I had to book my ticket for Pondicherry (up and down) form Bhubaneswar, and I was late. Tatkal ticket booking through irctc is always a nightmare, but somehow I found few available tickets in the Patna to Ernakulam Express, and successfully booked one till Chennai. I was excited for a four days trip to Pondicherry to attend the ICMAGMA-2014 conference at Pondicherry University. I had to give a talk at the conference, but I was more thrilled about the French city Pondicherry.
- Boarded Patna to Ernakulam Express from Bhubaneswar at 6:25 am
- Reached Chennai Central at 4:00 am
- Boarded the bus to Pondicherry from CMBT Bus Stand Chennai
- Reached Pondicherry around 12:00 noon
- Checked in to Sri Krishnas Guest House
- Evening: City exploration on foot
- Conference day
- Conference day
Last day of Conference
Return to Bhubaneswar by Pondicherry Bhubaneswar Express at 6:30 pm
At 4:00 am, I reached Chennai Central railway station. This is always horrible, when you are travelling alone and you reach a connecting station at early morning with incomplete sleep. Then you have to attend the nature’s call with all your luggage with you. I had my morning tea and rushed to catch the bus to Pondicherry. The auto dropped me at CMBT bus stand, Chennai. I caught a non AC Govt. bus which charged me INR 100/- from Chennai to Pundicherry. The scenic beauty on the way to Pondicherry was enchanting. It took me around 4 hours to reach Pundicherry.
At around 12:30 pm I checked in to the Sri Krishnas Guest House. This was a mediocre hotel with required minimum facilities, however the manager is a cooperative person and tries his best to make the stay comfortable. The daily room tariff was INR 500/-.
A fresh bath removed all the tiredness of the long weary journey. The guest house did not have the restaurant, so I had my lunch in the one nearby. I took rest for sometime and then started for exploring the city. Following are the places which I visited on the same day:
Sri Aurobindo Ashram: This place is so peaceful that you can hear the sound of birds. You can enjoy the calm and spiritual environment of the Ashram. You can buy spiritual and inspirational books from here.
French Colony (White Town): The nearby area of Aurobindo Ashram is known as French Colony (White Town). The best way to explore this township is on foot. The roads and the buildings give the flavor of French architecture.
Rock Beach: You can walk through the french colony to reach Rock Beach which is 1 km from Sri Aurobindo Ashram. It is one of the neatest sea beach I have ever seen in India. A memorable incident was watching a little girl (may be 6-7 years old) throwing her trash into the dustbin by herself. And not to mention, you can have raw mango from vendors on this sea beach in the month September 😉 .
Then I went to an cafeteria to have a cup of coffee and some local home made cookies. A lady was running the coffee shop and the shop seemed to be managed very well. Then I went back to the guest house and retired for the day.
I got busy for the next 3 days in attending the talks, observing the posters, and enjoying the cultural program in the ICMAGMA-2014 conference organized by Pondicherry University. My talk went very well. After the end of the conference, I boarded the Pondicherry Bhubaneswar Express. I was lucky to get a ticket in this weekly direct train, which was at-least ensuring me about no return journey harassment 🙂 .
I enjoyed this solo trip and learned a lot from it. Finally I would love to highlight following few good points about Pondicherry:
- One of the neatest city and sea beach I have ever visited in India
- Local people are very helpful. From my my experience: When I was going towards the sea beach and not able to find the way, an old man helped me voluntarily in finding the way, when I was roaming in the sea beach and trying to find some one to click my photographs, a young man helped me.
- The city is safe and peaceful.
Following are few tourist points that can be explored which I did not find time to visit:
- Jawahar Toy Museum
- Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Pondicherry Botanical Garden
- Serenity Beach
- Paradise Beach