Things We Saw and Did in Pondicherry

The last week of December turned out to be unexpectedly active. None of us had planned any travel at all. I had a vague hope that I may be able to take a couple of days off and visit my family in Chennai, but considering how hectic December was, I was okay with just quietly unwinding at home too.

Then an unplanned argument arose at home – we were arguing about something really random, and in the course of the argument, we decided that a break was in order. It was only the next day when K called me at work (when I was neck-deep in work!!), that I realized that

  1. He was serious.
  2. All arrangements were made and I could not back out.
  3. And, that in spite of all the inconvenience of finishing up work, applying for leave, packing, etc…I really, really wanted to go and take a break

Within the space of a couple of hours that evening, we decided on places to go and see, booked rooms, and arranged transport. In Chennai of course, we stayed at mom’s but we also planned a short getaway to Pondicherry, which is fast becoming one of my favorite places to visit.

I remember Pondicherry (Pondy as we call it), being a sleepy, one-horse town in the nineties. But the recent emphasis on tourism and arts has made it one of the more charming and eclectic places to visit in South India.

When we went though it was raining and we couldn’t take advantage of the beach or our hotel’s sweet swimming pool causing the snubnose to pout and declare the trip a total loss. However, we still managed to have a good time eating and shopping, and generally taking in the sights.

We were late starting from home and it was past two when we reached Pondy. We checked in at our hotel, and immediately rushed for some food. A quick scan on my Foursquare app told us that Le Hidesign Cafe was nearby and was well-reviewed and so we made our way there.

Here are some photos:

Relaxing time in Hidesign Cafe

Relaxing time in Hidesign Cafe

I can’t recommend Le Hidesign cafe highly enough. The place is quite unassuming and they take their time with the food. However, there was a plate of cheeselings to satisfy the kids, and the beer was nice and chill, so very quickly we moved into laid-back holiday mood. The food is mainly continental, but with enough variety in both veg and non-veg sections. I had ravioli stuffed with mushrooms, and it was just heaven. My father-in-law loved his grilled chicken, it was done to perfection, and the chicken very tender. K was also pleased with his spaghetti with prawns. They also made a special omelet for the snubnose, which she enjoyed.

The best part of the lunch was the service. The waitress was so kind enough to walk the piglet around the cafe while we ate our lunch in peace. It’s a small place, and he was always within our eye sight but it was still pleasant to be able to eat our lunch without interruptions while she walked around stopping him from licking the floor, and other such embarrassing and gross behavior. By the end of the lunch, the two had become fast friends.

My only regret is that we were too full to attempt what I am sure were the utterly divine desserts on the menu. What makes it even sadder is that for some reason or the other during our entire trip, we never had any desserts although Pondicherry supposedly has the most awesome bakeries :( .

Anyway, post-lunch was sight-seeing and shopping. We went to the Promenade where the snubnose blew off some of her excess energy.

For once, she was happy to mug for the camera and we managed to get some lovely shots with her and K in front of the statue of Lord Dupleix, and on the beach.

We also paused to take a shot of Le Dupleix hotel. Somehow, I don’t think we did justice to the architecture of this place. It’s really a lovely building.

We then did a lot of walking around looking for antique shops. K likes antique furniture,I don’t, and when the opportunity arose I did a quick detour to go to Yaka Home Design, which is a home shop that just suits my style. I loved their range of cane outdoor furniture

Cane Chair from Yaka

Cane Chair from Yaka

Since they say they also do custom orders, I am dreaming about having some cane furniture made to order for the terrace garden in our new house. For now though, I picked out the cutest white flower lampshade that I am totally in love with. My only regret? I should have gone all the way and just got the lampshade in the largest size they have :).

We then moved on to Amethyst/La Maison Rouge. Amethyst is a famous cafe and shop in Chennai and one of my favorite hangouts, and so I wanted to explore the Pondicherry one as well.

Like the Chennai Amethyst, this one is also an old colonial house, with some very nice things. The atmosphere was also lovely enough that we were willing to rest our feet and try some of their cocktails, but their service was so unenthusiastic, that we left within minutes. Beautiful but very unwelcoming place! I did love the Titanic chandelier on the ceiling made of old plastic bottles. So creative! Really, my trip seems to have been all about lighting :)

Interesting Display from La Maison Rouge/Amethyst

Interesting Display from La Maison Rouge/Amethyst

By now, it was late, and we were ravenously hungry so we popped over to The Promenade Hotel for dinner. They have a famed Christmas buffet and our expectations were high. Unfortunately, they were too high. The buffet spread was average, and so was the a-la carte food we ordered. What was nice was the ambience. We took an outside table, the weather was pleasant, and the sea-breeze very calming. We ended up having a nice time anyway.

At the Promenade Hotel

At the Promenade Hotel

And then back to the hotel and bed. What a hectic day it was!

Btw, this isn’t our first trip to Pondicherry, here is an older blog post about an earlier trip we took to Pondicherry with the snubnose.

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  • hayden4u

    Thanks dude for sharing useful information about Pondicherry. This city has several tourist attractions that draws travelers from all over the world. The places to visit in Pondicherry includes Aurobindo Ashram, Arikaimedu, Chunnambar boat house, pondicherry beach, Barathi park and much more. This http://www.theweekendleader.com/Travel/1802/pondy-hotspots.html site offer detailed information about top 15 tourist attractions in Pondicherry.

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  • Shradha Bhatia

    Pondicherry is amazing! I completely fell in love with the town on my recent visit, which I blogged about here:

    http://shradhabhatia.com/2014/02/travel-diaries-pondicherry/

    It would be great if you could have a read and drop a comment :)

    Keep the fabulous content coming!

    Cheers, Shradha xx

    • Nishita

      @shradhabhatia:disqus Thanks for visiting and commenting :), will definitely look up your post

  • http://travellergurus.blogspot.in/ Shivangi

    I love the Hidesign cafe’ and the store too. The Auroville bakery serves up some amazing cheesecake. And Le’ Cafe’ is a beautiful French inspired place. The food was good couple of years ago when I was last there, the ambience is fantastic. What is Pondicherry without the ambience right ?!

    Did you know that the Promenade Hotel was originally built as a railway station??

    • Nish

      @Shivangi: We loved Hidesign Cafe. The food was so, so good. Pity we missed the Auroville bakery too…next time maybe.

      And I didn’t know the Promenade was a railway station originally. It must have looked so grand :)

  • http://evanescentthoughts.wordpress.com Avada Kedavra

    Wish I had read your earlier post on Pondicherry. Recently we had been there and didnt know what to do, other than visiting the Ashram.

    • http://nishitak.com Nish

      @Ava: Oh, that’s too bad. Maybe next time. We too feel like we missed out on a lot of stuff because of the rain – Auroville beach, Oustera lake boating, and a temple in the shape of a pyramid (yes, really!). We need to do another trip too :)

  • http://manjulikapramod.wordpress.com manjulikapramod

    Wow… lovely pics…and the kids are cute.. Pondi looks great and inviting too…
    Great u had a quick travel and are back refreshed…

  • http://ajumpinggene.wordpress.com Laavanya

    I remember Pondicherry from years ago! Just as beautiful as ever. Plus, I get to use my rusty French skills.
    I think you were here (Chennai) and I was at Bangalore that week. :D

    • http://nishitak.com Nish

      Yes, it’s very beautiful. Earlier, it was not developed as much for the tourist market, but now it’s really lovely.

      Yes, I read your post about your Bangalore trip. Looks like it was a short and sweet trip (especially the sambar :)). After so many years here, I still am not comfortable with the sweetness of the sambar.

      • http://ajumpinggene.wordpress.com Laavanya

        Ha! So it isn’t just me who find sweet sambar odd. XD