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We spent two years travelling around India and stayed at over a hundred hotels. The Tripzuki collection represents the best of the best. We met the owners and the staff, took our own photos, and tried the breakfast in the morning. We know EVERYTHING about these hotels. We also negotiated some incredible deals!

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What to do


  1. See & Do
  2. Eat & Drink


See & Do

The French Quarter
An inescapable part of visiting Pondicherry. Bordering the seafront and with many nice restaurants and streets like Rue de Bussy, the French Quarter is a lovely area to explore on foot or on a bicycle.

The area has colonial-era mansions that are painted in lively blues and yellows with vibrant flowers spilling from their verandahs and balconies. The French Quarter is also dotted with war memorials and a few churches.

Really, you can admire this area all day and not get tired of it, it is full of character and will especially appeal to anybody with a camera.

A trip to Pondicherry is incomplete without a visit to Auroville, which sits in a forested area 16km to the north. This place is much more than a simple tourist attraction and should be treated as such.

An international township, Auroville was created under the supervision of Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator, a French woman named Mirra Alfassa who later came to be known as ‘The Mother’. A very striking, spherical, golden temple known as Matri Mandir sits in the centre of the community; built to encourage meditation and self-awareness, not a word is spoken by anyone who stands in the long queue waiting to enter.

At Auroville you can also visit the residents’ small, boutique stores and purchase candles, pottery, handmade paper, books and clothes, all made by Aurovillians. The campus, which is fairly spread out, has some great places to eat, in particular the Auroville bakery, Giorgio Pizza, and Tantas.

Think ‘bohemian’, think ‘organic’ and you’ll start to understand Auroville. Apart from Indian tourists, many French and German tourists flock to this truly unique place.

The food in Pondicherry is testament to its French past. It is perhaps the only Indian city where European/Continental food has not been ‘Indianized’ with an overload of spices.

There are many nice places to eat and this was probably our most treasured pastime in this lovely city. Find a café or restaurant with a nice verandah or courtyard, sip on a glass of wine and feel time slow down. Food, more food, and lots of wine, if you need to rest and recline Pondicherry makes sense.

One must make a special mention of the bread here, the baguettes and croissants are fresh and light and better than you would find anywhere else in India. The seafood here is particularly good.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Located on St Gilles Street, followers of Sri Aurobindo (a spiritual and yoga guru, reformist, freedom fighter and poet) flock here from all over the world.

The Ashram has set times for visitors and is not touted as a tourist attraction; photography is not permitted and mobile phones have to be switched off. Respect the silence and serenity of this place and follow the instructions of the helpers. The book store and gift shop here are worth visiting for a more in-depth understanding of Aurobindo’s teachings and philosophy.

Depending on your beliefs you can either find the whole experience spiritual or slightly unnerving.

The seafront
Pondicherry’s 1.5km long seafront road (Goubert Avenue) is near the French Quarter, and though good for a stroll during the day it can get very crowded at weekends. Take a stroll and see the blue sea crashing against the rocks; there is also a lighthouse, a war memorial and a Mahatma Gandhi statue located here. During the evening you can head to a nearby restaurant and gaze out to the Bay of Bengal. Note that the stone beach itself is not of interest and the sea not for swimming in.

The beach 
To spend time at a good, clean beach, head a few km out of town.

Paradise beach is around half-an-hour away by road from the main city, it is less crowded than the beaches in town and quite isolated, accessible most easily by ferry, or by car but with a longer drive to get there. It is advisable to go during the day and in a group, especially for women. There are no lifeguards but there are some refreshments available and also a couple of resorts here.

On the ECR road north towards Auroville is a long stretch of nice, golden sand beaches with swimmable water. There are no shacks up this way, so find a shady spot under the palm trees and enjoy a quick dip in the blue waters. Close to the beach, near the old Auroville road, is a hotel called Mango Valley where lunch can be enjoyed and a small fee will also allow use of the hotel pool.

Scuba Diving
Groups like Temple Adventures organize scuba diving for beginners and advanced divers as well.  Temple Adventures also have diving certification courses: http://www.templeadventures.com

Temples and Churches
Pondicherry has some lovely religious places to visit, all adding to the spiritual nature of the place.

On Dumas Street, the Notre Dame des Anges church is a stunning, mellow pink-and-cream structure, built in 1858. Visit in the afternoon when the light accentuates the churches beauty, and have your camera to hand.

There are also some beautiful temples on Pondicherry’s main road (MG Road) which are 300 to 400 years old. Of particular note is the Ganesh temple named Manakula Vinayagar. Here you can catch tourists, pilgrims and others being blessed with a head-pat from the temple elephant.

Eat & Drink

Surguru – Mission Street
Cuisine: Vegetarian South Indian Food
Alcohol: No
Price Range: Meal for two under Rs 500

Vegetarians of the world, rejoice!  Surguru dishes out delightfully authentic and delicious vegetarian food. Even the staunchest meat eater cannot possibly leave here feeling anaemic. Popular among locals, Surguru is a no-frills restaurant where the service is quick and the food, great. If you don’t mind the crowd and noisy ambience head to whichever outlet is nearest, they can be found in the French and Tamil quarters of Pondicherry. Opt for an all-you-can-eat vegetarian thali (a platter with an assortment of south Indian dishes) for an inexpensive 100 rupees and you’re guaranteed to be satisfied. Unlike the other cuisine of the state Chetinadu, this vegetarian food is not as spicy and has a more tangy flavour.

Madame Shante’s – 40 Romain Rolland Street
Cuisine: French, Italian
Alcohol: No
Price Range: Meal for two Rs 800-Rs 1000

Madame Shante’s has managed to make its mark on Pondicherry’s crowded food landscape despite its not-so-authentic French food. The rooftop eatery with its laidback ambience sets the tone for a cozy dinner or an evening out with friends.  Even though it lacks the refinement of a fine-dining restaurant, Madame Shante’s scores on the simplicity of its food and the freshness of its ingredients. The seafood here is particularly good; try the garlic squid, prawns cooked in plum sauce or go for the grilled pork. This is one of those places that might make you wait slightly longer because the French fries aren’t your fast-food chain defrosted variety.

Satsanga – Labourdonnais Street
Cuisine: French, Indian
Alcohol: Yes
Price Range: Meal for two Rs 2000 (drinks included)

One of the most highly rated and recommended eateries, this garden restaurant is a favourite with tourists in Pondicherry.  Although the restaurant does deliver on flavour it can be found wanting when it comes to other aspects. We visited the restaurant on a night when it was not serving fish, nor did they have the beer that was on the menu. The ginger-honey prawns tasted great but the prawns were not properly deveined. On the plus side, the generous serving of chicken in cream and mushroom sauce more than made up for the prawns. Other diners recommend trying the beef steak. Prices are on the high side when compared to other restaurants in the area and finding your way at night can be tricky so you’re better off taking an auto. All said and done, Satsanga might have the trappings of an over-hyped restaurant but the place is definitely worth a visit.

Le Vietnam – Bussy Street
Cuisine: Vietnamese, French, Italian
Alcohol: No
Price: Meal for two around Rs 800

The name itself should tip you off that the restaurant suffers from an identity crisis. In its bid to please diners with French, Italian and (strangely) Vietnamese food, it ends up disappointing on all counts. The non-veg ‘Chaiyo’ (Vietnamese spring rolls) did not have any trace of either chicken or shrimp and the accompanying sauce was tasteless. The beef Bo Bun with an overload of mint leaves tasted closer to something you would find in Kerala rather than Vietnam. The staff can seem a bit clueless at times; cleaning ladies walking through the restaurant and staring at diners as they eat is unnerving! Even the ambience is confusing, with oriental wall hangings, Vietnamese hats and paintings, and furniture that clearly belongs in a café. With plenty of eating options around you, you’re safe to give this restaurant a miss.

Surabhi, Anandha Inn – Tamil Quarter
Cuisine: Indian, Chinese, Continental
Alcohol: No
Price: Meal for two around Rs 1000

Surabhi is one of the four in-house restaurants of hotel Anandha Inn in the Tamil quarter of Pondicherry. The menu reads of an unholy mix of Indian, Chinese and Continental food. However, the food is not bad at all and makes up for the stuck-in-time ambience of the restaurant. Stick to trying out the Indian non-vegetarian dishes and you should have no reason to complain. The mutton Chetinadu is succulent and spicy but ask the staff to go easy on the spice if you can’t handle it. The staff are pleasant but can be overbearing at times. The caramel custard here is bound to put a smile on your face. Most restaurants in Pondicherry feature caramel custard on their menus and it stands tall above the soufflés, brownies and ice creams on offer.

Le Café – Goubert Avenue
Cuisine: Continental, Indian
Alcohol: No
Price: Meal for two under Rs 600

Being the only sea-side restaurant on the strip (what used to be known as the Promenade), this place has a view to die for and the licence to stay open 24-hours. You would thus expect Le Café – by Pondicherry’s Ministry of Tourism – to blow the competition out of the water but sadly this is not the case. What you get instead is poor, uninspired food with downright terrible service. The coffee here is good but with breakfast it was served in a plastic glass. Just to make things more difficult they do not accept credit cards.