About our Visit to Pondicherry and why it’s my Favorite City so far

So far, Pondicherry tops my list of cities in India because it’s got everything, it literally has everything. It’s got churches, temples, museums, it’s got beaches, beautiful streets, and colorful cafes; it’s got the hustle bustle of a city but it also has the peace and quiet; AND it has the friendliest people that I have ever come across. Pondicherry, if you ask me is a perfect dish, with all the ingredients in just the right amount.

What more could you ask? Well, I couldn’t. Here is a glimpse of what we explored in Pondy:

  1. Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges

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Englise de Notre dame des Anges, also known as Our Lady of Angels Church is the fourth-oldest church in Pondicherry. Peaceful and beautiful, this church is located right on the Promenade. The colorful glass ceilings along with the lovely flower decorations make it a must-go.

2. Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple

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This Ganesha temple is adorned with huge canvases which depict events from Lord Ganesha’s life. Like all the temples in South, this one too is colorful, grand, and beautiful. 

  1. The Promenade

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The Promenade is to Pondicherry what Marine Drive is to Mumbai, except that with no vehicles, the former takes the cake. This is the one place where you get to see people from every part of the city: gajra-clad women indulging in the daily gossip, new moms chasing after their toddlers, the toddlers chasing the soapy bubbles, a group of young thalaiva fans, tourists from all over the world, and fellow visitors like us – everyone comes here to wind up their day. This is one place I got to experience the culture of the city, which instantly made it my favorite.

4. Auroville

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Auroville, with it’s unique concept, is another place in Pondy that appealed to me. A planned township which was founded by the Mother in 1968, it has residents from all over the world who live together above caste and creed. In the center of the town is the Matrimandir (as seen in the above picture), a place for silent concentration.

5. The City’s View from the Lighthouse:

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Going to the top of the lighthouse will need you to climb a never-ending stairwell. But trust me, it is every bit worth it. The clear blue waves, the huts on the beaches, the lovely green of the coconut trees and the various colors of Pondicherry – all worth a view.

A few other places worth a visit include:
1. Auroshikha (highly recommended)
2. Auroville Ashram
3. Bay Of Buddha
4. Paradise Beach
5. The City Museum

Interested to know Pondy a little more? Please feel free to read an elaborate post here: blog.tripmonk.in

Here’s How You Go to Goa and Come Back Stressed

Dearest Readers,

Please forgive me for such a long break. I was trying to recover from flu past few days, the reason why I decided to holiday in Goa for the long weekend.

As I start writing this post, I have just set off from here. And I just can’t wait to be back to my lovely city, my home, Pune. Who says that right? Who wants to ever come back from Goa? Well I will, coz I’ve had the three most stressful days of my life here in Goa.

So, here is how you go to Goa and come back absolutely drained:

1. Choose a Konduskar Bus

Konduskar, the pride of Pune does anything but make you proud. To start with, we were misled while choosing the seats online. What seemed to be center seats on screen, turned out to be the last ones when we got into the bus. To add to it, our sleeper AC bus was in such a poor condition, it made three times the noise of our PMT buses.

2. Choose Goibibo

We wanted to kickstart our trip by checking ourselves in a relaxing waterfront resort. Because it was only going to be us two girls traveling, we wanted it completely hassle-free, the reason why we chose to book the hotel way in advance through Goibibo. And what do we find out when we get to the hotel? That the lovely Goibibo had overlapped our booking with another guest.

Three hours, and ten odd calls to their customer support later, they still had not managed to book us in any other hotel. When they did manage to find us something, they wanted us to be okay with a 2-star hotel as compared to our 5-star, AND they wanted us to believe that they were bearing 3 grands extra to book us in, meaning they were not going to compensate in any way.

When we did agree to go to the hotel, they were very very resistant to book a taxi for us. They wanted us to bear the taxi fare from north to south Goa, when we had just paid an exorbitant taxi fare to get to the hotel we had booked. Fed up, we just asked them to refund our complete amount. “How are you planning to compensate for this?”, I asked the customer care representative. And he was quick to reply, “A 500 rupees GoCash is the maximum we can do for you.” I hung up.

3. Visit at a Peak Time

We visited Goa during a time which was favorable for everyone. Being a long weekend, almost everyone from Mumbai and Pune had landed up in Goa. Moreover, November – February is a time when most foreigners also choose to come and stay in Goa. This meant that I saw Goa like I had never before – the beaches were full of people, the roads were full of people, the hotels and restaurants were full of people.

It also meant that we had a really hard time to find ourselves a bike. We had to wait one who day to get a hold of one. When we did get one, I realized how crazy the traffic was. Beaches that were easily accessible to us were taking us a good 30 to 45 minutes to reach. The traffic jams on the narrow and steep roads, the burning sun, and the fact that I was the only one riding our bike; was all driving me crazy.

4. Try to Visit too many Places

After my last visit to Goa, I knew very well that a 3 or 4 day trip is too short to explore both North and Goa. I chose North Goa because it had everything to offer – the beautiful churches in Candolim, the Anjuna flea market, the happening Baga beach, as well as the silent ones – Mojim and Ashwem. I knew that it was only the beaches in North that I had to visit. However, it was my friend’s first trip and she was keen on exploring South as well.

We started around 10.30 that day, and after two hours of long drive, we had only reached half way, having gotten stuck in a very bad traffic jam at Panjim. The only good thing was the fact that we got to visit the very secluded Siri Dao beach, after which we decided to come back North and stick to it. A lesson well learnt.

5. Choose Paulo for your Journey back

Trust me, I am not using this post to trash everyone, but Paulo was even worse an experience than Konduskar. Firstly, they split me and my friend, even when we had booked double seats, into two single miniature seats, where a person could barely fit. We had had to pay 2 grands per ticket for this supposedly AC bus, who neither chose to provide us any blankets, neither had a working AC; needless to say, it didn’t have a charging socket either. After everyone complained about the AC, the driver took us back to Goa after 20 minutes into the journey. They got the AC repaired, which took another half an hour, meaning no one was going to get in time to work the next day.

And as luck would have it, the AC stopped working within an hour. When we finally tried to get some sleep, the driver decided to give us a death ride all the way to Pune. I couldn’t keep my eyelids closed even for a second that night, what rash driving, I was surprised I made it to Pune at all,

When we finally reached home, we couldn’t help but laugh off the last three days. As stressful as it was, it sure has given us lots of stories to tell.  However, this is one trip I wouldn’t like to remember, and also the one I am least likely to forget.