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Top 5 winter holiday destinations in India for a luxury getaway- Pondicherry
Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Pondicherry, affectionately called ‘Pondy’ is a land of serene beauty and spirituality. A land that transports you away from the rat-race of this crazy world into a land of peace and tranquillity. Amid modern comforts, Pondicherry also provides a flavour of the past. It is known for being the perfect hideout, a sanctuary to those seeking peace and calm.

The leisurely pace of the land is so prominent that even the tourist department promotes the land as one where you can “Give time a break”. Reasons enough to make Pondicherry one of the best winter holiday destinations in India, whether for relaxation or for a luxury getaway.

Related:

Top 5 winter holiday destinations in India for a luxury getaway (Andamans)

Top 5 winter holiday destinations in India for a luxury getaway – Goa

Top 5 winter holiday destinations in India for a luxury getaway – Kerala

Pondicherry Beachm, Top 5 winter holiday destinations in India for a luxury getaway- Pondicherry

Give Time A Break

The land

Pondicherry, renamed as ‘Puducherry’ in 2006, is a Union Territory of India. An Urban agglomeration, it is formed out of four enclaves of former French India.

The French past of the land has imparted to it an unusual title too “The French Riviera of the East”. The smallish town is folded away on India’s Eastern seaboard and steeped in both – the legacy of the past and the marvels of the present. The coastline which runs 32 kms, is bordered with pristine beaches and tall droopy palms. The land is composed of several backwaters, quaint villages of the local fishing community, sprawling greens and several luxurious beach resorts. But the gems are the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the international city of Auroville (actually just across the border in Tamil Nadu state), well known for its unique vision and lifestyle.

Aurobindo Ashram, Top 5 winter holiday destinations in India for a luxury getaway- Pondicherry

Auroville

Though similar to Goa, another one of the top winter holiday destinations in India, Pondicherry is quite different from Goa, which sees much higher tourist numbers while Pondicherry is known for its sleepy, carefree pace and natural beauty. The town is excellent for a relaxing and quiet vacation with wine, food and exploration.

Where to find European food

As mentioned before Pondicherry is known for its European legacy, in fact its past has so coloured its future that it is also known as the ‘Europe of India’. Thus finding good European food is not difficult. Some of the most popular European restaurants in Pondicherry:

  • Cafe des Arts – Situated in White Town, this Café is the recipient of the Certificate of Excellence 2014 Tripadvisor. A multiple cuisine eatery, Café des Arts has an eclectic ambiance and offers the food of both Europe as well as its homeland. However this is open only for breakfast/brunch.
  • Carte Blanche – A part of Hotel de L’Orient, this restaurant is set in the open courtyard of this reinstated French Villa. This exceptional restaurant whips up an array of delectable European dishes flavoured with the much acclaimed local spices. Some of the must-haves of this restaurant are the grilled herb-infused squid, ratatouille, and saffron panna cotta. If you have a candle lit dinner with your beloved in mind, then this is the place for you.
  • Villa Shanti : Divided in two parts, Villa Shanti includes two sitting areas, one with a patio and garden, the other set within the refurbished building itself.  Their motto is to provide quality, fresh and exotic seasonal products and all the ingredients sourced are organic. Not only do they offer a diverse range of dishes, the personal library of the establishment is also opened up to the visitors, which comes handy especially if you are having a day out on your own.

Must try dishes

The heritage of the town which has been heavily influenced by the French and Portuguese past gets reflected in the lifestyle and ambiance of the surroundings. Even the local fare is a blend of the culinary practices of various cultures.

Some of the must try dishes among the multitude of delectable delicacies available are

  • The traditional dishes of Southern India like those served at Appachi , where you get to eat the Chettinad cuisine of idly, appam, dosa on a banana leaf and then eaten directly with your own hand.
  • Of the European and especially French dishes, Tanto’s Pizza is widely known for their pizza, homemade iced tea and pasta, Villa Shanti’s much acclaimed coated fish with lemon rice and grilled chicken with a fresh orange sauce and the caramel custard and Maison Rose’s Bouillabaisse, LB2 Lounge at Maison Rose’s serves up one of the best salad nicoise and Coq Au Vin you will ever taste.

Things to do

  • The first thing to do in Pondicherry is feel the town for your own self. The tranquillity, spirituality and idyllic nature of the place will be a whole new experience for you. The stunning park at the centre of the city, the stark yet majestic buildings, the museum, beaches, and last but not the least the Shri Aurobindo Ashram.
  • Auroville is a unique town situated 6 Kms north of Pondicherry. If you need a complete break from the hectic materialistic world then this is the place for you to be in. Know as an international town, Auroville has attracted not only tourists but also professionals like artisans, scientists, educators, and scholars from the world over. Another striking feature of this town is its sprawling forest and its financial system.
  • For architecture or a history buff the Church of Our Lady is an exceptional tourist attraction as it is a fine example of medieval architecture. The Sacred Heart Church is another attraction with its strangely beautiful gothic them and its stunning stained glasses. The city is also dotted with numerous temples including Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple that holds a Ganesh Statue made of white marble with gold tint along with delicate painting. The temples are widely regarded for their architectural splendour.
  • Pondicherry is also renowned for its beaches and shores, and it hosts a number of swimming beaches. These beaches, their surrounding fishing village and palm groves are the charms of the territory.
  • The cultural happenings of the town are also among the top tourist attractions. Thus the cultural centres act as a must visit destination for all visitors.  The French legacy of the land can be traced, known and enjoyed with the help of the Alliance Française which prepares different events, movies every month. INTACH heritage walk is a must do. The SITA cultural centre promotes and seeks to attune you with the flavours of the land with South Indian traditions and culture involving various activities like dancing lessons, kolam etc.
Top 5 winter holiday destinations in India for a luxury getaway- Pondicherry, french quarter

Info

  • Distance from nearest airport – The nearest major airport to Pondicherry, is Chennai International Airport (MAA / VOMM). This airport is situated in Chennai, India and is about 146 km from the centre of Pondicherry.
  •  Average temperature during winter months – Pondicherry has a tropical wet and dry climate, parallel to that of Tamil Nadu. Here summer lasts from April till early June, when maximum temperatures often reach the 41 °C (106 °F) mark. The average highest temperature of Pondicherry is 36 °C (97 °F).

During winter the temperature are on an average in and around 21°C.

  • What to pack- As the temperatures don’t plummet too low and the weather is usually pleasant heavy winter clothes can be easily left out of your luggage. A light jacket or coat will suffice. However since the city is largely coastal some slippers, sunscreen and beach wear must be carried for your own comfort. Laundry services are somewhat expensive and can be cut down if you carry enough change of clothes.
  •  Languages spoken – Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and English.
  • Other nearby destinations: Almost at a stone’s throw distance from Pondicherry is another all-time favourite tourist destination, Mahabalipuram. The relics of Pallava dynasty is treat for those who love ancient architecture.
  • Where to stay: In Pondicherry, we have few of our favourite accommodation options. From luxury heritage villas in the French quarter to luxury B&B with Franco Tamil architecture, we have carefully chosen accommodations for you to get an authentic Pondicherry experience. Also see: Heritage villas and luxury B&B in Pondicherry

Picture Courtesy: Puducherry.com , BHP. sneha

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Posted by Sudha at 2:12 am
2 comments
    Comments ( 2 2)
  • chrish Corter

    April 20, 2015

    I like you blog really so much. You shared great places to visit in Pondicherry. This is so interesting read. Thank you.

  • sudha

    April 24, 2015

    Thank you Chrish

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Plan to travel to an Indian holiday destination?

We are here to help. At no extra cost.
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  • Hidden luxury getaways
Know more


About me

The wise man travels to discover himself - JR Lowell

 

My name is Sudha Mathew. I'm an ex-banker who quit the rat race after a decade to follow my passion for travel and to combine it with my experience in understanding client requirements and exceeding their expectations.

 

While our content is mostly about the holiday experience, the accommodation and services, there's so much more to a journey. I have discovered a whole new me through travel. So I've reserved this corner of the website to share the unexpected aspects of travel. This space is also to hear from you about your journeys and discoveries. Bon Voyage!

 
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