Pondicherry – 5 Attractions of a Solo Traveller’s Paradise
Pondicherry is like a beautiful scrapbook of Indian history, with its quaint, brightly colored houses and its meandering lanes dotted with green leafy trees. Officially known as Puducherry, the city falls under the Union Territory of Puducherry, an erstwhile French territory that became part of India in 1954. It is situated on the southeast coast and is surrounded by Tamil Nadu.
The colorful earthy houses of the Tamil Quarters, the French Colonial architecture of the French Quarters, the briny breeze of the panoramic beaches – all preserve the unique concoction of the different times and cultures that has touched the city. In a way, Pondicherry makes you feel like you’re at home and yet, also traveling the world, at the same time. The city’s dual identity becomes your own – where you can both find and lose yourself.
Here are some major attractions to look out for if you are on a solo trip in Pondicherry:
Auroville is an experimental township about 8 km away from the city center and a must-visit for all who venture into Puducherry, especially those who are spiritually inclined. Founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa and based on the ideals of Sri Aurobindo, the town explored the idea of a ‘Universal Ownership’ to promote the unity of humanity. Its philosophy of belongingness to humanity as a whole is deeply enlightening for those looking for their purpose in this world.
Peaceful Beach Hopping
Some of the popular spots for a solo traveler to feel connected to nature are the beaches of Pondicherry. The Serenity beach has spectacular views and nowadays it has also become a surfing destination with surf rental shops and surfing schools around the area. The Promenade Beach is a marvelous spot for sunrises over the Bay of Bengal and is located in the heart of the French Quarters. For backwater boating and dolphin sighting in its clear waters, Paradise beach is the place to be.
Delicious Breakfast and Seafood
Pondicherry, for obvious reasons, is a seafood destination. No evening is complete in Pondicherry without a plate of fresh Calamari fried to perfection and a glass of cold beer. It’s also well known for its breakfast spread – from dainty bakeries to colorful little Café’s, food influenced by Portuguese, French, Vietnamese, and local Tamil delicacies, there’s something for everyone in Pondicherry. A great place to explore some classic Creole food is the Hotel De L’Orient.
Exquisite Boutique Shopping
Pondicherry is really famous for its many unique little boutiques and local handicrafts. From the beautiful embroidery of the Cluny Embroidery Centre to the handmade artisanal products of the local markets, the cottage industry of Pondicherry is blooming. French boutiques like Oh La la, known for their artisanal umbrellas, Domus boutique for its crockery and trinkets, and brands like Highdesign for their leather products are equally famous in Pondicherry.
Liberating Cycle Rides
One of the delights for a Solo traveler is the chance to explore a place in their own way and at a pace that is to their liking. Most of the traffic in Pondicherry is that of bicycles, a great way to go around the city that feels like it’s encapsulated in time and to save the environment from further harm. Whether it’s going around the little lanes of the French Quarters of the city, coming across the little plaques with French street names or biking through the Tamil Quarters looking into the little wooden windows – Pondicherry is incomplete without the image of the cycle.
Solo traveling speaks of a desire to explore, not only the outside world, but also the soul that resides within. Therefore, it is important to feel a connection with the space you’re in, no matter where you go. Pondicherry is just the place to be for such a connection, whether with nature or with your own spirit.