Pondicherry, the French capital of India is the place for you if you like the unhurried pace of life; languidly passing your days without being a frantic traveller who wishes to do a lot of touristy things in order to feel like they’ve seen everything a place has to offer. Pondy, as its lovingly called, is a town tucked away on the Eastern seaboard of India, in the state of Tamil Nadu. A few hours by road from Chennai, the best time to explore here is between the months of November and February because the climate turns travel-friendly.
If you’re a bit of an adventurer; the clean water and beautiful marine life of Pondicherry will make you head straight for the alluring scuba diving. Home to many diving sites like Cool Shark Reef and 4 Corners, these have a diverse range of underwater life: from corals, lion fish, grouper, kingfish, moray eels, eagle, manta rays, parrot fish, sea snakes to triggerfish, and even sharks, whales and dolphins, it just couldn’t be better.
Nature lovers could go for a rather off-beat boating experience under the dark umbrella of trees in the amazing Pichavaram Mangrove Forest. It is the world’s second largest mangrove jungle and the thickets of Pichavaram are just a few hours away from the main city, therefore, easily accessible.
Everyone knows this; if you seek inner peace, you head to Aurobindo Ashram. Located on Rue de la Marine, this ashram is one of the most well-known ashrams in India, and devotees from all over the world flock here for spiritual salvation.
Since it’s a coastal town, the beaches here are what dreams are made of. Primarily because they’re not as commercialised as the one’s say, in Goa. From Paradise Beach, Auroville Beach, to Serenity Beach and Promenade Beach, Pondicherry has some of the most tranquil beaches in the whole of India.
The city has a unique Franco-Tamil culture, very evident even in its cuisine. There’s a lot of seafood that can be enjoyed here like crabs, prawn and fish along with traditional South Indian fare like idli and dosa. You could do some retail therapy too; the town is known for its incense sticks, aromatic candles, essential oils, cotton dresses and artefacts.
Bring the trip to a close by visiting Auroville – also known as the city of dawn – an experimental township where people from across the globe work together to build a universal, non-monetary, non-religious township to realise good old human unity. Auroville endorses sustainable living and propagates the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind.