Wishing to spend time alone this summer? Dreaming of travelling on a tight budget? Then Pondicherry is perhaps the easiest solo travel to do. There are so many things to do in this town that is rich in heritage. Here are the options to make the most out of this little beach town.
Rent a scooter
There are dozens of shops that rent scooters or bikes at affordable price, starting from Rs 150 to Rs 200 per day. It is advisable to opt for a scooter rather than a cycle for the sweltering summer heat might toast you as you pedal across the town. Scooters are a lot quicker and convenient to dash through the streets and head to the exterior parts of Puducherry, like Auroville.
As a solo traveller, I found it really amazing to impulsively travel through the quaint town without having a clear destination in mind. Trust me, it works. Ride slow, keep your eyes peeled, observe the buildings and you are bound to find something interesting like an old home that deserves to be photographed or a cute little cafe that serves delicious drinks.
Breeze through the beach
Walking down the promenade beach front with music plugged to my ears (Ryan Gosling humming ‘City of Stars’ from La La Land), watching the waves slap the large hard rocks under the dull moonlight was a delight. Sounds cliched? I guess it does, but the point is being a solo traveller is to romanticise the act of exploring the world alone. The streets that connect to the promenade beach front is blocked after 5 pm.
Hundreds of tourists and locals throng the place to laze in the summer breeze. The place is perfect to enjoy a long walk and also to try lip-smacking coffee at shops by the main road. If you are someone who enjoys a quieter place, then visiting the Uppalam harbour beach is worth it. It is deserted and you can see boats idling over the dull green waves of the Thengaithittu estuary. It is better to avoid the place after sunset as the roads leading to this harbour are filled with tipplers.
Ask locals for tips
Sometimes, its important to take your eyes off Google and ask locals for suggestions. You may be skeptical in the beginning to ask a stranger but it is worth it, for the information they share is priceless. A native resident while walking by the beach shared me names of affordable restaurants:
‘Hotel Surguru and you can’t miss the Bike BBQ’. Hotel Surguru is a really wonderful vegetarian restaurant while Bike BBQ is a street food kiosk were sizzling chicken barbecue is served hot over a smoking grill that is fixed to a Royal Enfield bike! All thanks to the suggestion of a stranger, I enjoyed eating a meal at just under Rs 200.
Surfboards and golden globe
A trip to Pondicherry is incomplete without visiting, Auroville – a fantastic town that adopts spirituality, design, sustainability and creativity in a single fresco. The place is sure to buzz your head with creativity as residents here use ingenious ways to build products that deserve appreciation.
Head to the Auroville Youth Centre to look at rustic tree houses and learn how people live there. Go to Indi surfboards to watch young men build surfboards, or walk through the Auroville Transformational Centre for its simplistic and nature-induced architecture. And then of course, the visitors centre and Matrimandir – the golden globe of peace – is perhaps the best place to meditate.