By Deeplina Pattanaik
The beautiful union territory of Pondicherry is a charming little place which will directly transport you to an entirely different time and place. Colonized by the French in the 17th century, this town still has a strong French influence. The architecture, the street signs, the cuisine all of it is heavily influenced by the European country. Ever wanted to go on an exciting scenic trip abroad but fell short of funds? Then this place is a perfect holiday haven for you. With scenic beaches, luxurious resorts and exhilarating watersports, Pondicherry lives up to the awe-inspiring photos and tourism hype.
With loads of people coming to Pondicherry looking to break away from the monotony of daily life, It is fast becoming the GOA of the east coast. It has everything India’s favourite holiday destination has and more. Much less commercialized and with a very breezy vibe, Pondicherry is the place to holiday for people looking to relax as well as mix things up a bit with a good share of adventure. It always helps to research your holiday destination a bit before so as to make the best of your stay.
So here is our pick of the best Beaches, Resorts and watersports Pondicherry has to offer.
Pondicherry is the Mecca for pristine beaches on the East coast. The beaches are clean, less crowded and completely untainted by crass commercialization. In Pondicherry, beaches are as plentiful as stars in the sky. But there are a few beaches that are an absolute must see when you take a trip to Pondicherry. Here are the top 3 Pondicherry beaches that won’t disappoint you.
Auroville Beach: About 12 kilometres from the centre of the main town of Pondicherry, lies this beauty of a beach. Its proximity to Auroville contributes to its name. The reason we added this beach to the list apart from its peaceful beauty is its small waves and shallow waters which makes it safe for swimmers. The gentle slope of the beach also gives non-swimmers the opportunity to dabble about in the beach without the fear of strong currents pulling at them. This is a great Pondicherry beach especially if you’re visiting with kids. The shore is lined with colourful shells and is peaceful enough on weekdays but tends to get crowded on weekends.
Paradise beach: This Pondicherry beach is a gorgeous stretch of golden sands and palm trees. 8km from the main town, you can get to this private beach by a boat cruise from Chunammbar resort. Its tricky location makes it one of the least crowded and well-maintained beaches in Pondicherry. There are a lot of shower booths and restrooms for the tourists if they wish to take a dip in the cool waters. As the beach experiences strong currents, it’s advisable to swim in the shallow waters close to the shore and not wander too far.
Promenade Beach: The most famous beach in Pondicherry, Promenade Beach is a 1.5km stretch of Rocky beach on the Pondicherry beach coast. Bordered by a walkway this beach sees tourists, party goers, Joggers, bicycles alike. Promenade beach has the best of the monuments in Pondicherry along its stretch like statues of Jeanne d’Arc, Dupleix, Mahatma Gandhi, French War Memorial and the heritage building ‘Mairie’. Apart from this It also has the famous 27m tall lighthouse whose silhouette makes for a spectacular sunset.
Most resorts in Pondicherry have everything one expects from tropical beach locations; opulent surroundings, close proximity to gorgeous beaches, Backwaters, squishy sand, relaxing recliners next to the pool and just about anything you could wish for.
There is an entire array of Pondicherry resorts near the beach, and contrary to popular belief not all of them cost you an arm and leg. There are tonnes of options that are pretty budget friendly while being a complete treat. Beach resorts in Pondicherry are a great way to explore this beautiful French colony as they are usually close to beaches and backwaters and the resorts usually have a lot of in-house activities to offer. So here are some of the best resorts in Pondicherry.
Kailash Beach Resort: Kailash Beach Resort is one of the most popular beach resorts near Pondicherry. Situated in one of the fishing villages called Padukkupam, this resort is surrounded by lush greeneries and scenic sights. Built in traditional Tamil style, Kailash Beach Resort is an expansive 3-hectare property of lush and exotic gardens. Even with the traditional architecture the rooms are very luxuriant and have all the amenities. Their star attraction is unique to every room private balconies, where you can see the setting sun. They have yoga and meditation halls, pools, jacuzzi, and indoor sports. They also have martial arts, music and dance performances.
Beach View Resort: About 2 kilometres from Pondy, nestled amidst a lush and green locale is Beach View Resort or as we like to call it the perfect budget retreat around Pondicherry beaches, this beach resort is situated on the Serenity Beach and lies within a close proximity to Auroville. So, you can take a bicycle or walk to the peaceful Auroville.
It brings out the essence of the South Indian culture, the visitors are greeted warmly and given the best service. Contributing to their rustic theme, there is an exotic tree house and cottages and the roofs made out of coconut leaves and bamboos. The fresh pleasant sea breeze is cool enough to compensate for the lack of air conditioning and is indeed a retreat from daily life.
The resort offers local tours and cycling tours and is great if you have a pet you don’t want to leave at home.
Prince Park Farm House: If you are done with the buzz of city life and just want to take a break and want peace and nature to be a part of your holiday then, Prince Park Farm House is the resort for you in Pondicherry! Away from the hectic city-life, this beach resort in Pondicherry is sure to be an utmost peaceful and serene experience for its visitors. Surrounded by nature and comfortable in various ways, it is built like a farmhouse and has a homey air to it. You can choose from Cottages, Studio Rooms and Bungalows as to where you want to live. All the living arrangements come with all modern amenities. The resort offers cooking classes, yoga sessions, sightseeing tours and ayurvedic massages apart from cool blue pools and luxurious Jacuzzi’s.
It’s not just Pondicherry’s unique coastal beauty that has made it the beach lovers’ favourite vacationing spot. The wide range of water sports options the white sandy beaches contribute as well. There is an opportunity for multiple water sports activities like scuba diving, surfing, parasailing, banana boat rides etc.
You can go scuba diving and experience a myriad of colours of the corals as Pondicherry is the only diving spot on the eastern coast of India that has natural coral reefs, rocky pop-ups, man-made folds, and a plethora of marine organisms.
Scuba diving In Pondicherry is organized by Temple Adventures – a 5-Star-Rated PADI centre which offers excellent training and PADI certification courses in Scuba Diving. Some of the prime scuba diving spots are Cool Shark Reef, Aravind’s Wall, Temple Reef, 4 Corners, Ravines and The Hole.
For those who feel scuba diving is a little too hardcore the watersports scene of Pondicherry does not disappoint in this scenario as well. Paradise Beach and Karaikal Beach are two of the most popular watersports hubs in Pondicherry for exhilarating water sports. Boating, jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking, backwater sailing, and overnight camping along the beach are some of the thrilling activities the beaches have to offer. Boating is another water activity that is very popular activity in Pondicherry thanks to the backwaters.
Apart from all this Pondicherry also is a great place for surfers. Beaches like serenity beach are perfect for surfers and a lot of resorts offer surfing lessons. If you are not staying in one such resort you can take surfing classes from surfing schools as well.
There is a wealth of things you can do in Pondicherry this is just the tip of the iceberg. This former French colony is a treasure cove in terms of, scenic beauty, adventure, history, culture and cuisine So explore the town and we hope this guide contributes in making the most of your trip.