The Pondicherry Guide

A detailed blog on all things Pondicherry!

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I know I’ve been away for a while but I was indeed “Living the life of my dreams” since the last 2 months! Now that I’m back to reality.. I would like to help you plan your vacation to the most peaceful place in India that I’ve been to in recent times πŸ˜‰

Yup..no guessing games here. IT IS PONDI ; also called Puducherry or Pondicherry.

A weekend destination for people in South India and a long journey for people who’re from the North! You can find below, a detailed guide on what to do in Pondicherry, good restaurants/ cafes that are a must when you’re there and places that you can’t really miss!

1. HOW DO I PLAN MY TRIP TO PONDICHERRY?

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Start by either booking your flights / trains and hotels or do both in advance. Chennai is closest so it takes about 3-3.5 hours if you take a bus from CMBT or Koyambedu. I went with my friend Vaidehi and apart from booking our flights from Mumbai to Chennai and the hostel booking, we did not plan anything in advance. We took a state-run bus which costed us Rs. 150 each . Bangalore to Pondicherry is also a good option but it takes about 6-7 hours in a bus. An economic way of reaching Pondicherry is by train although it takes a long time from Mumbai (at least 28-32 hours).

Pondicherry is a very small city so if you want to take your sweet time to explore then you should plan your trip for 5 days like I did although a weekend is enough to cover most of the important places. October to February is the best time to visit Pondicherry.

2. WHERE DO I STAY?

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As I’m very comfortable and really admire the hostel culture in India, I stayed in a newly opened hostel called Micasa Hostels on MG Road, Pondicherry. It is well-connected to all the important places like White Town, Rock Beach, Aurobindo Ashram and is half an hour away from Auroville. A plus point is that the owners of the hostel are very friendly and the best people to help you get local information about Pondicherry! There are a lot of hostels apart from Micasa listed on sites like Booking.com. Do check the reviews and pictures before booking your accommodation. We had 4 complete days to explore Pondicherry so we decided to rent a scooty (Rs.300 per day on weekdays and Rs.350 on weekends) because autos are quite expensive. You can also rent cars if you’re in a bigger group (Rs.1200-1500 approximately). Local buses are also a good and inexpensive option.

3. WHICH PLACES SHOULD I VISIT?

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Well-known places: White Town- In and around French colony, Auroville (closed on Tuesdays), Matri Mandir- It is inside Auroville where you need to book tickets in person from The Auroville Visitor’s centre at least one or two days in advance (opens at 10AM), Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Sri Aurobindo Paper Factory, French Memorial, Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Pondicherry Museum.

Churches: Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of Angels Church, Immaculate Conception Cathedral and St. Andrews Church to name a few.

Beaches: Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, Serenity Beach, Auroville Beach

Not so well-known places: Arikamedu, New Pondicherry Lighthouse (Open for visitors from 3-5PM), Pichavaram Mangrove Forest.

Note: Pondicherry is also a great shopping place and you will find amazing clothes for as low as Rs.50/- Check the quality before buying anything off the road. The market is set up almost everyday on Mission Street and the best day to go is on a Sunday. There is also a Sunday Market at MG Road where you get everything from utensils, clothes, books, etc at reasonable prices. Do check it out when you’re there!

4. WHICH CAFES AND RESTAURANTS SHOULD I VISIT?

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Mentioning all the places that I managed to go to, below :-

Canteen 18- The best burgers in Pondicherry, HANDS DOWN! It is run by two incredible women and the overall vibe of this place is wonderful πŸ˜€

La Villa– A little heavy on the pocket but their coolers were great!

Cafe Xtasi– Amazing wood fire pizzas at an affordable price.

Sky Garden- Food wasn’t great at all but the view of Pondicherry is great from there!

Idli Idiyapam- Good food, slow service. The starters we ordered here were really good!

Vijaya Coffee Bar- Best filter coffee in Pondicherry! The dosa place adjacent to the coffee bar is also great.

Gelato Factory– Just one word: DELICIOUS ❀

Bread and Chocolate– Best smoothie bowl, best breakfast place, BEST EVERYTHING! (Closed on Mondays)

Coromandel Cafe– Lovely ambience, expensive place and super slow service.

Gelateria Montecatini Terme (GMT Ice Cream) – Tasty tasty gelatos in more than ten flavours. Who wouldn’t like it?

Cafe Des Arts– Loads of options in the breakfast menu, great ambience! (Closed on Tuesdays).

PY Cafe– The best of all! Good food, even better interiors. It’s a Pastel lovers HEAVEN !!!

Taka Pizza– Another great pizza place and so cheap. A good “Rs. 250 for 2 people” eating place.

Marc’s CafΓ© Roast and Taste– So many varieties of coffee that I’ve never seen in any coffee shop, ever.

Auroville Bakery- You’ll find everything here. Breads, biscuits, pizza, quiche, tarts and pies. What more does anyone want in life?!!!

Baker’s Street- Amazing chocolate eclair and croissants. Good vegetarian as well as non vegetarian options!

Hotel Surguru- A great place for vegetarian food and quite famous. Expect a waiting time of 10-20 minutes there.

That’s all from my trip to Pondicherry! Special thanks to my friend Vaidehi Gujarathi without whom this trip wouldn’t have happened ❀

I hope this guide helps you plan your trip to this beautiful city easier! Do hit me up about your experience or if you would like me to add something!

ENJOY AND SAFE TRAVELS ❀

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I started my journey on Instagram 5 years back. Throughout the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some brands that I absolutely love and also learn a lot about social media along the way.

They say that with great following comes great responsibility and I couldn’t agree more!! I’ve been asked a lot of questions varying from “How did you get so many followers?’ to “How do you have the money to travel all the time?”

This is why I’m writing this particular blog…..to answer all the questions you guys have been asking all these years.

Note: I’ve made this list of questions from the messages that have been asked by my Instagram followers on DMs and comments and it’s a compilation of the most repeated ones. I’ve tried to answer them to the best of my capablities. Read away!

1. How did you start/ get so many followers?

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I’ve been in the Instagram scene for quite some time (August 2013 to be precise). Some of my friends jokingly labelled me as an “Instagram Veteran”.Β 

To be honest, growing or even becoming a Photographer/ Social media Influencer was never the plan. A humble Micromax phone as the device and my college campus as the muse is what I started with. I kept getting appreciated for my pictures on the platform and on 16th May, 2015 I got suggested by Instagram.

2. How does a suggestion by Instagram really work?

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For a brief amount of time between the years 2014-16, Instagram used to follow accounts that they saw potential in.

The message by Instagram after an account gets suggested goes like this:

“CONGRATULATIONS! You’re currently featured on Instagram’s list for suggested users. Our suggested user list is a dynamic list that highlights some of the top community members. An account is usually featured for a few weeks before it is cycled out to give others the opportunity to be featured”.

In simple terms, they follow the said account for a period of 2 weeks and as a bonus, you get a sudden rush of traffic and followers on your account.

You might ask “Does this boost help?”. It actually does but only for those 2 weeks. After that 2 weeks of fame, you need to work really hard for people to stay and like your content. I went from 3k to 32k in 2 weeks but most of the accounts following me were either very new (and eventually became inactive) or spam and hence didn’t help with the engagement. It was a rocky road after that and the rest is history πŸ˜›

As I was consistent enough with my pictures and didn’t let the fame get into my head, I’ve finally grew a decent amount of audience.

3. How did you start working with brands?

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Luckily, I didn’t have to pursue anyone. I did my own thing and gradually started getting emails from brands that wanted to work with me. I initially did barter collaborations and gradually moved to doing paid collaborations after reaching a certain level. Working with brands is my other source of income which is decent enough and helps me in my travels.

4. How to become a GoPro Family Member?

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*POPULAR QUESTION ALERT*

I’ve been asked this a MILLION times since the start of my association with them in 2016. There is no process or a list that you can follow on how to become a GoPro Family Member/ Advocate/ Ambassador/ Athlete. The brand handpicks people themselves and does not look for recommendations or any sort of assistance. As far as I’ve noticed, they select different kinds of people to generate different kind of content. My advice would be: Just keep doing what you do best with sheer determination and everything will fall into place.

5. What are your educational qualifications?

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HAHA! Don’t ask! -_-

I took up Science after 10th Grade and did my graduation in Pharmacy (BPharm) from SNDT Women’s University, Juhu. I graduated in the year 2017, was ALMOST ready to take up a job in that field until I went to Spiti for a trek and that changed my perspective towards life completely. I came back from the trip and decided that I didn’t want to continue with Pharmacy. My mom was concerned yet supportive about the career switch but being a teacher, she believed that I needed an educational qualification for the same. As I didn’t want to take up a photography course, I took up something really different from what I’d studied in my growing up years which you’ll come to know in the next paragraph πŸ˜›

6. What do you do for a living?

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I’ve been working for a Mumbai based apparel brand called Chimpwear as a full-time Photographer and Social Media Executive for one year now. While doing my job, I also took up a Post Graduate Diploma Course in Advertising and Media from Mumbai University which is a part-time course. I would work Monday to Friday and study full-time on weekends and do my other freelance work on weekends too. Trust me, it has been one HELLUVA year!

I recently quit my job (the social media part of it) but will keep doing photography for them as a freelancer. This was my steady source of income and I’m glad that I took up this job (even if I showed that it didn’t) but the job has taught me a lot of things, the most important thing being PATIENCE.

7. How do you get to travel so much?

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I took 2 big vacations this year, each lasting 10-15 days by accumulating all my paid and casual leaves at work. These two trips were Rajasthan (Feb-March,2018) and Sar Pass in Himachal Pradesh (May 2018). Provided that I did all my work in time and in advance, I was allowed to take these trips by the company that I work for. The rest of the trips you see on my Instagram are all strategically planned (1-3 days) so that I don’t waste all my work holidays. I’ve also faced pay cuts during the financial months and lost a part of my hard earned salary for all the pending holidays but actually never felt bad about it πŸ˜›

Some of my travels are with brands or travel companies where either half or the whole trip is sponsored by them in exchange for Content creation, Photography services or Social Media Influencing. As easy and lavish as it may sound, it’s way too tedious and sometimes takes away the fun and charm of the place that you’re visiting because of deadlines and itineraries that don’t leave you enough time to even fit a good night’s sleep. But I feel honoured to be invited for them because as human beings, we always crave and chase good opportunities and I’m grateful for people who’ve trusted me with the job.

So these were some of the famous FAQs that I keep getting on a daily basis! πŸ˜‰

Drop me a DM on Instagram or leave a comment below ifΒ  you thought this article was helpful in some way and also if you’ve any other questions that you’d like to ask me!

 

Welcome to my world!

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The idea of starting this blog has been on my mind for a while (umm..1.5 years to be precise). I had almost given up on the thought of having a website/blog because

A) I am lazy.

B) I suck at writing, particularly in prepositions and framing sentences. (Framing pictures is way more easier!)

But then I’m finally here, so let’s keep these problems aside!

First of all, I’m very grateful to be here. To be on a platform where I can share things about my experiences which I fail to share on social media.Β This is for those who would like to know me better, the wishes and dreams I have, the bucket-list I want to fulfill and the experiences and places I want to be πŸ™‚

I would like to call it my personal diary as well, because, few years down the line, I want to come back to my old posts and see how my thought process worked as a 20-year-old-something!

Ending it on a rather short note, the constant dose of appreciation and support you have given me has made me cheerful on happy days, lifted my mood on dull ones and gave me the zeal to try out new stuff!

Till next time ❀

Best,

Trish πŸ™‚

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