Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.

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Pondi has two classified cultures: Stretches of narrow streets named after temples, heady with camphor and resounding with the peals of temple bells. And this quaint charm once inspired celebrated Tamil poets such as Subramania Bharathi and Bharathidasan. While on the other hand, the beautifully restored INTACH building and its permanent exhibition are a standing testament to the city’s efforts to conserve French heritage and architecture. Pondi makes us pause to wonder, to find the parts of ourselves. 

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
The rock Beach

Like the city, Pondi’s history can be broadly classified into pre-colonial and colonial periods. The Pallavas, who ruled from 325 to 900, started the pre-colonial period in Pondy. The Chola dynasty was the Pandya dynasty from 900 to 1279 and from 1279 to 1370. However, in the 14th century, the Naikship of Gingee of the Vijayanagara Empire ruled the city from 1370 to 1614. Finally, the city was conquered by the Sultan of Bijapur, who ruled from 1614 to 1638. 

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
The old Pondy

The Portuguese and Danish merchants used Pondy as a trading centre during these periods. In 1521 the colonial period began with the Portuguese. When the first Europeans conducted trade in textiles, and subsequently, the Dutch and the Danes in the 17th century. Ancient & exciting history. 

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
French side of Pondi

Today I started my day with another cafe since it was my last day in Pondy. 

Cafe de Flore

I opted for a small café at Pondy’s Alliance Francaise. Post confirming their best serving like mouthwatering pasta, fresh burgers made using fresh farm veggies and delicious Nutella crepes. 


The courtyard is charming, and the food was delicious as I ordered Pasta & Nutella crepes. Post my wholehearted breakfast, I headed to Alamparai Fort.

 Alamparai Fort

I took an auto ride from the cafe to the fort, a 41 min ride & approx 37km. It is a less explored fort built during the Mughal era in the 17th century at Kadappakkam. This fort is a confluence of history, with the imprints of the Mughals, French and British.

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
The walls of the fort

Once a thriving port and mint, commissioned by the Nawab of Carnatic—Dost Ali Khan on the Coromandel Coast, it is now home to seagulls, hermit crabs, barnacles and tiny turtles. I had to take a local boat to reach the fort, encircled by backwaters and sea. Upon arriving, I walked around the grounds, revealing crumbling edifices, intricate steps and watchtowers that nature has claimed. The fisherman warned me not to climb the steps as they were crumby. 

Ruins of  Alamparai Fort

The fortress is made of brick and limestone and once had a 100-metre-long dockyard stretching into the sea, from which zari cloth, salt, and ghee were exported. The fort was called Alamparva or Alampurvai. And there was a large copper minting unit from where they minted coins for their kingdoms. As per an ASI board along with the mint, a Shiva temple, pond and choultry (or inn) on the fort’s western side, for pilgrims who travelled along the East Coast Road from Kashi to Rameswaram.

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
Mint of the fort

The coastal Carnatic kingdoms were a dependency of Hyderabad in the 18th century. Prosperity shone on Alamparai as Hyderabad was under fell within the Mughal Empire. Until succession, disputes in the Carnatic and Hyderabad kingdoms allowed for European support. They opened the doors to French and British invaders.

Few Remains of the fort

Despite the ravages of time and a devastating tsunami in 2004, looking out onto the sea, I can envision the breathtaking vista that the fort’s inhabitants once enjoyed. Waves thrash against the brick walls, sending up a seafoam spray. Overhead, storks fly and perch themselves on centuries-old bastions. I suggest a must-visit place.

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
Coastal devastation of the fort

 After touring the fort, I rode towards Kasha Ki Aasha, an eatery that showcases typical Tamil culture. It was an hour’s ride; from Alamparai Fort, approx 49 km.

Kasha Ki Aasha

Though there are many bars and lounges in Pondicherry, this boutique and cafe are run by women—a very simple eatery that offers delicious South Indian delicacies. 

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
Kasha ki Aasha cafe

I had delicious lunch and purchased some accessories such as bags, jewellery and much more.

Product on display

After lunch, I headed to Chunnambar, a small village 18 km from the eatery. It was a 20min ride.

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
Boat House

Chunnambar Boat House. 

Upon reaching, I realised the Chunnambar boat house was an escape from the fast-paced city life. Located on the backwaters connecting Paradise Beach, the boathouse perfectly blends serenity and tranquillity.

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
Chunnambar boat house

I had an experience riding along the backwaters in the Chunnambar boathouse. It is located at the junction of the Bay of Bengal and the Chunnambar River. And the narrow winding strip of the hinterland is laden with green escapades, offering a breathtaking sight to all on board.

Entry to the Boat house

Moreover, adrenaline-pumping water sports, beach activities, and rental accommodations add to the Chunnambar boathouse’s beauty. I had a good time at the boathouse before heading to Paradise Beach or Plage Paradiso. 

Paradise Beach 

Famous for its unparalleled charm, mesmerising beauty, and jaw-dropping scenery, it offers a peaceful yet delightful experience to those looking to relax and rejuvenate in serenity.

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
Paradise Beach

It would be best if you had a boat ride from Chunnambar’s boat house to reach this beach. And the route is unparalleled, with thick mangrove trees, glistening backwaters, and excellent soft sands that enhance its overall beauty.

Serene Beach

I did nothing upon reaching the beach just laid under the shade of the sun, walked on the edge of its coastline, and drank coconut water. Apart from its picturesque beauty, the beach offers exciting water adventures to spice up every adventure buff’s journey.


It was late afternoon when I decided to return. I had the last place to visit as per my list & it was the French War Memorial- a gorgeous vista coupled with lush greenery and deep historical significance.

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
Seating Area

French War Memorial

Also known as as the ”Monument aux combattants des Indes françaises morts pour la patrie”, it was originally built in 1937 and inaugurated on 3rd April 1938 by the Governor of Crocicchia.  It is dedicated to the war heroes of World War I who sacrificed their lives to save the country. The memorial is a reminder of the freedom we enjoy today. Plush green escapades and some splendid gardens surround the monument. 

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.
War memorial

I was a bronze statue of bas-relief situated right behind the main monument that marks the arrival of Duplex in 1742. And on the 14th of July every year, the entire memorial comes alive with glittering lights to commemorate the martyrdom of the soldiers and a chance to celebrate their life.

Pondi: A Quaint Charm to do everything and nothing.

The sun was down, & it was time to relax. Hence I rode back to the Promenade to enjoy the life of Pondy for its many moods. With its snatches of live music, watch a colourful pageant unfold as locals and travellers meditate, gossip, or stroll along, gelatos in hand. Pondicherry gives us a perspective to hear our thoughts above the din and, sometimes, the sound of a voice within. Watching the sea and sipping my drink, I remembered Winnie the Pooh, who said, “There is no hurry; we shall get there someday.”

How to Reach 

By Air: 

Pondi does have an airport and can accommodate the landing of a small aircraft only. However, Chennai is the second nearest domestic, approximately 135 kilometres from Pondicherry. When you reach out, you can hire a cab to reach Pondi.

By Rail:

Villupuram is the nearest railhead to Pondi, about 35 kilometres away. This railway station is well-connected with New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, and Trivandrum. When you reach out, you can hire a cab to reach Pondicherry.

By Roads:

Pondi is connected via Chennai, Thanjavur, Trichy, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Madurai. Both private and state-owned buses frequently ply. Even one can self-drive from these cities to Pondi.



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