Saturday, October 6, 2012

PONDICHERRY:A road trip!!!

If you have read my previous blog “AT THE ISLANDS OF ANDAMAN” I had mentioned about our plans to travel to Ladakh in the month of June 2012. Well forget Ladakh. I didn’t even cross the boundaries of Karnataka in the last one year or so. But I did climb peaks much tougher than the ones at Ladakh. I got MARRIED!!!!!!(If you know what I am talking about)
So like everyone else I thought after marriage all my BAG PACKING DREAMS would die a natural death, but my wife and Deepak’s sister Divya who became the “best friends” in their first meeting decided that we all should visit some place. Now this was the first time we were visiting some place with women in our company, we didn’t want to take any risk of going too far off places. And with a group of eight people taking leaves on the same day is always an issue.
Nevertheless we decided that Pondicherry would be a good weekend getaway destination. And thus our planning started with Google. Also I had couple of colleagues from Pondicherry at my office who told that there are not many places to visit in Pondi...Everywhere I searched the only recommendations I saw was a visit to Auroville ashram and some beach.
So the first question was how do we travel to Pondicherry? Our options were train, bus, hire a vehicle or drive down there. Train was not an option because we planned to travel on Saturday and the train was on Friday. Among the remaining options driving to Pondi was the least expensive according to our calculations. So we decided to go by two cars. We booked room in a house converted to hotel called Coromandal heritage since we would be arriving in Pondi late Saturday night.
We planned to leave on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 and reach Pondi by 11 in the night, so that we would be fresh the next day to go around the city. But of course “we propose and Shivu disposes”. He announced that he would be in a meeting till 4:30 in the office. Deepu who had imagined this had already booked a bus ticket for him. But it didn’t feel good to leave him behind and ask him to come by bus. So we all decided to wait for him. By the time he arrived and we started off it was 6 in the evening, already 3 hrs behind our schedule. Add to our woes was the traffic jams at silk board and electronic city road.
Vehicle pooja in Progress

And then started Pramod’s list of endless woes. The first was a Scorpio touching our car from behind near EC flyover. The damage was not worse enough for us to pick a fight with that Scorpio guy but it was enough to create a dent in Pramod’s heart.
Nevertheless our journey continued. The road till Krishnagiri was pretty fine with couple of diversions in between due to road work going on. At Krishnagiri we stopped near a hotel called “ARS” and enjoyed some dosas and coffee. The nightmare started from Krishnagiri as the roads were literally in pieces. One can’t make out if there are potholes in the road or the road was in the potholes. Some of the potholes were deep enough to store water and solve Cauvery water issue. And add to that the girls wanted to go restrooms every half hour. So we had to stop at every petrol bunks and check if they had ladies restrooms and also if they were good enough to be used.
When we reached Thiruvanamalai it was swarming with devotees from Tamilnadu and Karnataka. The town had witnessed heavy rains may be in the evening and hence the roads were water clogged. The main highway was blocked and everyone was diverted through the town. It took us almost one hour to negotiate amidst the traffic, keep asking for directions since most of the sign boards are in Tamil and finally to get out of the town and reach the highway. So now we were almost 4 to 5 hrs behind our schedule. The road from Thiruvanamalai to Pondicherry was pretty good and we drove at good speed to make up for the lost time.
The temperature kept increasing as we were nearing our destination. Midway we had a tea break and by the time we reached Pondicherry it was 3 o clock in the morning. We had called the hotel guy 30 minutes prior to reaching Pondi to inform him that we would be arriving late. The moment we entered Pondi the only thought everyone had in their mind was to reach the hotel and hit the sack ASAP.
But that was not to happen. We were supposed to go to “RUE NIDARAJAPAYER STREET” as per the hotel address on their website. There was couple of people on the roads at that time and whoever we asked for the address kept telling us “NERRA PONO”(Go straight) and take 3rd or the 4th left. We kept asking for directions and kept going round and round but never found this street. Nidarajapayer must have been a guy hard to find. Finally we started to use our Google maps. The only difference between those people (Whom we asked for directions) and this Google map was instead of saying neera pono, it kept saying go straight and take left or right. This kept on going for an hour until Deepak got frustrated and took the phone from us and said that he will now follow the map. Looking at his confidence I and Pramod felt it was better to stay back and search some other place rather than go behind him. So they followed the Google map where as we started asking some more people we found on the roads. After 10 minutes Shivu called on my cell and asked if we had found the hotel to which I said no. When I asked if they got the address he said “Sir, following this Google map we drove straight for around 4 to 5 kms. We have reached some slum and now this Google map keeps saying that you have reached your destination. It’s on your left. On to my left is only slum. We asked a guy here for that address and he said that we have come 5 kms away from our address” Everyone burst out laughing. Yes I know you must be wondering why couldn’t we just called up the hotel guy and ask for directions. Even I am wondering till now. Anyways now it was 4:30 in the morning and finally better sense prevailed on us and we called up the hotel guy. He just gave us instructions over the phone and we realized we were just 3 to 4 minutes away from the hotel. Finally we reached the hotel and went off to sleep immediately in our rooms.
Hotel Coromandal Heritage

Interiors of the hotel

September 30th: Auroville
Next morning we got ready around 11 and went to a bakery called BON BAKES. It’s a French style bakery which served bakery item as well as stuffs like omelet, egg fry etc. The ambience was quite good with very few people inside at that time. The service was quite late and we ended up wasting lot of time there. My wife wasn’t very happy with the breakfast served there as she wanted typical south Indian breakfast. (My wife will be reading this. So I am not going write anything more about it). With the ladies around the photo session never stopped.
After breakfast we headed towards Auroville since we had to take prior permission at least a day in advance to get entry into the globe like ashram. We were disappointed at the booking centre since the booking was full for the next 3 days. Deepak was the only one who was happy since he wasn’t keen on seeing any ashram. He was just waiting to get into a bar and he openly voiced his opinion. And Shivu had gifted him a full bottle JACK DANIELS from Dubai which was lying in the room. So going to ashram at that point of time seemed too stupid for him. So we walked up to the ashram view point from where we could see the globe and took some photographs.


A closer view of the globe

And a complete photo session near the parking lot. Ravi was a dedicated photographer for Lollen. He took so many photos of her that even a marriage photographer would be tired by then.
It was almost 4 in the evening and everyone was hungry. While driving back it started to rain cats and dogs. We had to stop midway since the visibilty became very low .
Pondicherry streets flooded with water after the heavy showers

Bad visibility

Stuck in the pool of water

 Once we came back to Pondicherry city we settled down in a restaurant called “Asian house”. It was an excellent restaurant with good ambiance, good food and drink. I somehow forced my wife to gulp down a glass of wine to prove her love for me. She took it very seriously and finished that glass and started to feel dizzy. I had to take her for a walk along the beach to relax her and then we both came back to the restaurant since it started raining.

Asian house
After our food fest we had a long walk along the beach with sugar candy, coffee and ice cream for company. One can see statues of Gandhi, Nehru and some French dude. Finally we came to our hotel and Deepak and co. had a peg or two of whisky in their rooms before going off to sleep.
October 1st: At the Beach
Around 9 in the morning we all set out to Chinambur boat house from where we would be taken to an island in boats. We reached there a bit early and the ticket counter was not yet open. So we drove back at least a kilometer since we could not find any good place to eat near the boat house. We had pongal and dosa for breakfast and by the time we came back there was a small crowd near the ticket counter. We took the tickets and went near the boats. We were given life jackets and the boat ride was about 10 minutes before we reached the island.

Boat ride to the island

I wasn’t very impressed with the beach as I compare every beach with the ones in Andaman and none come close to it.
Deepak bought couple of beer bottles as everyone was pretty “Thirsty”. It was extremely hot and we decided to get into the water right away. The girls preferred to stay on the shores while we kept playing in the waves. Suddenly a large wave hit us and Pramod lost his sunglasses in the water. The water was muddy and there was no way we could even try to find it. We couldn’t get a volley ball or a disc to play in the sea. But after sometime we started to throw sand balls on each other. After sometime it became fierce and we started chasing each other throwing sand to the point when all of us were dead tired.

Pondi beach

We were hungry and decided to go back to the main island and stood in the queue for the boat. Deepak got some snacks as we all were hungry. We reached the main island and drove back to our rooms for a quick bath.
After bath Pramod suggested a place called”Pizzeria” for lunch in Auroville. The service was very late and as usual my wife didn’t like the food as she wanted some south Indian dish. Deepak ordered chicken pasta for himself and we ordered pizzas and steak. Deepak got his pasta but before he could taste it he dropped some pasta on his white shorts and went to the rest room to clean up. By the time he came back Lollen shared his pasta with everyone and there was little left. I was just waiting to see Deepak’s reaction to this. He came back and saw everyone eating it and gave an expression which was a combination of “what the hell+ fuck you all” kind of.
Divya announced that she would eat only vegetarian food, but upon seeing chicken steak could not control and took a large piece saying that she just wanted to “taste it”. By the time we finished eating it was quite dark. The cashier missed couple of items in the bill and Deepak was quite happy with that (Of course everyone was). While driving back to the city Pramod car was hit by a cow which was pushed by another cow on the road. The side portion of the car above the left front wheel took a severe dent such that it became difficult to open the front door. But still Pramod as always had a smile on his face and didn’t show he was upset. If I was in his place I would have killed that cow and roasted it on the road itself. We came back to the city and went around the French colony. It was two days in Pondicherry and we had almost seen nothing here apart from a beach. Actually this blog is more of “what you should not be doing in Pondicherry”.
So that night we had a discussion on whether we should be travelling to Mahabalipuram the next day or stay back in Pondi and go around the city. All of us decided that staying back in pondi was a good idea. It was around 10 o clock in the night when we decided to have dinner. We went to a restaurent called “Anjappar” since it was late many item on the menu was unavailable. The waiter was in a angry mood and served the food like we were beggars in front of a temple asking for free food. My wife kept complaning to me that we should give back properly to the waiter but I was in no mood for that.
Finally we came back to our hotel, gulped down couple of beer bottles and went off to sleep.
October 2nd:
As usual we all got up late and went to “Manakula vinayagar temple” and then had breakfast at Anand bhavan. Then we visited Aurobindo ashram which is very famous in Pondi. It is the place where Sri Aurobindo and mother have been cremated.  The place is quite small compared to the number of visitors it has in a day. It has a library attached to it with books related to the mother and Sri Aurobindo preaching’s. The environment is very quiet and peaceful inside the ashram with people meditating inside it.
Aurobindo ashram

 Then we went around the French colony taking as many pictures we could.

Colorful hangings

French consulate building
And then we went to a church. All of a sudden Divya started murmuring some English prayer and my wife and Lollen started repeating it and finally they went inside the church. God.. There is a limit for  being crazy. 

The Church

       Deepak was completely pissed off with our monument visits. But there wasn’t anything else to do there. Finally we decided to have lunch and bid goodbye to Pondi. We went back to our hotel, checked out and headed to a French restaurant “Baker street”. We had some good French delicacies and took some pictures there.
Then we started our journey back to Bangalore. This time we were prepared for those pothole roads so the journey was better. 

View along Krishnagiri route

It was about 10 o clock when we reached our house in Bangalore. I saw the newspaper lying in front of my door. The headline was that KSRTC and BMTC has decided to hike the bus fare. I switched on the TV and saw that India had won the match but was out of the T20 world cup tournament.
We finished our trip accounts at my place and were discussing about our next trip.
To be frank this trip was average as we never indulged in any kind of adventure activities. We just wanted to see if the ladies could adjust with us and they all seemed very happy with this experience. So now we can plan for further more trips with some adventure thrown in as well.
Looking forward to the next travel plan ….!!!!

"The CLAN" From left standing(Pramod, Roshni, Ponnappa, Shivu), From left seated(Ravi, Lollen, Deepak, Divya)


  1. Its just Awesome...!U have given a fantabullous feedback abt our trip.. good going ..:))Really loved it !

  2. Its superb dude, as usual..!! "Short and sweet". Its a very good hobby u have to pen down every travel. It would be real fun to go through this, as years past. Hats off bro, keep up the good work.

  3. Wow..!! Another superb writing i must say.. Good stuff ponnappa..!! I really liked the way its written, Looking forward for many more of these trips to come.

  4. Ponnappa,
    You have explained it very well, Loved and laughed while reading your blog.
    Looks like poor Pramod's car is target during this trip it seems, bad luck..:)

    I am missing few photos of individual expressions like Deepak's while having food about Pasta, Roshni's photo after having wine and so on.

    Would like to read more like this.

    Good going Keep it up.
    MOHAN T.

    PS: I also had been to same places including Mahabaleshpur it was nice.

  5. All Explanations and pictures have come well. :)

  6. very detailed, good job! but please post more pictures about local food you tried.

  7. @ MOHAN TALIKOTI... Posting Deepak's pic while having food will lead to my blog being banned by Google...
    Posting pics of my wife after she having wine would lead to me being banned from my home!!!:)

  8. Good one Dude. Loved the way you explained the moments. Agree with deepak "Short and sweet". Keep it up dude.

  9. Wow. Very well written. You have cultivated the hobby of writing your experience very well. It is amusing experience to read on your blog. I must say keep it up. Enjoy guys!! Miss u guys.

  10. Hello there, I found your blog via Google at the same time as looking for a related topic, your website came up, it appears great. I've bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  11. Good write up Ponnappa.:)
    Well, I really liked the way you've captured and narrated all the moments spent at pondi, it is so clean and neat.
    Yeah it was a nice time all together. Looking up for more such TRIPS.... Cheerrsss!!!:):)

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  14. I heard a couple of guys talking about this in the New York subway so I looked it up online and found your page. Thanks. I thought I was right and you confirmed my thoughts. Thanks for the work you've put into this. I'd love to save this and share with my friends.

  15. Your compliance and way of writing this blog is really awesome. Your clicks really highlights the pondicherry and its ambiance. Thanks due!!!!

  16. Lovely pictures. I am sure that you had enjoy so much in your road trip to Pondicherry. An erstwhile French settlement, this beautiful little seaside Union Territory is a merry blend of Eastern and Western influences. Check out all good places to visit in Pondicherry.

  17. Hi,
    Quiet interesting post.....and pictures that too good..U had been shown both quiet good and bad side of pondicherry.keep writing like this.

  18. Hi nice blog, liked reading your trip. :)
    Can I ask you how was the hotel Coramandal Heritage at Pondi? I am planning to visit pondicherry with my girlfriend for a short trip.
    I saw the profile of the hotel and I'm quite convinced that it would be a quiet hotel and not a bussy one.

  19. Hi nice blog. very interesting and useful blog. This is very useful to all. Thank you.
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  20. Awesome Post. The most interesting thing in this post is the Images, I just loved the images. Thanks for sharing this informative post about pondicherry tourism.

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  23. Thank you for the sharing the blog on the beautiful Pondicherry trip . the pictures are wonderful. As we know it is a Union Territory in southern India. The history of the City of Pondicherry is recorded only after the arrival of Dutch, Portuguese, British and French colonialists. There exists many places to visit in Pondicherry which still preserve much of the colonial ambiance. Pondicherry is surely one of the choicest holiday destinations in South India.

  24. Pondicherry is one of the Union territory located in South India. It has the culture of French colonial up to 1954. Still here people follow the french culture. I like pondicherry so much. I like all the beach places of pondicherry. Thank you.

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