and I think its pretty neat:
http://tourism.pondicherry.gov.in/

How to Get There
Since you will be going to Pondicherry from Hyderabad, I think the best (and cheapest) way to get to the place would be this:
– Hyderabad to Chennai (by train). This is an overnight journey. You would be in Chennai Central railway station by the end of it.
– Chennai to Pondicherry (via Mahabalipuam) by bus. You can take an auto to the new bus stand of Chennai, in Koyembedu… It shouldn’t cost you more than 100 rupees in the auto, by the way. There are express buses to Pondicherry from here. Almost every 15 mins or so. The place is pretty well connected with Chennai, by road. This is a distance of approx 150 kms. And if you are lucky, you will be in a DVD coach watching Rajnikant hits all the way!! =)

Caution: Do NOT laugh at Rajnikant or any superstar while you are in Tamil Nadu. That’s blasphemous :)

Places to See
This should be a helpful list:
http://www.indiatourism.com/pondicherry-tourism/index.html

You will find most websites listing tourist attractions such as, the French War Memorial, Aayi Mandapam, a 19th Century Lighthouse, Romain Rolland Library, and the Museum, etc. The fun part about this whole trip is — you will get to see all these attractions in a span of few minutes! The reason being, all of them are situated on ONE road named Goubert Avenue :)

One of the first things you should do after checking into a hotel is, to hire bicycles. You can cover most of the places using this fun mode of transportation.

Personally, I would suggest that you take some time to visit Auroville. It is going to be a pleasurable experience. Everything is pretty laidback and dreamy out here. As they say… Activity is not the highlight of a Pondicherry tour. Come here to roam about, feel the spirit and be charmed.

Where to Stay
I have heard that there are plenty of hotels in Pondicherry, but maybe I would not be the best person to advise you on this matter. We stayed in the Aurobindo Ashram New guesthouse. Ok, so you can’t host wild parties in there, but you can stay for 80 bucks a night. I think that’s a steal! And it was pretty damn decent. All the basic amenities and a balcony for the rainy afternoon.
http://www.miraura.org/aa/as/ghouses.html

What to Eat
Since Pondicherry is a mix of cultures, you can easily find Continental cuisine alongside authentic South Indian food. Some of those little tiny shacks we visited were an absolute delight to the tastebuds. Just be prepared for a French breakfast, a Saravana Bhavan lunch, and maybe some gin in a steel tumbler for dinner! :)

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