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Old 29th January 2014, 23:50   #1
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Default Silence of the waves - Le Pondy

Déjà vu is never good. In my case it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

All the plannings

My wife and kid are beach bums but I love mist covered mountains and quiet hills. As usual the veto was used and it was decided that we will spend our anniversary soaking in the sun and listening to the waves wash over the shores of Pondicherry. The rocky shores of the promenade was not considered a beach and hence the search for a beach resort was kicked off with great gusto. After many hours on tripadvisor, hotel websites and other review sites, we narrowed it down to Le Pondy, Zest Big Beach & St. James Court Beach Resort. After more calls and checks online we zeroed in on St. James Court Beach Resort and booked the executive suite. Quick check on the Bangalore – Pondicherry thread and the route was clear Bangalore > Arcot > Cheyyar > Vandavasi > Thindivanam > Pondicherry

Away we go

All prelim checks were done and the gear stored for the trip. The Monk was ready and I was itching to hit the road. Managed to start at 6 am sharp and stopped at Kamat (before Shoolagiri) for an early breakfast.

Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-monk1.jpg

The ride on Bangalore – Chennai GQ road was uneventful and I got off the AH after Arcot. Managed to find the deviation towards SH5 and drove down the small 2 lane for a bit before taking a left and joining the SH. The road to Cheyyar is a treat for sore eyes. Was thrown back to the old days when the 2 lane Bellary road had trees marching on both sides. The only traffic I encountered was a couple of trucks and a few bikes.The tarmac is very good and driving at 70-80 kmph is very comfortable but need to look out for the road patches on culverts as some of them are real roller coasters.

Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-vvar1.jpg

Dei...No public on Republic day

The Cheyyar Bypass is easy to spot but difficult to drive through. You end up driving from one speed breaker to the other with trucks, tempos and crazy bikers playing road rash. As soon as you get out of the bypass, you drive onto the bridge over Cheaiyar river and continue to Vandavasi. Well that was the plan but the good folks of Cheyyar had decided that since it was the 26th of Jan, they need a special something special to celebrate. Strike! The bridge was blocked off by locals and a steady stream of two wheeler and foot traffic was seen crossing the dry river bed. The local authorities were taking their own sweet time to get off their fat behinds and make some more promises. I arrive at the bridge and find cops asking all vehicles to park on the side and wait.

Fortunately I know Tamil and the Inspector is more than happy to share the complete story as well as his cribs in life. I wait for 30 minutes on the side and still there is no positive sign or confirmation from the other side of the bridge. The stream of pedestrians and two wheelers crossing the dry river bed only seems to increase with every passing minute. I decide to consult the local potti kadai (tapri) and was informed that the bus stop was also blocked by locals and hence taking the Cheyyar – Kanchipuram road is not an option. Someone standing at the tapri tells me that the strike has been going on since 7 am in the morning and talks are on since 10 am. Its 12 noon and I was still stuck at Cheyyar. A guy on a bike stops at the tea stall and I ask him about the situation on the other side. He says there is no time frame to this event and that I would be better off back tracking. He suggests that I drive back 15 KM, Take the road to Perungathur, which then leads to Kanchipuram – Vandavasi SH 116.

The blessed bridge
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-cybridge.jpg

So without much ado, I drive back and follow Mr Google to Perungathur. The road from SH5 to Perungathur are pretty bad (which is to say it was akin to driving on pothole ridden roads of Bengaluru) but after that it only go better with every mile. I reach SH116 and take the left towards Vandavasi. The drive to Vandavasi and Tindivaman was a piece of cake. The 28 KM stretch from Cheyyar to Vandavasi turned into a 65 KM detour and made a very large dent in my plans. Little did I know that the worst was yet to come!

Long Detour
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NH 66 managed to bring back the smile on my face and the silent stares from the back seat slowly gave way to ‘yaays’ and ‘yippies’. The last 42KM from Tindivanam to Pondicherry was done in 20 odd minutes with the monk cruising at 110-120 kmph.

Cruising at 120KMPH
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-nh66.jpg

Déjà vu

We reached St. James Court beach resort at 3.30 PM and as I walk towards the reception I get this feeling of Déjà vu. I don’t pay attention to it and complete the registration formalities and walk into the Executive Suite. I had booked the Executive suite for 2 reasons

1. Better view of the sea
2. The Bathtub – my son loves to wallow in the water

There is only one explanation for what happened over the next few hours. Perspective

Bachelors and single men don’t mind dingy rooms without tube lights (yes, there is not a single tube light in the room! and keeping curtains open is not an option). Reviews are always written with a certain perspective/view point in mind – hence talk to someone who has been there before you book, someone who shares your views or perspective.

Here is the quick summary of the disaster that was St. James Court
1. Executive suites are to be found on the ground floor only – and the view you have is that of potbellied men (I too own one but don’t go around parading the same) drinking beer and jumping around in the pool

2. The hot water from the geyser is enough to fill ½ inch of the bathtub and you need to wait 20 min for the next batch of hot water. Vicious circle isn’t it?

3. The adjoining beach is anything but clean. Broken beer bottles, remains of bonfires and grills, half eaten fish and tonnes of plastic were found in abundance

It’s surprising how you can manipulate images and provide a very different perspective. The images and reviews on various websites had us convinced that we were in for a great time but the reality is very very different. But the best was yet to come. Dejected and disappointed, we walk back from the beach at 5.30 PM and find a large group of men sitting on the lawn and hitting the bottle. At 6PM sharp, they start blaring the latest tamil 'dance' hits and all the half-drunk men are galvanized into action. Imagine the goons from the movie Chennai Express dancing away to lungi dance This was turning out to be a very memorable anniversary!

All the above event brought back memories of a previous visit to Pondicherry. A few of us drove down to Pondicherry in 2007 and had checked out St. James Court. Even then the rooms and the property as a whole were not great and we decided to walk out of there. Such a pity that no one had posted pictures of the parking lot at St. James Court. I remember that so clearly and would have thought twice before booking.

Le Pondy

At 6.30 PM I connect to the internet and pull up the Le Pondy website. This was the other property that we had shortlisted but decided not to book as it was a little out of budget. A few calls, some quick checks and viola a 30% discount code pops up I take that as a positive sign and finalize the booking. Bags are packed and we walk out of St. James. After a quick dinner stop at Hotel Surguru, we reach Le Pondy at 8.30 PM. I shut the engine and listen for a moment. All I can hear is the croaking of frogs interspersed by the crashing of waves.

Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-monk2.jpg

With a big smile on my face I walk into the resort and complete the registration formality. In Hindsight, the decision to get out of St. James was a good one and choosing Le Pondy was the only way to salvage the anniversary & vacation.

Le Pondy is an experience in itself. Clean rooms, beautifully maintained private beach (an extension of the paradise beach stretch), inviting pool and good tasty food. All this combined with very courteous staff made the next three days very memorable. Will let the pictures do the talking

A welcome sight
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-lp1.jpg

The Shack
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-lp2.jpg

Road to the shore
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-lp3.jpg

Colonial Facade
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-lp4.jpg

Morning Glory
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-lp5.jpg

Clean Sands for Castles & Kings
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-lp6.jpg

Pool View
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-lp7.jpg

la nuit
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-lp8.jpg

Walking on water
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-lp9.jpg

Who needs the sea??
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-lp10.jpg

Back to Nammuru

The return journey was a relatively quiet affair. As mentioned earlier, the SH 5 is a beautiful and picturesque road with green fields and trees on both sides of the winding road. Driving distance from Anna Salai, Pondicherry to Arcot AH45 (via NH 66 > Tindivanam > Vandavasi > Cheyyar) is about 150KM which I managed to drive in 2 Hrs 25 Min.

Tindivanam - Vandavasi

Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-tvvv1.jpg
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-tvvv2.jpg

Vandavasi - Cheyyar

Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-vvcy1.jpg
Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-vvcy2.jpg

Cheyyar - Arcot

Silence of the waves - Le Pondy-vvar2.jpg

The odo reading for the complete journey (including the various shopping / food trips into Pondicherry)is 899.8 KM. The distance from Anna Salai, Pondicherry to Silk Board, Bangalore is 370 KM and the driving time was 5 Hrs 45 Min. The monk was its usual self and did not show signs of wavering from its vows. Still feels pretty stable at 100-120 kmph range and the new tires make the drive a very smooth experience. The new XM2s have done about 3000 KM till date and I haven’t had any punctures or problems with the tyres.

During the last drive I had observed that I get better mileage on petrol while doing 100+ kmph speeds and hence wanted to check the same. Filled 45 Litres of petrol over the course of the journey and covered around 790 KM on petrol (110 KM of city driving was on LPG). At the end of the journey the fuel gauge is still above the reserve mark, which means there is still around 4-5 litres of petrol remaining. This means that the monk’s F.E was around 18.5 - 19 KMPL (without A/C). More the reason to hit the road and feed the wanderlust!
Next stop Muzhappilangad Drive in Beach, Kannur - TBHP Bangalore Meet

Last edited by GTO : 31st January 2014 at 18:16. Reason: Removing extra smiley. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 31st January 2014, 18:17   #2
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Default Re: Silence of the waves - Le Pondy

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 31st January 2014, 18:33   #3
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Default Re: Silence of the waves - Le Pondy

As you said every happening has a perspective. In this case, we get to know about an alternative route!

And to add, as you approach Vandavasi along the Kanchi SH, there is a beautiful temple at the outskirts of the town.

Its the Pandauranga temple in Thenangoor. (Here)

I had vague ideas about this place. But then @airguitar helped me refresh my memory! Thanks to him for this.

Needless to say, the resort is beautiful.

Last edited by ampere : 31st January 2014 at 18:40.
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Old 31st January 2014, 18:46   #4
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Default Re: Silence of the waves - Le Pondy

We were supposed to visit Pondy and stay at the Le-Pondy during Aug2013. I did make the reservation and had to cancel it due to a family emergency. Thanks for the review, looks like a good place to relax.
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Old 31st January 2014, 18:56   #5
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Default Re: Silence of the waves - Le Pondy

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Its the Pandauranga temple in Thenangoor.
Thanks for that Ampere. Found this beautiful temple just before you hit SH116.
http://goo.gl/maps/Vwdcn Had stopped in front of it to check maps and was amazed by the architecture. But I guess there is no maintenance as there were visible signs of decay.

OT - How do you remember all the routes and small sites that might be worth exploring??

Quote:
Originally Posted by sansvk View Post
We were supposed to visit Pondy and stay at the Le-Pondy during Aug2013. I did make the reservation and had to cancel it due to a family emergency. Thanks for the review, looks like a good place to relax.
Would suggest that you do visit. Its perfect place to put up your feet and do nothing

Last edited by procrj : 31st January 2014 at 19:02.
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Old 31st January 2014, 19:50   #6
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Default Re: Silence of the waves - Le Pondy

Wow a wonderful little travelogue and picture perfect snaps there. The route starting from the detour seems to be have sparsely traffic and inviting and the resort seems wonderful.

Do let us know more about the accomodation, costs and the quality of food and services offered at the wonderful looking resort. Certainly seems to be a must go destination now seeing it thru your eyes.

Also noticed once more (the other place was your ownership thread) your car seems to be in such a spic and span condition even on a long run!

Kudos!
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Old 1st February 2014, 09:25   #7
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Default Re: Silence of the waves - Le Pondy

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Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
Do let us know more about the accomodation, costs and the quality of food and services offered at the wonderful looking resort. Certainly seems to be a must go destination now seeing it thru your eyes
Girish - you can find my review of the resort here. Well the dent to the pocket was 5.2K per night (after discount) but was totally worth every rupee

Quote:
spic and span condition even on a long run!
Thanks! That can be primarily attributed to the generous use of Jopasu and ONR (even when I am traveling) and the once in 10 day wash & clean routine that my wife & I have taken to
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Old 1st February 2014, 09:58   #8
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Default Re: Silence of the waves - Le Pondy

Thank you for the travelogue and the pictures of Le Pondy.
One of my Singaporean colleague had visited Pondicherry with family and he too had a good time at this resort.
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Old 21st April 2014, 17:44   #9
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Default Re: Silence of the waves - Le Pondy

Just back from a 4 day stay at Le Pondy . We opted for the Sea View rooms .

The rooms were decent ( nothing spectacular ) and the food was ordinary . But what stood out were the staff at the resort . Very friendly , courteous and they would go out of their way to make you feel comfortable . My 1.5 year old had already made a couple of friends at the resort .

They do claim to have a "private" beach , but as its accessible from outside the resort , we could see loads of outsiders over the weekend . Also , this being the vacation season , most families were with kids and toddlers . Having just 2 child seats for feeding created a lot of problems for people arriving late to the restaurant .

Having said all this , I would definitely recommend this place.


About the drive ,the return journey involved a couple of close calls with idiots cutting across traffic with a few of them sporting LTD stickers . We took the Krishnagiri - Arcot- Vandvasi route while going and we took 6 hours to reach the resort ( 386 kms ) . The return was via the ECR - Kanchipuram- Krishnagiri- Hosur route ( 434kms ) and took us 8 hours . Pit stops on both ways were at Hotel Aryabhavan .

Last edited by speedsatya : 21st April 2014 at 17:47.
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Old 22nd April 2014, 12:24   #10
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Default Re: Silence of the waves - Le Pondy

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The rooms were decent ( nothing spectacular ) and the food was ordinary .
Surprised to hear that the food was ordinary. It was very good when I visited in Jan

Quote:
But what stood out were the staff at the resort . Very friendly , courteous and they would go out of their way to make you feel comfortable . My 1.5 year old had already made a couple of friends at the resort
Second that. I remember staff running behind 3 year old and ensuring that he was safe when in/near the pool

Quote:
They do claim to have a "private" beach , but as its accessible from outside the resort , we could see loads of outsiders over the weekend .
The beach is an extension of the paradise beach. But having said that, we did not find any outsiders and the life guard on the beach was there to make sure that guests did not have locals/others disturbing them. As you mentioned, the crowds could be due to vacation + long weekend combination
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