A Weekend with the girls in Pondicherry
When it comes to de-stressing, I find nothing better than a beach, and no better company than my tightly-knit girl gang. It had been a while that the four of us had been on a vacation, away from our work-home-work routine. So after a year of planning, procrastinating, and ruling out every second destination on the map, we agreed on Pondicherry. The quiet little beach town seemed like the perfect place to put our feet up, watch the sunsets and let the waves wash away the stress.
I love how the old world French influence still weaves itself with the modern quirks and renders a quaint charm about the town. The colonial heritage on one hand and the trend-setting structures on the other, with the added element of the warm beaches and the tranquil Bay.
As soon as we landed, all of us immediately felt lighter, thanks to the warm breeze and the higher temperatures. We had booked a cozy French bed and breakfast in White Town, with a lovely beach view. If you are travelling outstation by cab, always make sure that you book one that is comfortable, with an experience driver.
Each one of us had visited Pondicherry individually or with our respective families but never as a group. And that made all the difference. We decided to do everything that this beautiful locale has to offer and make it a memorable vacation for each one of us. We picked each of our preferences for each of the days. For the last day, before we headed back home, we decided to surprise each other and planned for the one big activity that none of us had done before.
Day 1- Beach Hopping
From the very first day, we rented a cheap and reliable car with driver in Pondicherry so we could easily roam around without having to worry about local transportation.
Our beach hopping day started with a trip to the adventurous Karaikal Beach, which was about three hours from our resort. With all kinds of water sports to choose from, it was just about the right place we wanted to be. We went for a round of jetski, followed by parasailing, and a short boat rides to the backwaters.
By afternoon we came back to town to the Serenity Beach. Befitting its name, the sea was calm but was made to look quite dramatic with pro surfers flaunting their wave riding tricks and taming the waves under their boards. By evening we headed to the Pondy Marina to watch the sunset from the famous boardwalk.
Day 2- Island picnic
Next morning, we were ready for yet another adventure. One of the girls planned a day picnic on Paradise Beach Island. We rented a boat from the Chunnambar Boat House and we drove it ourselves! While this might sound uncommon, nothing is impossible when there are four relentless women trying to get something done. Despite all of us being amateurs, we managed a safe ride till the Paradise Island, sailing on the blue waters of the bay and palm-lined shoreline. Historically called the Plage Paradiso, this island is Pondicherry’s highlight. There were gazebos made on the beach with thatched roofs and coconut tree logs.
Tired from swimming and wandering around all day, we lazed on the beach and didn’t realize when we dozed off.
Day 3- Walking the food trail
I am the epicurean in the group and believe that no trip is well-made if one is not well-fed. And a place like Pondicherry is a gastronomy paradise! Tucked in the lanes and alleys of the old town and the new I had found the best pit stops of our food trail.
Our day started with a trip to the Grand Bakery. Serving the town for more than 50 years, this was where we broke the day’s fast with freshly baked buns, and the flakiest pastries ever, followed by a hot cup of organic coffee at Le Cafe. Lunch, of course, was from the vintage menu at the classic Villa Shanti in the old French town. We ended the day with a Creole food fare at Hotel De L’Orient in White Town.
Day 4- Wheeling through the town
After a day of food, it was time to burn it all up and go on a bicycle ride through the town. Riding on our bikes, we saw Pondicherry from a whole new angle, cutting through the nooks and crannies, and old alleys. We stopped for shopping at the local markets vending candles, handmade papers, fragrant soaps, and oils.
The big ending
The last day, before we left, we had planned one big activity. It was time to hit the underwater world with SCUBA. Each of us has been taking an hour off every day and practicing, only to surprise each other on the last day! Our guided session took us under the sea to swim with fishes and corals. This was definitely one thing neither of us ever done before and culminated into a wholesome, fulfilling vacation that we would remember for a long time to come.