Monday, 7 November 2011

Trippers Paradise

A couple of days ago, I was looking through my junk, a.k.a, my wardrobe and I noticed a small piece of paper lying around somewhere in the back. I had to literally tread through the mess in order to retrieve the chit but when I did manage to finally extract it, the information that lay within brought a smile to my face and a flood of memories with it. So, without any further ado, I bring to you one of the craziest one day trips ever made with the Eco – Trippers / Cakes Gang to the beautiful city of Pondicherry.

Pondicherry / Puducherry as it’s more commonly known now is by far one of the most beautiful cities of South India. The beaches are breathtaking and the view (if you get what I mean) makes for an interesting weekend escapade. The chit that I had extracted contained the names of the people who were travelling. The six of us, bored with the office routine decided one day that we would make a short, quick and exciting trip to this beautiful place.

It all began with a plan. Due to the nature of our group, it had to be kept as a well guarded secret since there was a lot of hype surrounding the people who were going for the trip. My Team Leader Rajesh, who’s a native of Pondi (the shortened name of Pondicherry) by the way, had to ensure that he did not run into any relatives and hence all plans were being made in absolute confidentiality and secrecy. We decided that we would make the epic journey on Rajesh’s last working day at office. What a way to savour the freedom.

We decided to take a train as it would be chilled out (it was an air conditioned train by the way) and not many passengers would actually opt for a train because of the journey time it used to take, so basically, it would be relatively empty. The train, ironic as it sounds is named The Garib Rath which when literally translated means Poor Man’s Chariot. The train in no small terms was poor. Exceptionally crafted interiors, air conditioned like an igloo; this was the beginning we couldn’t have anticipated. A lot of fun ensued along the way as we got to talking about how life would be without Rajesh in the team and although no tears were visible on the faces of the other five, we were sad that this would be the last time we would be spending with each other. So, honouring the tradition, we broke open a few bottles and began the journey with a few liquids and talked about the plan for the next day.

Left: Rajesh, Mishal and Me    Center: Atheeth    Right: Sumona and Esha

Since this was to be a one day trip, everything had to be planned to perfection. Right from where we kept our luggage to the places we were to visit and the distance to be travelled, at the same time keeping a close lookout for Rajesh’s relatives.

7.00 AM – We’re in Pondi

If its one thing Southern India is very famous for, it’s the heat. Just imagine you’re emerging from the freezer straight into the frying pan. That’s how we felt as soon as we got out of the train. Well, the first thing we had to do was find a room to dump our luggage in. Now in Pondi, you have a lot of options as to where you can keep your stuff. It depends on how long you plan on staying at the place. If you’re planning on staying in Pondi for a few days, I would suggest you try some of the beach resorts which are a little far away from the city but offer the privacy and the serenity. One of them is the St. James Beach Resort which is opposite the Pondicherry University. The other place that you can check out is the Auroville Resort which has its own private beach for its members staying at the resort. Auroville is also known for its exclusivity, so you can enjoy that peaceful time with your loved ones away from the hustling bustling noise of the city.

Since we were doing a one day thing, we decided to use the quarters at the train station which I must tell you, is sometimes overly priced but totally worth it when you don’t have any other option. So, once we dumped our bags and freshened up after the night’s journey, we were good to go. Now, there are lots of things that you can check out in Pondi, depends on what interests you the most. One of the most popular destinations that every visitor, local or foreigner likes to visit is the Aurobindo Ashram. The Aurobindo Ashram is located in the heart of the city and is well known by all the auto drivers.

Me and an Auto-Wala

There are various modes of transportation that you can avail of. The most popular among the tourists is the bicycle which you can enquire with the hotel / resort that you’re staying at as to where you can pick them up. The rates are on a per day basis and you should be able to get a discount if you’re booking them for a large number of people. You can also get motorbikes and cars on hire again on a per day basis; however there is a documentation procedure involved in this, so please do carry a copy of your driving license along with a local contact number that you can be reached at. You can also use the local transportation such as buses or autos (three-wheelers) to move your way around the city.

The first thing that was on our agenda was to see the Aurobindo Ashram which as I had mentioned before is a must to see if you’re going to Pondi as the place exudes of peace when you’re in it. It’s a totally different feel as soon as you walk into that place and you can instantly feel the difference as you’re taken away from the outside world and transported into a world of spirituality. It’s a very popular destination for people of all ages.

Outside Aurobindo Ashram

Note: The Aurobindo Ashram is a sacred place and you are requested to be respectful of the people around you over there as a lot of them find peace and tranquillity amidst the other devotees who share the same belief.

Market near Aurobindo Ashram

Once we were done with the spiritual journey or awakening as I call it, it was time to do the crazier things that people come to Pondi to do. Not the drinking, no, but hit the beaches J. So, off we went to a place which is called the Paradise Island. I would suggest you get to this place by taking a bus / an auto. Once you enter this place, you have to take a boat ride which comes every 15 – 30 minutes to the actual Paradise Island. The boat ride lasts for about 45 minutes. You are allowed to carry food, liquor and other materials that you would require as the island does not host a restaurant / a resort. It is always advisable to procure these things before you reach Paradise Island.

The Furious Five

Once you’re there, it’s just you and the beach. There are no rides unfortunately out there as you have in Goa. The beaches in Southern India are pretty rough, so a word of caution - don’t venture out too deep. In any case, there are a lot of lifeguards there who keep a close look-out in case you drift away. There are no lockers to keep your valuables, so please carry limited items if you’re going to the beach.

We spent about three hours out there swimming, playing some beach games like throwing the Frisbee around and getting ourselves covered in sand till only our heads were visible. It’s good to drink a lot of liquids as you’re going to get dehydrated quite soon. Well, we opened a few bottles out there as well and once our bellies were filled, we headed out to the next destination on our list – The Seaface.

Taken on the boat ride on our way back from Paradise Island

The Seaface is one of the most beautiful places to visit at any point of the day / night. It’s kind of a romantic hotspot and a good place to chill out for people of all ages. Also, it becomes something like a mini-fair during the weekends where you have vendors selling all kinds of stuff which you can buy for quite cheap. The sand is soft and you can sit there for hours just watching the waves go by as they hit the rocks in front of you. Truly, a moment to be captured in memory.

Seaface / Marina
Once we had our fill of enjoying the beauty of Seaface, we decided to grab a bite before we had to head back to the station to catch the train back home. Along the Seaface area, there’s a beautiful rooftop restaurant called Promenade, which was literally the icing on the cake to end the trip with.
The Promenade is a luxurious 5 star Hotel that offers accommodation along with excellent food and beverages. The Rooftop restaurant is called Lighthouse and it offers a beautiful view of the Bay of Bengal while catering to your palate at the same time. They have an excellent display of wines as well as other spirits. The food is a mixture of various cultures so you can expect a good variety of dishes at your disposal.

Rooftop @ La Promenade

Once we were done with dinner, it was time to head back home. We picked up a few items along the way in case we got hungry on the train back home but all in all, it was a worthwhile trip with lots of fun, laughter and a truckload of memories that we carried with us back home.

From what I hear, this was only beginning to the Cakes trip. We’ll be going very soon to newer destinations. More on that shortly.



  1. Anonymous1:07 pm

    buddy!! budy budy budy, this is just not a blog; its a great piece of surprise/souvenir for all of us... especially the ticket!!! god not even a million dollor note would have brought that shock/surpise/excitment on our faces but then i assure that this work/ticket rolled down tears from the eyes!!! thanks for what you have done :-)

  2. Anonymous3:00 pm

    wat a pleasant remarkable moments those are !!! Being a stranger, I could imagine the wonderful experience you gained.. i wish i were one among you all and enjoyed the beautiful trip.. envy your fun-filled group with a fabulous Team Leader in it ;-)

  3. Thank you for your comments. This has truly been an amazing trip indeed.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...