To me, travel is not just about new places. It is about the people I am with, the food and the experience as a whole. This time it was about experimenting travel with my little brother (13-year-old) who wants to come treks with me. So, to start off slow, we decided to take a 2-day trip to Pondicherry.
The idea behind the trip was not to rush to cover all the places but just to go to places that both of us are interested. My brother ruled out temples even before we started the trip. I decided not to go general stuff like aquarium and boating. In the end, we had only a handful of places on our list.
We started from Chennai on 7th November afternoon and reached Pondicherry around 4.30 pm. I had booked my stay at a traveler’s hostel called “Gurukulam” near White town so that my brother can experience bunking with other travelers. After checking in at 5 pm and we decided to take an evening stroll till Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
We came back, ordered dinner in and planned the next day- start off early with the sunrise at Promenade Beach, followed by Auroville and Ousteri lake.
To my surprise, my brother woke up and got ready at 5.30 am without any fuss. Promenade Beach was a rough 20 mins walk from the place we stay. So, we walked all the eager for a beautiful sunrise only to find that it was a very cloudy day. No sun ever came, but we took a pleasant walk along the beach and clicked a lot of pictures (he wants to become a photographer, I hope too).
For breakfast we headed to Baker Street which I heard is very good. True to the word we had amazing food and headed to Auroville. We took an Auto from the Pondicherry bus stand to Auroville which cost us 300 bucks. By the time we got there, it started drizzling. The mood of the climate made the Auroville look more serene than it already was.
The idea behind Auroville township blew me away. We visited Mantrimandhir which is the center of the township, a beautiful place built to solely to practice concentration. I realized that Auroville is not a mere tourist attraction, it is a place where you need to spend at least a few days to understand it. I am definitely going back there, only next time I will try to spend at least a week.
Since it started raining, we canceled the plan of going to Ousteri Lake and returned to our hostel. When the rain stopped, we decided to take a stroll in the White town. It is the area of bright French style architecture and beautiful cafes.
We visited Immaculate conception cathedral on the way and ended the stroll at Promenade Beach. The French War Memorial, old Lighthouse, Gandhi statue and Dupleix Statue are all along the beach. As a final treat for the day, we saw a beautiful rainbow while sipping hot chocolate with the cold sea breeze brushing across our face.
Since we did a lot of walking on day 1, I wanted day 2 to be a relaxed day. There was only one place that we were going to visit- The Paradise Beach. Around 8 in the morning we went for breakfast to Baker Street again and then set out to Chunnambar Boathouse. From there the Paradise Beach is a 15 min boat ride away. It cost 300 bucks each for the boat ride in the beautiful backwaters.
Paradise Beach isn’t like any other beach in Pondicherry. It is an isolated beach with clean white sand and crystal clear water. We spent half a day there playing and chatting. It was quite a bright day with sunlight making the water shine with the cool sea breeze blowing soothingly.
After two fun-filled days of sister-brother time, we had to get back home. I was so glad to hear that he enjoyed the trip with me (I felt like I had just passed an exam). Even though I have been to Pondicherry a few times to visit my relatives, it was a whole new experience being a tourist here. It sure is a good place for a relaxing vacation!!
- Stay @Gurukulam Hostel (2 people for 2 nights) – 1700
- Food @Baker Street alone (breakfast for 2 days) – 1400 (it was worth it!)
- Auto to and back from Auroville – 600
- Boat from Chunnambar Boathouse to Paradise beach – 600
- Bus from Chennai to Pondicherry and back (for 2) – around 1600
Check out my other travel guides and itineraries here.