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Difference between revisions of "Pondicherry"

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Revision as of 20:25, 3 September 2009


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Pondicherry (also known as "Pondi", and now officially called Puducherry) [1], is a city and capital of the Pondicherry union territory of Southern India.
French Memorial on Beach Road

Contents

Understand

Pondicherry was the largest French colony in India. The city has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, especially in the old quarters, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries, although the city remains very much indian. French is still widely understood, and the whole city makes for rather pleasant mix of East and West. It is also known as The French Riviera of the East (La Côte d'Azur de l'Est).

Get in

Road

Pondicherry is well connected from all sides. Chennai is situated 160 km north of the city. Getting to Pondicherry involves a three hour road journey from Chennai. One can get a bus from CMBT in Koyambedu or from Thiruvanmiyur or Guindy. You can be sure of a seat only from CMBT in Koyambedu.

The road from Chennai to Pondicherry (the East Coast Road, commonly called ECR) is a scenic highway and a normal journey would take about 3 hours. Most tourists however, cannot resist the seashore kissing the ECR and take a number of stops en route. This route passes through Mahabalipuram, Kalpakkam, Pudupattinam, Idaikkazhinadu (Alambara Fort), Mudaliarkuppam (has a cool boat house), Marakkanam (contains large areas under salt pans), Kanagachettikulam/Kalapet etc. before reaching Pondicherry.

The other route that can be taken to reach Pondy is through the National Highway 45 (NH-45) famously called as the Grand Southern Trunk GST Road. This route passes through Tambaram, Madhurantakam, Melmaruvathur, Tindivanam before reaching Pondicherry. Both the major roads from Chennai are toll roads and approximately take the same time.

Pondicherry is about 320 km from Bangalore. Drive down National Highway 7 (NH-7) till Krishnagiri, take a left off the main highway (roadsigns mark the route) and then take National Highway 66 (NH-66) to Pondicherry. This route passes through Uthangarai, Chengam, Tiruvannamalai, Gingee and Tindivanam. One can reach Pondicherry either through Tindivanam (via Gingee) or Villupuram (via Thirukovilur). Gingee fort is also on the way to Tindivanam and worth spending some time. It is a Archealogical survey of India (ASI)Heritage site. The total travel time should be about 5-6 hours. Do pack some food or snacks for the way as there are no good restaurants enroute.

Pondicherry is well connected to Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Karaikal, Nagapattinam, Velankanni, etc to the South by National Highway 45A (NH-45A). The road is well maintained till Chidambaram.

Pondicherry connects to the GST or NH - 45 in two places viz. at Villupuram by NH-45A and at Tindivanam by NH-66.

Rail

Pondicherry is also connected to Chennai by an electric broad gauge railway line through Villupuram. There are 2 passenger trains running daily to Chennai Egmore Railway station and Tirupati and there is a weekly express train service to Bhubaneswar. In addition to this, there is also a daily express train to Chennai Egmore. It is advisable to take to road journey than train travel when you come towards pondy{as it is called in short for pondicherry, by the natives} from Chennai as it takes a longer journey time through train. Railway services are yet to come to standard terms and they are under intensive development as of 2009.

Air

Pondicherry has an airport with facilities for the landing of small aircraft like Dornier, Cessna, etc. But it is not available for public use presently.

Get around

The best way to see Pondicherry and its surrounding areas is by renting out a "Pedal cycle" or a "motorcycle" or "ungeared scooter". But with the Huge traffic, now it is not even possible to walk in many streets as they are crowded. Your hotel should be able to provide the contact to the nearest store. The prices as of June 2009 were Rs.150 for an ungeared scooter and Rs.200 for a geared motorcycle. You will need to provide some identification document as collateral and an advance of Rs 500. Many of the rentals also provide delivery and pickup at the hotel which is very useful. (Note: Usually the number of days for these vehicles are calculated from 9.00 AM to 9.00 PM)


The official Website: http://tourism.puducherry.gov.in/

pondicherry tourism

See

Gandhi Statue on Beach Road
  • The Beach
  • Barathi Park
  • Churches
  • Botanical garden
  • Chunnambar Boat House(which is crowded on holidays and weekends)
  • Oustery Lake(Only as a view but not developed)
  • Paradise Beach
  • Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  • Government Museum
  • Auroville city
  • Boat House
  • Manakula Vinayagar Temple
  • Villianur - St. Lourd Church (7Km from Pondicherry towards Villupuram)
  • Villianur Thirukameeswarar Temple

Do

There is not much one is expected to do at Pondicherry. You would understand this better once you get there and understand the pace of life.

You can also do some serious meditation at the Auroville, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, or going to Bharatanatyam performances that are often organized there by the Auroville Cultural Exchange in the local temples, or at major hotels.

You can also go fishing in a Catamaran or while away your evenings at the Rocky Beach. You can also hire mopeds and go on long drives for the sandy beaches that dot the coast line.

Eat

Pondicherry is known for its wide variety of cuisines ranging from South Indian delicacies like idly and dosa to seafood like fried fish, prawn bajji and parota.

French influence can be seen to some extent in the local food. The best options are still the local delicacies; the execellent sea food. Good French food is available at restaurants around the French part of town.

  • Rendezvous, 30, Rue Suffren. Open on all days.
  • Satsanga, 30, Labourdonnais. Open on all days.
  • Anjappar, Near Jeeva Theater Signal. Open on all days.
  • Appachi, Rangapillai Street, Open on all days. well known for their Chettinad fare, though they are very crowded and you might have to go early to grab a table.
  • Saravana Bhavan, Jawaharlal Nehru street, Open on all days. Well known for good south Indian snacks. Dosas here are absolutely delicious.
  • Coffee.Com, Mission St, A cool internet cafe hang-out.
  • Hot Breads, Nehru St, A pleasant European bakery.

Drink

Good branded liquor like Smirnoff, Bacardi and different Scotch Whiskies are very inexpensive as there is no sales tax in Pondicherry. A good store is "Costprice shop" on Lal Bahadur Shastri road.

Sleep

  • Hotel Vijayentra, 108, kamaraj salai,puducherry-605011, 0413-2245316. mobile no. 9443434626. half a kilometre from nehru street(main street) 1km from the bus stand. best budget hotel in pondicherry.24 rooms on two floors,one mini conference hall, one huge conference hall,one restaurent. totally 5floors luxury
  • Travel Agent (pondicherrytravel.com), no 112 kamaraj salai, 9109791567020, [2]. Travel Agent

Budget

  • * Aurobindo Ashram, (), [3]. For the budget traveler on a spiritual tour, the guest houses run by Aurobindo Ashram are the best. Please book in advance, if you don't want to be disappointed. The place is clean. Very strict too. No liquor, smoking, eating non-veg. Rs. 500 per day for Indians. Rs. 500 per day for Indians.
  • Sri Krishnas Guest House, 29/31 Rangapillai Street (3 mins west of GPO), 04132334477, 2221818, 2221010. checkout: 24 hrs after checkin. Large, clean hotel in the main shopping area. Rooms with TV with some English channels. French bakery 2 mins walk. Sea 10 mins walk. Regular Single 350 AC, non AC 250, Double: 750 AC, 500 Non AC triple:900AC, 750 non AC (extra bed 100 INR).

Midrange

  • Hotel Atithi (Hotel Atithi Official site), First Floor, Knowledge Towers, Little Mount, Saidapet, Chennai 600 015, India., +91 413 2345 000 - 008 (fax: +91 413 2345009), [4].
  • Hotel Corbelli, 170, Mission Street (Near to Casablanca on Mission Street), 91- 413- 2225301 / 2225302 (, fax: 91 - 413 - 2225303 / 2348731), [5]. checkin: 24 Hrs; checkout: 24 Hrs after check-in. Nice and clean hotel with all the basic amneties. Rooms are tastefully decorated and the room service is excellent. Centarlised A/C keeps the heat at bay. Morning breakfast buffet is included in the cost price. INR 1350.

Splurge

  • Sunway GRT, [6]. Cleanliness and service up to nice USA/European hotel standards. Not located in the center/touristy area of Pondicherry. You must arrange an auto-rickshaw (for approx Rs. 70) to get to the tourist area by the beach. Nice free buffet breakfast of South Indian foods. INR 5250.
  • Hotel Vijayentra.
  • Hotel Promenade.
  • Hotel De L'Orient.
  • Dupleix.
  • Anandha Inn.
  • Ajantha Annamalai.
  • Ashoka.
  • Villa Helena.
  • Le Dupleix.
  • Hotel Pondicherry Ashok. There is a nice beach nearby.
  • Hotel Mass.
  • Hotel Surguru, 104, Sardar Vallabhai Patel Salai, +91(413)222-7290/233-4377/233-9022, [7]. checkin: Upto 6 pm; checkout: 24 Hours. Though not located next to or at the Promenade/Beach or near Aurobindo Ashram or in the French Quarter, it is close to all the places and is within 2 kilometres. It has its own parking lot, good rooms and suites, 24 hours coffe shop, one of the best South Indian restaurants among other features to top the reasonable rates it offers to its guests. INR 1,300 to 2,000.


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