Nomad Diaries: Working from Pondicherry
Pondicherry has been on my bucket list for more than three years now. I’ve been to Chennai twice but couldn’t visit Pondicherry. A couple of my relatives and friends went there, had fun, and called it the Goa of the South.
Since it lies on the East Coast, I can only visit Pondicherry at the beginning of winter to have the best experience. After my 2-week visit to Varanasi last year, I’ve been yearning to visit Pondi, and this winter, I went there.
My friend, Yeshwanth, accompanied me, and we started to Pondicherry from Bengaluru. We planned to work from Pondicherry for a week and return to our respective places.
We booked GoStops Auroville for two days and decided to look for the remaining days’ stay based on the weather conditions and our mood. Soon after reaching Pondicherry at around 5 am, some auto-wallahs were ready to play with us.
One auto guy asked us where we were headed. We mentioned Auroville & he suggested we rent a bike, and he took us on a ride to the bike rental shop. The bike rental shop is one of the worst-rated on Google Maps, and we were naive to believe in him. Just a 1.5km ride in the auto, and he charged Rs.100!
Our suggestion: There’s a nice bike rental shop beside the bus stand in Pondicherry. Here’s the Google Maps link and phone number. Talk to them and rent a bike there.
We took a two-wheeler and went to GoStops Auroville, about 15 km from Pondicherry. After freshening up, Yeshwanth wanted to visit the Auroville beach, and we went there. It is one of the beaches in Pondi with few visitors, and I liked it. We had breakfast nearby and returned to GoStops.
We worked during the day and visited Roots Cafe in Auroville for lunch. Nirav, who runs the cafe with his friends, helped us plan our visit to Auroville and offered Kajimba, a drink made by an Israeli Entrepreneur in Auroville.
After finishing the day’s work, we headed towards Matri Mandir in the evening. We took the entry pass and walked to the Matri Mandir. Renovation works were happening when we were there, and we learned that we needed to email at least 2–3 days before to seek permission into the Matri Mandir.
For dinner, we went to Roots Cafe again.
The following day, we went to have breakfast at the famous Auroville Bakery. The breakfast was good, and the place had a pleasant ambience. After work, we went to explore Auroville — visited Auroville Earth Institute, and Yeshwanth explored other areas in Auroville by bike.
We didn’t roam in the evening since it was cloudy and raining. We had our dinner at Laxmi Pizza.
The following morning, we checked out at GoStops and headed towards Pondicherry. We booked Sunflower Villa via AirBnB for two days in Pondicherry and thought of exploring other budget-friendly stays near the beach. Sunflower Villa is near the bus stand and is a comfortable stay for two people. The host and staff are friendly and maintain the property with hygiene.
We roamed around the city on that day and went to Rock beach. Walked along the beach and had food at the stalls nearby the beach. In the evenings, people come with families, walk along the beach, sit on the sea shore and talk their hearts out until late at night. It is a good sight at night in Rock Beach.
We were at Sunflower Villa for two days, and during our stay there, they recommended that we rent a bike from RV Two Wheeler (mentioned at the beginning of the blog). We did that, and happily, they were nice to us.
During the week, we visited the beaches of Pondicherry — Rock, Serenity, and Paradise. Serenity beach has the best Sunrise and Sunset views and is on the city’s outskirts. Paradise beach is neatly maintained and has beach sports. It is the best beach in Pondicherry, in my opinion.
We checked out from Sunflower Villa and moved to Shaman’s house, near Rock beach, and a budget stays in Pondicherry. It was good, and the property manager, Shaman, was very friendly. He sent us a list of must-visit places in Pondicherry, along with the places to eat and activities to partake in, and recommended we visit Pichavaram Mangrove Forest.
We visited the Pondicherry Museum, and there was a replica of a house that wasn’t destroyed by the British, and we were quite impressed by its architecture (in the museum). We decided to visit the actual house, which is on the market. It is Rangapillai Mansion, and after looking at its current state, we felt we should’ve left the museum in awe of that replica instead of visiting the actual house.
On one of the weekends (either Saturday or Sunday), we went to Chidambaram and Pichavaram. Chidambaram is a historical place famous for its temples, primarily ruled by Cholas. We visited the Nataraja Swamy temple there (the one shown in Kamal’s Dasavatharam). After having a darshan at the temple, we went to Pichavaram, which has one of Asia’s largest Mangrove Forests.
The boat ride was fun and refreshing. The Tamil Nadu government takes care of the Mangrove Forest there, and it’s best recommended to visit either during weekdays or early on weekends. The crowd is usually huge there on weekends. But it was worth the wait!
I wrote a Travel Case for Pranav here. It contains all the activities, places to eat, and places to visit in and around Pondicherry. Please take a look at it. I’m not adding everything here since those are already added there.
We worked every day and roamed around the places during evenings or weekends. Pondicherry is a good place to visit, but ideally, it doesn’t take more than three days to experience most of it. If you want to visit Auroville, please check this website before planning the trip so that you can visit the places leisurely. Please try not to avoid these things during your Pondi visit:
- Visit Paradise beach
- Croissants at Bread & Chocolate and Pastries at Zuka Chocolates
- Walk along the Rock beach in the evenings
Overall, Pondicherry was nice to us, and we enjoyed our stay in Pondicherry. I’ll visit the place once again soon.