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Time can stand still in Pondicherry and if you so wish, you could have nothing on your agenda other than just soaking it all in. That's PERFECT! In that case, read this...

If you are coming just to drink and 'party', hoping for active 'night life'...then Pondicherry is probably not the right place and GRATITUDE certainly is not.

However, if you are someone who wants to know more about the place and its people and what makes it tick, then you may want to know a bit of our history before you arrive. 

To make it convenient for those who want to know more about Pondicherry, we will take a journey along Pondicherry's hostorical past, starting from the 1st century AD down to present day and mark significant events which have left something behind for us to now see and explore. The links will connect you to more information provided by other blogs and sites (the best possible ones we found on the subject). Some of the locations are technically in Tamil Nadu but if they can be visited easily from Pondicherry, they are included here. You can visit all these places on your own but we do organise meaningful accompanied tours to some of the nearby places so ask us for details.

There are some special places which we recommend to our guests that are not a part of the regular tourist circuit and sometimes I (Kakoli) accompany the guests or put them in contact with personalised guides. Rates for these tours vary.

For a CURATED list of things to do in Pondicherry, read on...

1. Do nothing. Just Be....

Sketch, Read, Write, Get a Massage, Sit at a Cafe and have a leisurely meal, Walk around aimlessly taking photographs. We have quite a Street Art culture developing here, explore and enjoy.

Coffee Shops to hang out in...

Coromandel Cafe, Artika, Cafe des Arts, 
Every year we have a few new ones opening up...
However, the locals drink their coffee at the kiosks...look for one next to the Chief Secretariat. You will find them on most street crossings in Tamil Town.

2. Take the Heritage Walk

There are quite a few people who conduct the heritage walk in the French Quarter but its important to get the right one...someone who can really help re create those days.

We will help you find the walking tour

Every old building, every street name, even an old signage or the pieces of logs which are sticking out in the ocean, have a story to tell.
The French quarter also includes the area of the Sr Aurobindo Ashram
You will probably walk at a slow pace for a couple of hours or so on level ground.

OLD  Lighthouse

Aayi Mandapam

Remnants of the historic Old Port

DUPLEIX statue

3. Architectural Walk

You may want to focus only on the built heritage of Pondicherry because we have an interesting range of Colonial French, Franco-Tamil and Traditional Tamil Houses...some restored, some in very good condition and some falling apart.

Buildings that you will get access to...

This is a specialized walk which will be give you access to some of the buildings that you would not normally gain entry,
The walk starts at the Intach Heritage Centre. The Pondicherry chapter of Intach has done a tremendous amount of work in preserving Pondicherry's built heritage.
You will be guided by an Architect or a Preservationist. 
You will see the different types of houses in both Tamil and Franco-tamil style

3. Explore the Tamil Town

Visitors to Pondicherry generally focus on the French quarter but in our opinion, the Tamil Quarter is more colorful, intersting and full of little gems to discover and explore. Of course it is crowded and a sensory overload....but that is India. How can you not experience the authentic local culture?

Great Poets who lived here...

Subramania Bharathi and Bharathidasan enriched Pondicherry with their Writings and Poetry. The Tamil Quarter walk will take you to their Museums which was their abode. Anand Rangapillay's (the Dubash) house is also a Museum now.

4. Cooking Class with Goubert Market (Big Bazaar) walk

You can do the COOKING CLASS & Market tour or just the Market Tour by itself. Goubert market was established in 1826 and is a bustling centre of activity and frenzied madness which is so typical of Indian markets. Needless to say, it is a photographers delight and the best time to go there is early morning.

Buy and cook...

There are quite a few cooking classes and market tours in Pondicherry and you can look for them online. We do them as well (only for our own guests)...so if you are staying with us, ask us for details.

5. Explore Pondicherry on B:Live's Electric Bikes

Not everyone fancies a walk...so why not go on E-bikes which dont need to be pedalled? B:Live organises these bike tours.

An easy way to see a bit of everything

They take you through all the major spots so you will definitely get an overview. Once you have done this tour, you can then decide on which areas to focus on.

6. Sri Aurobindo Ashram through Yoga of work...

Everyone who comes to Pondicherry wants to visit the 'Ashram'. Well, you can certainly visit the main Ashram Building where we have the 'samadhi' of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo on your own. But if you want to KNOW more about them and the Ashram, then we suggest the Ashram Tour which we organise for ONLY those who are really interested. It starts with an Audio visual and then we walk/drive to various units and shops and museums to help you understand the pupose behind it.

Know about Yoga of Work through Ashram activities

This is an extremely specialized tour and we would want to share this only with those who are really interested. Sp please arite to us well in advance if you want to take this tour. You can connect us through this link for this tour:

7. CERAMIC Pottery class

Now, this is something to do if you are staying in Pondicherry for a minimum of 7 days. But it is worth staying longer just for this....Pondicherry is perhaps the Pottery capital of India, thanks to Ray Meeker and Deborah Smith who set us the GOLDEN BRIDGE POTTERY in 1971. Many accomplished potters have learnt from them.

Get your hands dirty...

Many visitors ask us if they can visit GBP. Honestly, its not a place for just a casual visit because its a teaching place. You can see/buy their products from other shops. But if you wish to learn from the best, then that is possible. We work in partnership with them to help organise and run classes for various levels of students. You can contact them directly as well or through us. 

8. Morning walk in Vaithikuppam fishing village

This one is our speciality because this is where our other property Kariappa House is located and we just have to step out into the labyriths of this urbanised village which retains much of the local culture and flavor. Its a bare 10 min walk from GRATITUDE

Become one of the locals....

The residents of this locality, who are mostly fishermen, are now used to visitors and often try to interact as well. We start early just before sunrise and may even catch some fishing boats returning after a night's work. Capture the color, iconography and the decorative elements of their lives.


9. The Street Food Walk

Pondicherry's street food culture is as exciting as its sophisticated Creole cuisine (which is not easy to find). One gets to walk through some interesting lanes of the Tamil and Muslim quarters during this exploration. 

Eat like there is no tomorrow....

The only thing is, you need to be a non-vegetarian to really enjoy this. There are some age old pavement restaurants which serve the typical muttey (egg) dosa and prawn curry which you will not find anywhere else. They open at 6pm and shut at 1 am and are definitely not to be missed.


10. Temples and churches of Pondicherry

You may be religiously inclined or may simply be interested in their architecture. There is really no need to travel out of Pondicherry to visit ancient temples....Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple on MG Road was built in 490 AD and the Vedapuriswarar Temple nearby was destroyed by the French troops in 1748 and was rebuilt in 1788.

Holy spaces...

Within short distances in the Boulevard town, you can visit some really nice churches and stunning temples.
The Eglise de Norte Dame des Anges is the fourth oldest church in Pondicherry. The original strcture was built in Greco Roman architecture by Napolean 3 in 1855. It is the only church that offers mass in three languages: French,Tamil and English.


11. Auroville

Most visitors who come to Pondicherry are curious about Auroville so we definitely recommend a visit to their VISITOR'S CENTRE where they have a wonderful exhibition, sell their products and serve great food.  However, a few things that we recommend, other than the Visitor's Centre, are:

Human Unity, Environment and Innovation...

these are Auroville's aims and achievements in fewest possible words. Depending on your interest, there is much to discover...go through their website in detail. We can certainly guide you but you need to make your own arrangements for the tours.

12. Mason & Co. Chocolate factory tour/workshop

In Auroville, we must mention Mason & Co. as a special tour. If you love CHOCOLATE (very few of us don't) then you must do this tour and if more interested, take a workshop with them.

Indulge...

We think they make the BEST organic, vegan chocolates. You can buy them at Bread & Chocolate but why not see their operation up close?
Book a tour or workshop with them.

13. Beaches of Pondicherry

are not recommended for swimming due to unexpected currents. This applies to a large part of the Coromandel coast of India. As a result, we do not have great beaches and due to erosion, Pondicherry now has what is called the "Rock Beach". Yet...if you do want a bit of a sea experience, we will tell you where to go.

ABSOLUTELY avoid fishermen's beaches or village beaches....

you will soon find out why. Just trust us. 
Paradise beach is the Tourist MUST VISIT beach....you need to get there in a boat. Chinna Veerampattinam is quiet and less crowded. 

14. Water Sports....

We don't recommend swimming off the beach but we do have some surfing and deep sea diving facilities...

Take a dive or surf the waves...

It is probably the presence of a global community in Pondicherry that has brought in some serious divers and surfers. Learn from them and enjoy a day out at sea...or perhaps, take a full course.

15. Create Art

Pondicherry's street art is an interesting blend of the western influence and vernacular expression, much like its architecture. There are quite a few artists in town and some of them are willing to give private lessons.

We thrive on creating beauty

so if you want to stay with us long enough to create a body of work, we will be happy to organise an exhibition for you. Write to us with your portfolio attached.
Alternately, you could just paint for fun or take classes to learn.


16. Enjoy a game of Pétanque 

This is one of Pondicherry's very distinct French legacies. While during the colonial days it was played by the 'upper class', now it is played by the locals...very seriously. There are Pétanque clubs which exist and compete with each other.

Corner of Jean de arc Park is the best venue

though you may find them playing this on various other Pétanque grounds. Generally each area has its own ground and its own team.
At the Park opposite the Notre Dame des Anges Church, you can enjoy a walk in the garden as you see the teams play.


17. Block Printing Workshop

You can learn the process of textile block printing from a family unit who have been doing it for many years.

Make your own pieces to take back

Buy fabrics from the local market, slecet the blocks and create your own design and produce a range of products, all under personalised training and supervision.
Ask us for more details.



18. Health and Healing

There are many alternative therapies available in Pondicherry and Auroville....ayurveda, homeopathy, pranic healing, integral regression therapy to treat underlying causes or just simply relaxing rejuvenation therapies for well being.

Selecting the correct therapy

is part of the journey and being Reiki practitioners ourselves, we may be able to help you decide.
Write to us if you are interested.

19. Academic Research

If you are a Francophile or someone simply interested in academic reserach, then Pondicherry has what you may need. Go through the websites of École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO) and the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP), Romain Rolland Library or the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Library.

Intellectual stimulation

is something that you can certainly get, if that is what you are looking for. 
Research work done over the years are documented at EFEO and at IFP. At the Sri Aurobindo Library, you will have access to all the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.

20. Swimming in sweet water...

If it is the right season, we can take you out for a day's picnic where you get to dive in and swim in the most exotic sweet water bodies. 

Crystal clear water and just nature...

very private, very exclusive, this is only for select few who would truely appreciate a day out into nowhere.