The Pondicherry Piquancy
Bangalore being equidistant from either sides of the coast in India, riding towards a beach can lead to a beautiful sunrise on the east coast and a mesmerising sunset towards the west coast. Pondicherry, also known as Puducherry, a French colony and a union territory on the East Coast is one of the most exciting destinations for any South Indian which is just about 120 kilometers south of Chennai.
A common location amongst youngsters for pub hopping, local sea food delicacies and mind-blowing pastries which it is famous for, there are also quite a number of tourist spots to visit in and around this hotshpot.
Paradise beach, Auroville ashram – a typical French village, beach road and a few other beaches accommodate to a brilliant weekend getaway.
Distance, Route Options and Directions
Route 1 – MAP LINK
Distance – 750 Kilometers round-trip ex-Bangalore
Road conditions (Reported as of mid-2015):
Amazing roads everywhere, please make sure to avoid the Tiruvannamalai route which has absolutely horrible roads.
Reach Arcot and then take a right, beautiful tarmac again.
To get to Pondi which is 380 kilometers from Bangalore, you’ll have to hit the National Highway number 4 towards Chennai.
The actual route to Pondicherry is a straight road from Krishnagiri and through Tiruvannamalai, please make note that this road is a terrible one and will take another hours or so extra even though this route is slightly closer.
Our advice would be to ride on the Chennai Highway and take a right at Arcot which will take you through Vandavasi and Tindivanam.
Once you set off from Bangalore, you’ll hit the Tamil Nadu border in no time. Once you cross hosur, this highway is lit up all the time.
A lot number of small tea stalls here and there, typical Punjabi dhabas, cafes and few organised franchise restaurants will make sure that you’ll have a comfortable ride with no worries of pit stops.
The route till Arcot is a four lane highway, the traffic is usually at minimum. So, maintaining a decent average shouldn’t be a problem here.
Once you reach Arcot, which is 233 kilometres from Bangalore, you have to take a right towards Vandavasi. You have big clear sign boards throughout the highway which will help in navigation.
After the right, the route till Pondi is a two lane highway. Make sure you finish all the major pit stops before this as you’ll find only small tea shops till you hit Pondi. Coming to the road, this is one beautiful stretch with good visibility keeping you safe and conscious.
Smooth straights and a few corners here and there will keep you active and excited. Other than Vandavasi and Tindivanam you will pass through a few villages, the rest of this route has only barren lands.
The most important factor to keep in mind is the climate, the closer you get to Pondicherry the hotter it gets.
It’s not as simple as hot, it is scorching heat which will cook your brain out making you want to ride naked, but trust me riding naked would be even worse since the heat will simply turn you into a kebab.
The humidity is too high, so don’t bother about the droplet feel which you will experience all around your body. It’s about 44 kilomtres to Pondicherry from Tindivanam, the same kind of road continues.
Beating around Pondicherry is probably the best thing you can do. A lot of pastry shops serving mouth-watering cakes, deserts, frappes and of course pastries, amazing beach side restaurants, shacks and a lot more places to visit around here.
And also, there is a place called Paradise Beach for which you’ll have to travel on a boat. It’s a small piece of land hanging out of the coastal region, a brilliant place to chill off for about 4 to 5 hours.
If you want to just ride and forget everything else please make sure to hit ECR which leads to Mahabalipuram and Chennai. Caution on this road as it is a two lane and everyone riding or driving here have the feel of a GP or an F1 professional.
Best Time to Visit
Just after Rainy season probably December to February.
Weekdays, as it would be flocked with tourists on weekends and public holidays.
- Stay – 2/3 days.
Food, Lodging, Help and Assistance.
- Safety en‐route – Yes, safe but do keep an eye out.
- Parking Availability – Depends on Hotel/Homestay
- Entry Fees – N/A
- Fuel – Very frequent till Arcot, make sure to fill up here as there are very scarce after you cross this town.
- Puncture Repair shops – Frequent.
- Breakdown Assistance – From Chennai.
- Nearest Service centres – Pondicherry City
- Police Coverage – Pondicherry
- Interceptor Alert – N/A
- Hospitals Available – Chennai, Pondicherry and all other major cities.
- Restaurants /Food Joints Available – Well, you don’t have to worry about this in Tamil Nadu, its everywhere.
- Lodging Availability – Pondicherry
Pondicherry is a destination where you get to relax, it is perfect for a nice calm vacation for about 2 or 3 days. The main thing to remember is that the common places for tourists is a little sophisticated and elegant. Our advice to you would be to ride to Pondicherry, hire a cab for one night and beat around every possible pub. The following days you can ride in and out of Pondi and visit Auroville for some nice continental and oriental styled cuisines.
Photographs without the Project Upshift Watermark belong to Avishar Dutta, a travelling shutterbug.
You can follow his work and journey here: FACEBOOK LINK