Pondicherry Tours Packages
Once the registrar's office in Pondicherry, this property has now been turned into a charming boutique hotel. Located in the Tamil quarter of this former French colony, the ten rooms of Maison Perumal are around a bright sunlit courtyard and make for a cosy space. Care has been taken to retain the original structure and decor, evident in the unvarnished furniture, stone floors and stained glass at the balcony. The service is warm and friendly and there is a well-stocked bar. As for food, the mutton and vegetable stew served with appam is popular here but don't skip the assorted seafood platter. With its old-world ambience, this place is more like a friend's home rather than a hotel.
This reforestation project was started some years ago on the outskirts of Auroville by an Israeli couple. Thousands of tropical trees have been planted in a 70-acre stretch of what was once barren land with the help of many volunteers. Admire the lush greenery and stop by for a vegan meal. If you visit on Friday, you can join the volunteers and watch a film at the EcoFilm Club.
You can't be in Pondicherry and not have a taste of the French. Head to Baker Street for the yummiest selection of cakes and breads in town. Think cheese baguettes, quiches and ganache in coffee, rum, orange and other flavours. This bakery is run by Alain Phan from France. If you go early in the morning, the aroma of freshly baked bread will tempt you to stay much longer than breakfast. Pick up baked chocolate twisters, meringues, eclairs, fruit tarts and, of course, French and garlic bread.
SUNSET OVER THE SUTTUKENI BARRAGE
Catch a glimpse of the sun going home from a quiet, scenic spot at Chunnambar, a popular place for picnics. It is about eight km from Pondicherry on the mouth of the backwaters. After spending the day relaxing on the pristine white beach, climb a stone bund to watch the sunset. The effort is well worth it—the sight of the water taking on a red hue as the sun goes down is an experience that you won't forget in a hurry.
This is an ideal place for those who crave a quiet retreat for a few days. The cottage, located on the outskirts of Pondicherry, is built in the midst of large gardens, and has three rooms. The charm of this place is the privacy it ensures thanks to its location. There are hammocks in the garden for the slothful and and cycles for the active. The food is cooked at home.
This little yellow shop is one of the prettiest in town. If you're a hippie at heart, this is a place to go, as you can find all kinds of curios here—from tons of jewellery, handbags, totes, plates, to dresses. Browse around and you are sure to find some unusual items.
Stroll around the shores of Ousteri Lake, an artificial waterbody, which is a great place to spot flamingos and pelicans. You may also find some spoonbills. The best time to see these creatures is winter. Close to a small canal behind Ousteri Lake is a massive Banyan tree where you can spread out your picnic hamper and have a good time.
FETE DE MAHE
This five-day literary and cultural festival is organised by the Tourism Department of Pondicherry at Mahe in February. Mahe is located on the opposite coast of Pondicherry and is just a tiny strip of coastal land sur¬rounded by Kerala. It is a tiny and picturesque town. Like Pondicherry, this, too, is a former French colony. The Fete de Mahe or the Mayyazhi Mahotsavam is quite a mix of local, national and foreign flavours. Different music bands also come and perform here. Watch plays and dance performances, take part in a literary seminar, and send the children to a painting camp. There are many things you can do here. One of the most interesting events of the fete, how¬ever, is a tableau parade much like a carnival, full of colour and noise. Mahe is probably the one place in India where the French heritage is preserved in the best possible manner—even youngsters speak fluent French. It also has a very strong influence from Kerala, so you are sure to catch a Kathakali performance too. Artistes like Pankaj Udhas and Anup Jalota performed at the festival this year.
STAY HOTEL DE L'ORIENTLike most things in Pondicherry this hotel is a charming mix of the Tamilian and French. Behind the rose pink and white facade of the bungalow, lies an Indian style courtyard with 10 rooms around it. These come replete with four poster beds (some with footstools) and French art on the walls. The Creole food restaurant here offers a variety of dishes.
EAT SATSANGA If youYe looking for steaks, then this is the place to go, as they have a variety of sauces to savour. Sprawled in the backyard of a colonial bungalow, this is a restaurant where you can spend hours on end, especially during a Sunday brunch, what with the crepes, sausages, soft croissant and juices.
SHOP HANDMADE PAPER If you think paper is made from just wood, the Handmade Paper Factory at Aurobindo Ashram will prove you wrong. It stocks paper made with straw, algae and even tea leaves. Pick up bond paper, in as many as 40 colours, letter pads, cards and gift- wrappings at throwaway prices here. The photo albums are to die for.
SEE BOTANICAL GARDEN As with almost everything else in Pondicherry, it dates back to the 19th century, 1826, to be precise. Situated in the heart of the town, this 22-acre garden is an island of retreat. It is home to 1,500 varieties of plants, and some of these are more than 150 years old. The mini train ride is a must, for a better view of the meticulously planned gardens.