Destination India Pondicherry

A Guide to Pondicherry: Exploring India’s French Riviera

Pondicherry is a small-quiet town on the south coast, which bears the unavoidable hallmark of the French heritage. Tree-lined streets, boulevards, picturesque buildings of colonial architecture, endless beaches add to the spirituality of the region and to other pleasures such as gastronomy, which here results from a melting pot of cultures.

It is capital of the same territory 162 km south of Chennai (Madras), on the coast of Coromandel the Bay of Bengal, here, in addition to the local languages, English and French are spoken, so that it will not be difficult to be understood for tourists.

Pondicherry is a unique place. Many think that it has a different spiritual vibration, and it has been home to many wise men throughout history; precisely his name sums up that feeling of returning home. Anyway, its environment is unique in India, a mixture of Indian spirituality and French colonial heritage, which make it a cosmopolitan city that preserves traditions.

The colors and the art in the buildings in the heart of the city represent a lively atmosphere and life here. The list of places to see and things to do in Pondicherry are not many but spread by all interest groups making it a great place to travel with friends or family. From local tour guides help you figure out the best place and culture for adventure sports instructors, very few places offer the variety that Pondicherry does.

Here is a list of things to do in Pondicherry as an ideal 3 night and 4-day trip the next time you are there.

Explore the heritage

Pondicherry is one of the most historical places in the country. The French roads here have mixed perfectly well with the Tamil culture to create a unique dish that seems to enchant everyone with its evergreen charm. The aesthetics of these streets has become a primary attraction. The markets and churches here show vestiges of the rich history that surrounds Pondicherry.

The city has two faces, the French and the Tamil. The first was built along the coast and is characterized by colonial style buildings, while the latter has a marked contrast since the architecture uses a Tamil vocabulary.

You will also find traces of this heritage in the culture here, especially the delicious Tamil and French cuisines that are bound to be found along these streets.

So exploring heritage should be first on your list of things to do in Pondicherry. The best way to experience the heritage would be to go for a heritage walk through these streets.

Shopping places in Pondicherry

Pondicherry has always been a great place to buy leather products, a brand of which is the world famous Hidesign based here. Other popular products to get here are scented candles, handmade paper products, handicrafts, metal artifacts and essential oils.

Since Pondicherry is octroi-free, everything is cheaper. A combination of this with all those unique products on offer easily makes it a paradise for buyers.

While in it, some must visit places are the Cluny Embroidery Center, Goubert Market, Geethanjali, Serenity Beach Bazaar (start-up only on weekends) and the Hidesign always popular.

Visit Auroville

On the outskirts of Pondicherry is an experimental town called Auroville. The only purpose of this city is to approach humanity through unity and progressive harmony and to be above castes, creeds, and policies. Almost synonymously associated with Auroville is the Matrimandir, which houses the “urn of humanity,” an urn containing soil from 121 countries and 23 Indian states. A zone of peace in the middle concentric to the Matrimandir, and the whole city circumscribed by a green belt!

To visit Auroville and enjoy its peaceful atmosphere certainly counts as one of the best things to do in Pondicherry. In addition to the local tour guides, the place also has a very active artisan community, which is covered as part of our Pondicherry tourist series. As part of the experience, you must try hands-on bamboo crafts, as well as lunch in a unique solar cooking community.

Experience popular art

Folk art and forms of dance had been integral to Indian culture with each state and tribe that had their variations of practices and instruments. While in Pondicherry, here is your chance to enjoy a performance by Nattupura Nadanam-a form of narration with dance. Local heritage and mythology are often themes of the prominence of this popular art.

This experience allows you behind the scenes with folk artists and even an opportunity to play their musical instruments.

Spend a day with the elephantsAmong the few places that you get to see elephants in India is the elephant care facility near Pondicherry, an initiative of the Tree Foundation, Chennai, and WRRC, Bengaluru. This is a very accessible facility, near Wild to see the elephants up close and even feed them under the safety of a Mahout.

Visit the beaches

Pondicherry has been blessed with a beautiful coastline that varies between rocky terrain and sandy beaches. Although some are known to be overcrowded, there are some beaches in Pondicherry that display a tranquility environment perfect for an afternoon walk or jog.If you are here for a bit of romance, these beaches offer you exactly what you need. The sunrise is absolutely stunning and known to be one of the best things to do in Pondicherry.

Unfortunately, the sun here is not set in the water, so you have to get up in the morning, but they are not always better mornings! My best selections are Serenity Beach, Paradise Beach, Karaikal Beach, Promenade Beach, Mahe Beach & Auroville Beach. Also, you really do not need a local tour guide to show you around.


As the popularity of the beaches here, water sports are also prominent among the list of things to do in Pondicherry. People from all over the country go down to surf and dive here. It is said that one does not know the true meaning of color unless they have seen life under water. The water of the Bay of Bengal in Pondicherry offers just that.

The dive sites here range from 5 meters to 40 meters, so it accommodates novices and veterans. The best places to practice diving are the Temple reef, the coral reef shark, and the hole. Adrenaline junkies who prefer surfing have an equal if not better chance on the beaches of Pondicherry. The turquoise and peaceful waters here have been known to be ideal for surfers whether they are new to the sport or not.

The best beaches in Pondicherry for surfing are serenity and Playa Paraiso. Kallialay surf school is one of the most popular surf schools here.


Finally, when it comes to things to do in Pondicherry, you cannot go without Kayaking or Yachting. The gentle waters of the Chunnambar River offer an exciting stage for canoeing with a vision that has been painted by the lush green landscape of plantations combined with the atmosphere of the backwaters. It is standing along the Cuddalore road and is known to be one of the best things to do in Pondicherry.

Unlike other water sports, kayaking and canoeing do not require much training but offer a captivating experience. However, yachts are your best bet if you are looking for something a little more charismatic and relaxing. Over time, they have become trendy and come highly recommended among the things to do in Pondicherry and the many micro-tours and activities here.

The best time to visit Pondicherry

The best time to plan a vacation to Pondicherry is during the winter months of November to February.

The winters are pleasantly cool and ideal to enjoy sightseeing in Pondicherry. It is during this time when the weather is comparatively cooler and also perfect for sightseeing, fun on the beach and water sports.

The light wool should be sufficient as during winters, and the temperature usually does not go below 17 degrees Celsius here.

With umbrellas, raincoats and a cup of hot coffee, touring Pondicherry during the rainy season from July to September is quite an experience in itself.

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