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Old 3rd December 2009, 13:04   #1
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Default Peaceful Pondicherry - Nov 27 to 29

Hi Folks, I love travelling and have been on quite a few holidays but havent really set pen to paper or shall we say set fingers on keys to log a holiday. So here I am with my first travelogue and I am going to try to keep it as interesting and informative as I can. Heres wishing myself and the readers good luck .

The idea was to go to a place nearby because me and wifey wanted to spend quality time with each other (wifey style) and not in mindless travelling and in low budget (my style). So the place zeroed on was Pondicherry - a good 150+ kms from Chennai. Googled a bit and searched TBHP for any pointers on place to stay and things to do. Booked Ginger and got a room at 2999 for 2 Nights & 3 days with complimentary breakfast. Phew! So far so good.

We started a bit late in the day on 27th. That was because wifey had just returned from her place in Bangalore on 26th night and remember it was supposed to be a relaxed holiday. So no waking up at 5 AM and rushing out. Infact till like 11:00 AM when we started I didnt even get the feel of going on a vacation .

Started from Velachery, took the toll road off Pallikarnai and reached OMR. From OMR off Sholinganallur took the 2nd toll road (the earlier toll ticket was valid here too) to ECR. Many people like the ECR, I have mixed feelings about it. Somehow for me winding roads with no dividers seems like asking for trouble! And ECR 4-5 years back was nice with hardly any traffic. But now you get traffic almost all the way to Mahabs.

We had packed our lunch from home. I love the experience of sitting under the tree on some highway and enjoy a good meal. Did some monkeying around on a huge banyan tree here.

Going on, next stop was a unique Pyramid Natraja temple which is in a lane approx 8-9 kms away from the toll plaza before Pondy on ECR. The landmark is Dune Hotel. This temple is just ahead of the Dune hotel. The best part is the lonely patch of beach next to the temple. You can drive the car right upto the beach. Had a crazy incident here, when we were returning from the beach, instead of taking the car on the short sand path, I took it right into a wider patch of sand and the both front and rear wheels got stuck. I guess I got inspired by the Jeeper OTR guys and tried a stupid stunt on my poor li'll wagon R. More than half of the wheels were in the sand. After some anxious moments thinking, picked up lot of dried coconut leaves and put them below the wheels and tried to back up the car. After some unsuccessful attempts the back wheel found hard land and then the front followed suit. Thanked my lucky stars and moved on to the hotel. Ginger is good VFM. Rooms were very clean, washrooms were clean and everything about the place was functional, no rusted things, no broken furniture or leaking ACs etc. It was just perfect. I would recommend this place for a good clean stay, just dont expect any romantic setting here. And yes they have a cafe coffee day below and also a nice T Shirt store which had lovely T shirts with funny messages. We ended up buying 4 Ts here and blew something like 1200 bucks here.

Didnt do anything else for the rest of the day, just lazed on and drove to the beach for dinner. Had dinner at Hotel Ajantha roof top restaurant. Recommended for the view of the beach to go down with some nice vodka! Now some pics of day 1.
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by rrahul_2778 : 3rd December 2009 at 13:15.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 13:32   #2
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Default Day 2 - Pondy

Day 2: Planned on seeing the sunrise. Set the alarm at 5 AM and reached the beach by 6. Weather was wonderful and we had a nice walk by the beach. It was a myriad of activies happening at the beach - joggers, people meditating, old people walking, several people waiting for sunrise. We took a nice walk in the crisp morning air. Sun gave a slight glimpse at 6 30 and then again went behind the clouds. We thought that was it and then finally out came the sun slowly from behind the clouds. It felt very nice and pleasant to watch the sunrise up so early. The color of the sky changed with every passing moment and painted a very pretty sight. The low flying birds in a 'V' formation just few inches above water. I mean it was an ambience I cannot describe in words. Anyways, in a few minutes the sun was up and it was getting slightly warmer. So we went back to our hotel and had breakfast and went back to bed - relaxed holiday

By lunch time, we stepped out of our hotel for Aurobindo Ashram. But the ashram closes at 11:30, so we were not allowed to go in. My mom is a follower of Aurobindo Ashram so for last few years we have made several trips to Pondy for that. But most of the trips would be day trips. We went to the Manakula Vinayakar temple which is in the lane opposite to the ashram. Saw the temple elephant Laxmi again. I really feel sorry for the beast having to stand there all day to place its trunk like a blessing for insignificant offerings. What is she going to do with the 1-2 Rs coins. I am sure she would have loved to roam freely in the forest than waste her life. Anyways, I really wish we humans grow up and get better understanding of the world and the other creatures which live in it.

After the temple it was the Dumas church which is behind old light house on beach road. The church was closed for repairs. So after some pics here we moved on to Sacred Hearts church a bit further on beach road, near Pondy railway station. This was a beautiful church and the murals made a pretty sight. Had lunch at Surguru. This is a nice hotel with good meals, great service I must say.

After a lazy afternoon drove to MG road for some shopping. Pondy is famous for cotton stuff, pirated DVDs, leather items, etc. Went to Casablanca and picked up some stuff. Its slightly expensive but you get great stuff. Another good place to go is the Nilgiris department store, you would get some interesting things here. Dinner was at Surguru Spot, another branch of Surguru. Pretty avoidable restaurent, bad service here and not many options on the menu card.

Oh yes, topped up the fuel in my car. Petrol is just like 43 bucks here, a good 5 bucks cheaper than Chennai.

Now for some pics to do the talking.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 3rd December 2009, 14:14   #3
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nice start rahul.
Pyramid shiva temple looks good - will add in 'to be watched' list in Pondicherry trip.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 14:24   #4
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Nice photographs. Who is that monkey swinging so close to the road posing danger to motorists ?
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Old 3rd December 2009, 15:00   #5
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nice beginning Rahul. I am glued to this thread, as have plans to visit Pondi during the Jan 23-26 weekend. Few queries I have about the place and the hotel, I will send as PM to you.

Cheers!
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Old 3rd December 2009, 15:23   #6
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Default Day 3 - Time to wind up our lovely holiday

Day 2 - Missed mentioning that we went to Ashram when it opened at 2 PM. The ashram closes at 12:00, i wrongly said 11:30 in my earlier post. It is required to be silent in the ashram. There will be volunteers to guide you to Mother's samadhi. Spent a quiet few minutes there.

Day 3 - Nothing much really. It was a sunday, we had planned to just have a late start to the day and visit Chunambar boat house also known as the Paradise beach. This beach is like 10 kms from Ginger on the way to Cuddalore. There is a nondescript board on the highway for the entrance to Chunambar. We reached there by 9:00, the place opens by 9:30.

The beach is some distance inside and one has to take a ferry to the beach. We got into the boat (150 bucks for 2 people both ways) and it was nice short ride. The weather was great and there were so many fishes in the water. You could actually see some of them jumping out. I tried several times to capture on camera, but I guess it wasnt my day. Paradise beach is really lovely and it is recommended to have an early start like we did. When we were on our return boat, we could see lots of people come in. And more crowd means more mess. Nothing much on the beach. We didnt get into the waters because we had to check out by 12:00 and would not have much time to change or unpack and pack etc. There were boards saying swimming is dangerous, but I did see some jokers venture out to swim.

We spent a good 1 hour there and unwillingly had to return back because we had to check out. Drove back to Ginger and checked out. The plan for afternoon was to do some scented stick (agarbatti) shopping at Auroshika (a shop that stocks a whole lot of perfumed items, affiliated with the Ashram). Wifey ended up picking up a whole lot of soaps, scrubs, agarbattis etc etc etc. Lunch at Sri Krishna Sweets. Again highly recommended since its very clean and simple veg meals which will be light on the stomach. Then a walk on MG road and wifey picked up some veggis saying these were cheaper than Chennai!!!! ...

If it is a sunday afternoon and you plan to set out to Auroville, then please dont do it. We realised after we reached there that sundays its closed from afternoon. So we couldnt see the matrimandir. Anyways having come this distance, we walked a good 1 km to the mandir gates and took a couple of pics of matrimandir. Auroville is a global township which has citizens from all over the world. It is built on a wonderful theme by the mother (see pic below for the auroville theme). More shopping at Auroville, we picked up a nice hanging car perfume stick in shape of a leaf with lemon grass perfume and its refill pack (i dunno what is the name of the scented stick which is hung from the rear view mirror). The drive back was quick and we didnt stop anywhere. Reached home by 7 and had a nice cuppa coffee and curled up on the bed to see the pics and relive the journey experience.

All in all, Pondy is a good break. It is close to Chennai and can be a good 2 day holiday. We didnt venture out to see other places like botanical garden, museum etc, but these are a pretty ok too for people who are interested.

Needless to say, the best part of Pondy is the cheap booze. Though this time I didnt indulge much, but its really damn cheap booze out there.
Best Time to visit - Nov to Jan (pleasant climate around 25-28 deg C and mild showers at times)

Places to see - Aurobindo Ashram, Manakula Vinayakar temple, Sacred Hearts Church, Promanade Beach, Paradise beach, Auroville (pls check the timings before you go), Pyramid Natraja temple
Around Pondy - Chidambaram for Natraja Temple, Pichavaram backwaters, Velankani, etc

Here comes the final set of pics -
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 3rd December 2009, 15:32   #7
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Well written short & crisp travelogue.
Really enjoyed reading it!
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Old 3rd December 2009, 17:28   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
Nice photographs. Who is that monkey swinging so close to the road posing danger to motorists ?
EL - Thanks man. If I remember correctly your 1st travelogue was your Pondy travelogue? It was a great read. And the monkey swinging so close to the road is not as dangerous as the motorists who jump onto pedestrian pathways

Quote:
Originally Posted by nnandi View Post
nice beginning Rahul. I am glued to this thread, as have plans to visit Pondi during the Jan 23-26 weekend. Few queries I have about the place and the hotel, I will send as PM to you.

Cheers!
nandi
Thanks Nandi. Sure will guide you to my best.

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Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
Well written short & crisp travelogue.
Really enjoyed reading it!
Thanks pulsar56. Didnt have to try hard to keep it short and crisp, we didnt do much there and just had a relaxing holiday
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Old 3rd December 2009, 18:01   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrahul_2778 View Post
EL - Thanks man. If I remember correctly your 1st travelogue was your Pondy travelogue? It was a great read. And the monkey swinging so close to the road is not as dangerous as the motorists who jump onto pedestrian pathways
Yes, that was my only travelogue. Nice one here rahul.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 21:28   #10
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Rahul, thanks for a simple writeup on your holiday.
You dined at Ajantha, which is where i stayed during my visit to Pondy last year. Just like you guys, wifey and me had a rather relaxed holiday, just loitering around the promenade, some shopping and visiting some of the usual tourist places.

Truly, a place i would recommend for a short holiday. And yeah, tanking up on petrol at Pondy feels like heaven, as compared to the price per litre in Bangalore.
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Old 5th December 2009, 09:13   #11
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Yes Ben. I was trying to recollect your name, you had sent me the pdf which had quite some useful info on Pondy. But as I was typing the travelogue missed mentioning you .

And yes you had put up a great travelogue on Pondy too. If the weather is right Pondy is a welcome break. Thanks for stopping by to post your comment
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Old 5th December 2009, 09:56   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrahul_2778 View Post
wifey picked up some veggis saying these were cheaper than Chennai!!!! ...
Happens all the time
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Old 5th December 2009, 11:01   #13
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Wonderful narration,pictures are also good, if there are some more its welcome!
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Old 5th December 2009, 19:13   #14
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Paradise beach is other wise called Chunnambar?
Or are they different?
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Old 5th December 2009, 22:34   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majic View Post
Wonderful narration,pictures are also good, if there are some more its welcome!
Thanks Majic. I will check if there are any more good pics. I didnt put many else the page would take longer to load with so many pics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Paradise beach is other wise called Chunnambar?
Or are they different?
Chunambar is the backwaters. You have to take a boat to go to the beach which is a 15 min journey. Most locals dont know Paradise beach and if you ask for directions or look at signboards its marked as Chunambar.
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