Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 16th December 2016, 16:42   #1
BHPian
 
ARAY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: WB 38
Posts: 164
Thanked: 756 Times
Default Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

It was time for Pondicherry after the recent Sikkim trip. Pondicherry has always fascinated me with its calmness and simplicity. People say it’s a French colony mostly. Tourists generally mix-up Pondicherry with Puducherry. Pondicherry happens to be the capital city of Puducherry District, which is a union Territory. We had quite a bit of Himalayas recently, to maintain the balance of life we decided for the beach, a peaceful one.
Details of Sikkim Trip
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...uster-awd.html (Hyderabad - Sikkim in a Duster AWD!)

Post arrival of Dutch, Portuguese, British and French colonialists, Pondicherry came into Historic existence. Nearby places such as Arikamedu,Ariyankuppam, Kakayanthoppe, Villianur and Bahur, which were annexed by the French East India Company became the Union Territory of Pondicherry after Independence. French East India Company established this town as their headquarters in 17th Century. Pondicherry has an average literacy rate of 76%, higher than the national average of 59.5%. These figures mater a lot.
Although the Beach is the main attraction, breakwater to the harbor and other hard structures constructed on the shore caused coastal erosion and the sand from Pondicherry's famous Promenade Beach was lost. Constructions over the northern part of the beach are causing the costal area to shrink.
18th and 19th Century saw the prime age for Church construction in the area. Ok I am done with the History lesson let’s get cracking on the route and other details.

The journey started on 2nd December , 2016 at 11pm. Touched ORR and thus began the excellent tarmac. Stopped at Ongole to refuel. Duster was supremely comfortable. Independent suspensions at the rear were remarkable as ever during the bad patch at Kondamodu and my 2 year old snored gracefully.
The road conditions were excellent throughout the trip however while entering SH45 at Kondamodu the tarmac has few bad patches.
The ECR route bypassing Chennai and into Pondicherry is a driver’s delight. However on weekdays and over 5-9pm is not a suitable time to cross given the heavy traffic.

Route Used
BanjaraHills – Gachibowli ORR entrance – Nalgonda- Kondamodu – Ongole – Gudur – Puducherry ( 14 hr , 800kms)
Hotel used - Shenbaga Hotel & Convention Centre (7/10 , value for money if booked early , great view of city from 8th floor)


Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-route.jpg

Crossed the outskirts of Chennai early in the morning and the sunrise was wonderful.

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-early-morning-crossing-chennai-1.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-early-morning-crossing-chennai-2.jpg

Stopped at Nana Dhaba for lunch just before the toll gate at Pondicherry entrance. Most people speak English or Hindi. Food is great with some great fish preparations.

Beautiful Pondicherry City
Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-pondy-city-.jpg

Reached the hotel in the afternoon. Rested for an hour and headed for Auroville in the evening.
Few places that we had planned to visit were the Seaside Promenade, The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Auroville, Aurobindo Ashram, Rock Beach and the Paradise Island.
Although this would be my second visit to Pondicherry but the place has its own charm.
Auroville, 'the City of Dawn', is one of those ideas that anyone with idealistic leanings will love: an international community dedicated to peace, harmony, sustainable living, and 'divine consciousness', where people from across the globe, ignoring creed, colour and nationality, work together to build a universal, township and good old human unity. The evening was well spent in the calmness. People are helpful in giving directions. If you want to get inside the Dome you need to book tickets 1-2 days before. Cameras are not allowed inside.

It was a 30 mins drive from our hotel to Auroville. The scenery changes in the last 30% of the drive.
Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-auroville-map-.jpg

City planning of Auroville - source http://www.auroville.org/
Name:  city_diagram.gif
Views: 9236
Size:  10.2 KB

I had been to Auroville earlier, saw the structures and admired, never knew what they meant. Guides were not available, so we requested an elderly French guy to help us with the structure.
MatriMandir - The spacious Inner Chamber in the upper hemisphere of the structure is completely white, with white marble walls and white carpeting. The four pillars that support the structure of Matrimandir, and carry the Inner Chamber, have been set at the four main directions of the compass.In the center a pure crystal-glass globe suffuses a ray of electronically guided sunlight which falls on it through an opening at the apex of the sphere. The foundation stone was laid at sunrise on 21st February 1971 - the Mother’s 93rd birthday. The initial phase was started by Aurovilians and Ashramites, but was later taken over by local work force more fitted for the task. The heliostat is controlled by a Stellarium, which moves a mirror across the sun's path every day. Its located on top of Matrimandir, is a device for tracking the sun and projecting a single ray of sunlight onto the crystal globe inside the Inner Chamber.The present heliostat was fabricated at Matrimandir and was ready for assembly in September of 1993. In May of the next year a 45 centimeter diameter lens with focal length of thirty meter (manufactured in India) was installed for focusing the sun ray in a converging beam that strikes the globe inside the chamber. The amount of light and heat on the crystal globe was studied by French and German engineers.To make sure that the ray strikes the crystal exactly in the centre, a photo sensor is installed in the path of the ray itself and relays the data on the ray's position to the computer, which in turn will adjust the ray to the correct position if necessary. This mirror projects sunlight into a lens, that projects the single sun ray down on the crystal.
Do note that cameras are strictly not allowed. I felt the research involved was immense and it definitely deserves a visit again.
The Four Pillars
Mahakali (North Pillar)
Maheshwari (South Pillar)
Mahalakshmi (East Pillar)
Mahasaraswati (West Pillar)
Gardens Surrounding the Sacred Dome.
Existence
Consciousness
Bliss
Light
Life
Power
Wealth
Utility
Progress
Youth
Harmony
Perfection

MatriMandir
Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-auroville-1.jpg

Just outside the structure details of the construction is shared.
Disc Frame.................................Stainless Steel Tubes
Disc Material...............................Stainless Steel Sheet
Average Diameter (Large Discs)......2.5 meter
Average Diameter (Small Discs)......1.8 meter
Gold Leaf....................................28 gm of Gold per 1000 leaves
Leaf Size.....................................90x90 mm
Large Concave Discs......................500
Total Number of Discs...................1500
Small Convex Discs.......................1000

Few images of Auroville.

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-auroville-2.jpg

In the evening there are several cultural functions that are organised. People from all cultures come together to attend and participate. Throughout the year, many therapists & teachers - Aurovilians offer their services during their sessions in the evening.

Sunset at Auroville
Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-img_1928.jpg


Pondicherry by itself is a very well organised city and from the hotel everything was at walking distance. I parked the Duster at the port that is left unused behind the Rock beach. The open area is primarily used for parking. Charges are Rs30 for 4 hours.

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-pondi-map-.jpg

Seaside Promenade, named after Hotel Promenade
In the French Quarter overlooking the Bay of Bengal, this refined boutique hotel is across from the Promenade Beach and 1.6 km from the Puducherry railway station. The Gandi statue is a prominent landmark. It has an underground tunnel connecting to other parts of the city, however is closed.

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-gandhi-.jpg


Aurobindo Ashram was our next destination . It’s a peaceful place. Small kids are not allowed inside so I stayed back with my son outside and never went inside. Parking the vehicle in Pondicherry is not a problem. Parked it just opposite to Aurobindo Ashram. It’s a place where people find peace, however the people managing the tourists outside were rather rude.

Not many are aware but Pondicherry and the entire Poducherry district is place of great learning for architects. The diversity in building structures are visible within the city. It is a pleasure to watch the immense difference in the way they were constructed even though they are just meters apart. Its a paradise for architects.
Most of them were built on a rather similar ground plan with variations in size, orientation and details, principal façade usually opening on to the garden or front yard, right next to the street. The ceilings are marked by heavy wooden beams and wooden joists supporting terrace roofing made of brick-on-edge masonry in lime mortar. The outskirts of the city form is a hybrid of a European concept and the native building traditions: a mixture of these two styles, which has resulted in a town that has a unique French-Tamil identity. Exchange of architectural knowledge is evident in the facades of two-storied buildings where the ground floor is usually of the Tamil type with wide open door with huge arches while the first floor features French influence with arched windows, plaster of paris decoration. The furnitures of those era also strike resemblance to the fact that furniture trade existed in colonial India and that native artisans were not only familiar with western furniture forms but were conversant with European or even Chinese cabinet-making techniques. The city has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, especially in the old quarters, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries, although the city remains very much Indian.

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-ashram-1.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-ashram-2.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-ashram-3.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-ashram-.jpg

The 5.4m of turning radius was really helpful driving in the city. However given the trip plan , never got a chance to engage the 4wd. Not an issue the independent suspension soaked up all the bumps while driving in the city and few bad patches while on the way to Auroville and Paradise beach.

Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort, a PTDC enterprise, has boating, backwater boat tours, trekking . The resort offers various kinds of rental boats .The beach at Chunnambar also known as Plage Paradiso or 'Paradise Beach' is located near the mouth of the backwater. The sand is pristine and the water is clean.Chunnambar is situated 8 kms from Puducherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road. This tropical paradise is flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. You can sail downstream to the sands and pitch up a cosy seaside tent for yourself.Seagulls the multi-cuisine restaurant cum bar is a stone's throw from the backwater. It specialises in Chinese and Tandoori food. The restaurant too has a view of the backwaters. Chunnambar backwaters is said to be very deep and life-jackets are necessary for every one on the boat, the cost for which is included included in the ticket-price. Once the boat leaves the Chunnambar boat house, one can see the clean backwaters and their under-stream currents. The 20 min journey to paradise beach is really exciting and filled with fun.

Coming from places like Hyderabad and Bangalore and other Metros, traffic is on the lighter side through the core of the city. The City is very well organised with manually operated traffic signals at most places.
Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-paradise-map-.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-para-dise-beach-7.jpg

One of the many boat houses that are part of the tourism fleet

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-para-dise-beach-6.jpg

The banks along the Backwater are very scenic and few Villas are also situated on them.

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-para-dise-beach-1.jpg

A villa along the bank

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-para-dise-beach-2.jpg

The beach is very well maintained with authorities constantly keeping an eye on the tourists. I spoke to one of them and came to know that since it was a beach created from backwater the width of the beach is not much and there is steep descent into Bay of Bengal after 400m which could be risky if not payed attention to.

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-para-dise-beach-8.jpg


The main attraction of the trip was the visit to Paradise Beach. It’s kind of a backwater and not exactly an island. Boats take around 15-20 minutes of the time to reach on the island of paradise beach. These boats leave from Chunnambar boat-house which is situated on the Pondicherry-Cuddalore highway, around 7 kms from the main city of Pondicherry. I would say that the backwaters and the paradise beach are heaven for fun-lovers including photographers, sports-lovers and even family outing. The beach has great infrastructure for freshening up after an extended time spent in the sea water.

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-para-dise-beach-9.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-para-dise-beach-10.jpg

It was evening when we came back, and the sunset was equally wonderful.

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-para-dise-beach-3.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-para-dise-beach-4.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-para-dise-beach-5.jpg


The day came to an end and it was a great experience at Paradise. We decided to visit the rock beach again one last time before we headed back for Hyderabad.

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-rock-beach-.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-rock-beach-.jpg

Driving from the Chunnambar beach House to the hotel.


On the way back after entering AP.
Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-return-.jpg

-I hope the details shared help fellow Bhpans.

Last edited by ARAY : 21st December 2016 at 22:11.
ARAY is offline   (16) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 16th December 2016, 23:40   #2
BHPian
 
Samba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 855
Thanked: 4,578 Times
Default re: Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

So the bong Duster is going places! Sikkim to Pondicherry in a span of one month! Lovely pics and as always, detailed narration.

Sikkim to Pondicherry in 2016
Will wait for Kanyakumari to Khardungla (k2k) travelogue in 2017

And as always, wont miss a chance to bombard few pics in your travelogue from my kitty

From our Pondicherry trip in 2009 in my beloved Alto!

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-img_0629.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-img_0600.jpg

Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-img_0538.jpg

Last edited by Samba : 16th December 2016 at 23:45.
Samba is offline   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 19th December 2016, 11:51   #3
Newbie
 
iwanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 11
Thanked: 13 Times
Default Re: Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

Nicely written Aritra, Last time i was at pondy was in 2008 and it was recovering from the Tsunami. Looks like pondy has improved a lot. Though I have also been to yanam in Andhra Pradesh which are both french colonies , they are very different. I look forward to experience more virtual tours through your travelogs.
iwanderer is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 19th December 2016, 22:22   #4
BHPian
 
divyankar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Pune
Posts: 98
Thanked: 31 Times
Default Re: Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

Beautiful narration Aray and those night shots are awesome.
I visited Pondy way back in 2000, and only thing which I remember is Aurobindo Ashram
I think its time to Revisit and your blog will definitely help

Last edited by divyankar : 19th December 2016 at 22:24.
divyankar is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd December 2016, 08:56   #5
GTO
Team-BHP Support
 
GTO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Bombay
Posts: 46,508
Thanked: 80,142 Times
Default Re: Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for adding more details!
GTO is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd December 2016, 12:25   #6
BHPian
 
RapidRavi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 36
Thanked: 34 Times
Default Re: Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

Your Duster looks great in french Colonies. Nice write up with amazing pics.
Had been to Pondi some 3 months backs and enjoyed all the places your shared. Got a chance to visit inside matrimandir auroville and was a rejuvenating experience. Evening at Paradise beach was a bliss.
RapidRavi is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd December 2016, 13:26   #7
BHPian
 
deerhunter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: PGT/PDY
Posts: 264
Thanked: 578 Times
Default Re: Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

Nicely written and excellent photographs. I live half of a year in Pondicherry. Your photos really bring out the beauty of the place. Pondicherry is an ideal place for post retirement settling. The people are really nice and the culture is cosmopolitan, while the city itself is small and peaceful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARAY View Post
Seaside Promenade, named after Hotel Promenade
A small correction. The hotel is named after the promenade and not the other way. Seaside promenade is inspired by the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The French, being far away from home, tried to create a homely setting in Pondicherry. The Promenade hotel is a very recent construction.

Quote:
however the people managing the tourists outside were rather rude.
This has been a problem since ages. There has been even few clashes between the locals and the people in Ashram due to this.

Quote:
Not many are aware but Pondicherry and the entire Poducherry district is place of great learning for architects. The diversity in building structures are visible within the city. It is a pleasure to watch the immense difference in the way they were constructed even though they are just meters apart.
Pondicherry is really a great place for lovers of exotic architecture. But only those owned/managed privately are well kept. The crown jewel of Pondicherry architecture, The Mairie - Hotel De Ville (townhall), collapsed in rain 2 years back due to lack of maintenance. It occupied the best spot in Pondicherry - opposite Le Cafe in the promenade.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/...cle6646684.ece

Another very interesting read about this jewel - http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/...cle6651354.ece

Last edited by deerhunter : 22nd December 2016 at 13:36. Reason: adding link
deerhunter is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd December 2016, 13:43   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 55
Thanked: 85 Times
Default Re: Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

I stayed in Pondicherry 10 years back for my graduation and really loved this place. All these snaps refreshed my memory from those days. We were frequent visitors to the rock beach and Auroville beach. Travelled a lot on the ECR stretch and is one of my favorite tarmac. We are again planning a trip to Pondy in last week of February. I want to show my wife and kids, the places we stayed, roamed, dined and studied. Your log will help me in planning better.
HighwayHopper is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd December 2016, 15:09   #9
BHPian
 
ARAY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: WB 38
Posts: 164
Thanked: 756 Times
Default Re: Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

Quote:
Originally Posted by deerhunter View Post
Nicely written and excellent photographs. I live half of a year in Pondicherry. Your photos really bring out the beauty of the place. Pondicherry is an ideal place for post retirement settling. The people are really nice and the culture is cosmopolitan, while the city itself is small and peaceful.



A small correction. The hotel is named after the promenade and not the other way. Seaside promenade is inspired by the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The French, being far away from home, tried to create a homely setting in Pondicherry. The Promenade hotel is a very recent construction.
Thanks for the correction. I had a doubt when I was dining in the hotel. It had few old news paper cuttings which said other wise. The hotel manager was also confident about the naming theory of the beach. According to him initially this building ( now transformed to hotel) was the only structure standing in that area. But I would rather go with what you said.
And thanks for sharing those links.

Last edited by ARAY : 22nd December 2016 at 15:12.
ARAY is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd December 2016, 15:21   #10
BHPian
 
deerhunter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: PGT/PDY
Posts: 264
Thanked: 578 Times
Default Re: Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARAY View Post
Thanks for the correction. I had a doubt when I was dining in the hotel. It had few old news paper cuttings which said other wise. The hotel manager was also confident about the naming theory of the beach. According to him initially this building ( now transformed to hotel) was the only structure standing in that area. But I would rather go with what you said.
The building that is now Hotel Promenade was the HQ of French radio in Pondicherry. After the de jure transfer of power, it became All India Radio, Pondicherry. AIR continued to occupy the building till the late 1990s, when they shifted opposite to JIPMER. Hotel Promenade was established only after 2000.

Seaside promenade is the unofficial name of that road, officially it is called Goubert avenue - after the first CM of Pondicherry. During French rule, it was known as La Promenade, and the area was known as Cours Chabrol.

Pondicherry is a treasure trove for history buffs. Below is an example from a memorial structure near the place where I stay when I am in Pondicherry. Please excuse the bad quality of the picture.
Attached Thumbnails
Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD-201402181007.jpg  


Last edited by deerhunter : 22nd December 2016 at 15:40.
deerhunter is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 3rd January 2017, 10:40   #11
BHPian
 
soumobakshi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 256
Thanked: 215 Times
Default Re: Hyderabad - Pondicherry in a Duster AWD

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARAY View Post
-I hope the details shared help fellow Bhpans.
A well written Travelogue once again from Aritra

Most of the pics are your trademark iPhone camera settings to accentuate the colors and cloud outlines. It has really come-out well and specially the setting sun and the boat one is my favorite
soumobakshi is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Renault Duster AWD : Official Review Rehaan Official New Car Reviews 722 16th August 2017 17:34
Hyderabad - Sikkim in a Duster AWD! ARAY Travelogues 29 16th December 2016 11:12
Renault Duster AWD launched at Rs. 11.89 lakh (pg. 15) sarathlal The Indian Car Scene 307 15th October 2014 13:52
Renault Duster AWD - Quick test report nikhilmadgavkar Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 25 13th October 2014 10:56


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 13:47.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks