5 Things to Do in Pondicherry India
Pondicherry is one of the more fascinating towns in Southern India.
On first glance you may think you are in colonial France.
Being a French settlement until the 1950’s you see a heavy influence in the city.
Catholicism also wields some sway here, with large churches and even Catholic book stores spotted around town.
Make no mistake about it though; this is India.
From the fragrant, delicious, satiating foods – stop by the Surguru Restaurant for world class Thali – to the friendly locals, to the sometimes overwhelming but orderly chaos inherent through much of this beautiful nation, Pondy offers you a fun mix of foreign influence and domestic authenticity.
Check out these 5 things to do in Pondicherry India.
1: Walk by the Bay of Bengal at Night
Everybody heads to the Bay of Bengal for a stroll at night.
Daytime temperatures in Pondicherry reach 105 degrees or higher. Factor in the humidity and you get why doing day stuff is pretty much like walking outside into a sauna.
Unless you have a high threshold for heat simply go for evening walks by the Bay of Bengal. It is the place to be in Pondicherry when the sun sets as things are a bit cooler and you may even get a sea breeze too.
Prepare yourself for tourist joint selfies. Some locals enjoy preserving images of the exotic foreigners, either with a group photo or solo exotic shot.
Make your way up and down the sidewalk by the strip. Grab a cool refreshment from local shops. Or spend time lazing on a bench, people watching.
There is no better way to end the day than being by the bay.
2: Feed the Pooches
Do you want to take the path less traveled while opening up your heart?
Buy a big bag of dog food.
Feed the local street dogs.
Kelli and I followed this daily ritual during the month we spent in Pondicherry.
Certainly not your average tourist activity. Some fearful travelers shy away from street dogs. Others see the doggies more like pests.
We are big on seeing all living things as sentient beings, with feelings, who feel joy, and suffering, and a range of emotions in between.
Either you can see the activity as helping you generate good karma or maybe it just feels fun to help out the packs of street dogs which dot the streets in Pondicherry.
Make friends. Fill a few canine bellies. Open your heart.
3: Stroll through the French Quarter
Strolling through the French Quarter is a blast from the past.
You may feel like you’ve been transported in a time machine, observing the quaint French architecture that dominates these neighborhoods.
Spend a few hours snapping photos of these homes, soaking up the French influence in the area.
These clean, clear and super quiet areas provide you with a serene, calming retreat from the hustle and bustle that tends to transpire by the main drag in Pondicherry.
4: Meditate at the Aurobindo Ashram
We spent a few evenings meditating at the Aurobindo Ashram on warm, humid, summer evenings.
This spot was founded by guru Sri Aurobindo and “The Mother”, a French woman who seems like a mysterious, loving, heart-centered figure in local lore.
If meditating is not for you simply lose your shoes, stroll inside and observe the nightly scene.
Note; to enter the ashram you will need to secure a ticket – free admission – beforehand. Ask someone at the ashram or somebody in the area where you can secure you ticket – location may change – before getting your meditation on.
5: Grab a Bite to Eat
There is no shortage of fabulous eateries in Pondicherry.
Kelli and I enjoyed Indian fare (of course), Italian food, and the most delightful veggie fare served up by a Belgian women who ran a restaurant in town. She has since moved back to Belgium, I believe.
Get lost in the city. Walk around. Peep eateries by the water, or, grab some grub near the center of town.
Western-ites, if you feel food culture shock and give in to panic you can even feast at a Subway in town. I do not casually recommend food chains but had to put it out there if you wanted a little change up.
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