After almost a year of planning and rescheduling, our Pondicherry trip was finally on the cards. Amidst all the procrastinations, our major concern was will it be worth the visit, that too after experiencing the mystique environment of Goa. A lot of contemplation and several rounds of discussions later, we finally decided to go ahead with the trip and picked out the convenient long weekend to hit the road.
On the appointed day, we – a group of seven friends – started out from Bangalore at around 4 am. Since we were travelling by a friend’s car, we didn’t really have to worry much about travel expenses. All we needed was to cater for fuel. Amid all the holiday excitement and frenzy, there was this other fuel – fuel for the body – that we completely forgot to take into account.
Since we had started out super early in the morning, we had to go several hours on empty, grumbling stomachs before we could find a decent place to stuff ourselves with some breakfast. And that was around 9 am! So yeah, pro tip – if you are taking a road trip from Bangalore to Pondicherry and plan to hit the road early, it is a bloody good idea to keep some munchies handy because you won’t even find a tapri for tea on this stretch at ungodly hours.
Impromtu Halt at The Gingee Fort
Around 45 minutes short of Pondicherry, we saw this amazingly huge fort called the Gingee Fort and took an impromptu halt. The plan was to stop for a few selfies but the guard there succeeded in pushing us to climb all the way up to the highest point of the fort. It had around 400 stairs, and we were totally drained of energy by the time we scaled to the top, but the breathtaking view that awaited us made the climb worthwhile.
Arriving in Pondicherry
Famished and exhausted the only thing on our minds when we finally drove into Pondicherry was to get to our hotel as fast as we could but the romantic French colonial vibe of the place revived our spirits instantly. We almost forgot about following the Google Maps navigation like horses with blinders and strained our necks to take in the view of magnificent buildings with French windows and enormous bougainvillea vines dotting the roads.
Disappointment that was Rock Beach
Once at the hotel, we charged on our food like there was no tomorrow and caught up on sleep to revv ourselves up for this weekend trip. We started off with a visit to the famous Rock beach. It hit us like a tsunami. Not the beach water, the crowd. It was nothing like the tranquil, serene setting one often associated with seaside. The place was brimming with tourists, locals, kids, and hawkers. Humidity was at its peak, and it seemed like a disaster. After a brief outing that seemed to last an eternity, we returned to our hotel for a cosy but fun evening. Because what’s better than hanging with your friends in the comfort of your room, sharing peals of laughter over lip-smacking food!
Paradise Found at Paradise Beach
Keeping our hopes alive, we headed for Paradise Beach the next morning, and the experience was nothing short of magical. It was quite nothing like anything I had seen before, definitely a lot different from the beaches of Goa. The peaceful aura of the place was truly therapeutic. We forgot all about the scorching sun and the heat, and dived straight into the shiny water with no intentions of returning soon.
After hours of bathing in the sea, we finally pulled out and headed back to get the sticky sand off ourselves.
An Evening Well-Spent at Auroville
After the heady rush of lapping up the sea water, we headed to Auroville for exploring the untouched beauty of Pondicherry. It is the kind of place that you have see to believe. A must-visit if you are in Pondicherry, just for the calming ‘auro’ that prevails here.
Rock Beach Rediscovered
The Rock Beach may have disappointed us but we weren’t ones to relent easily. We returned to place, this time late in the evening for drinks and dinner by the sea. The ocean breeze, moon light shining on the sand, and the quietness of the night made the evening just so perfect. We figured the Rock Beach was after all a great place to be, as long as you get there way past sunset.
Not Wanting to Go Back
Just like that the weekend getaway had already drawn to a close but some of us were nowhere ready to return yet. So while the rest of group returned as per plan, I, along with two other friends, decided to spend another day at this oh-so-alluring destination. We headed to the Serenity Beach, living to the fullest this marvellous feeling of seamlessness triggered by the majestic sea. The huge waves and the sight of adrenaline-seeking travellers wakeboarding on them was a delight to behold. We concluded our day-long outing with a sumptuous sea food spread at this amazing little place called Marine Drive Teatauo, and started our journey back to Namma Bengaluru.