India has a some such routes that could make your journey a memorable. One such beautiful road is the East Coast Road (ECR) from Chennai to Pondicherry. The total distance is about 170 kilometres. Chennai to Pondicherry by road takes about 3 hours 30 minutes. This best road trip along the coast of Bay of Bengal offers stunning views and sightseeing options to keep you engaged and enthralled throughout the road journey. This road, also known as the State Highway 49, covers some wonderful places from the capital city of Chennai to Thoothukudi and the government has plan to extension up-to Kanyakumari. For one to travel to Pondicherry from Chennai, there are many ways. But the road trip is the best option for the scenic East Coast Road.
Pondicherry – Give Time A Break
If peace and a break is the most sough after, then Pondicherry is surely one of the choicest holiday destinations in South India. The town offers a unique experience with its mix of modern heritage and spiritual culture. With a predominantly historical background, Pondicherry takes one centuries back in time.
Total Distance: 170 kms
Total Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (Non stop)
ECR and the route to Pondy is among the best drives one can get off Chennai. For the uninitiated – ECR or EAST COAST Road is a very well laid, well lit, well marked Toll road (Rs 47 for pondy return )from Chennai to Pondy and saves at least half hour on the other often used route via Tindivanam. The ECR is a simple single lane road but with very less heavy vehicle traffic. Only a few state transport buses take this route. Almost no trucks take this route probably because of the higher toll as well as the highly curvaceous. In fact this route is fairly curvaceous to the point of being risky at many points for the over enthusiastic car drivers also.
Nice view of the beach and the Bay of Bengal all along on your left side when your headed towards Pondy. Some where into 50-60kms. from Chennai there is a huge salt making set up on your right side where you can see huge mounts of pure white raw salt piled up contrasting with the dark chocolate brown mud surrounding it.
On the way attraction places –
In the village Injambakkam, 9 km from Chennai, India, it has over 20 resident painters and sculptors, who live as a community and pool their skills. They run the Artists Handicrafts Association, a cooperative which manages the village and sale of works through the permanent exhibition at the complex, which includes paintings, sketches, terra-cotta/stone/metal sculptures, batiks and handicrafts etc., making the village a self-supporting entity.
It was named after the Chola dynasty, which is known to have encouraged arts and ruled the region, 9-13th century AD — called Cholamandalam in Tamil, which literally translated as the realm of the Cholas. Chola also lends its name to the Coromandel Coast of Bay of Bengal, which is a short walk from the village.
DakshinaChitra (“a picture of the south”) is a living-history museum in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, dedicated to South Indian heritage and culture. It is located 25 kilometers to the south of Chennai. Developed as a heritage village, DakshinaChitra has an array of displays depicting the life pattern of Indians in the states of South India. The exhibits portray the living beliefs of art, folk performing-arts, craft and architecture of India, in particular of South Indian traditions. Classical dances such as Bharatnatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kuchipudi, and music concerts are regular events held in the large amphitheater. Each year, 15,000 school children visit the museum.
Numerous amusement parks, five stars, back-water boating, water-sports spots, That’s supposedly one of the major highlights of ECR. Apart from all Olive Island as the name suggests is back-water spot on the left of the road around 30KM on the way to pondicherry. The entry had a gate, and it sounded as a Big Community coming up and probably some resorts and factories offshore as well. The green olive water is a beautiful site and so is the overlooking sea from here towards the ride. A very nice chill out spot preferably in a good weather.
Not very far ahead, you would see the first long back-water bridge and just at the start of the bridge on your right is Muttukadu Boat house. Endless back waters and some sky-high buildings on the right side which I notice and go red with jealousy, how lucky they are to get such a nice view everyday. The boat house is a TTDC initiative and is quite a popular picnic spot to try all sort of water sports like jet-ski, pedal boating, rowing and canoeing, etc.
Kovalam (Covelong) is a fishing village, 40 kilometres south of Chennai, on the East Coast Road en route to Mahabalipuram. The Dutch built a fort in Covelong during the colonial times, which today has been made the Taj Fisherman’s Cove, a private luxury beach resort. An ancient Catholic church on the beach is another attraction. There is also a Dharga & temple nearby the beach.
Along with the beach, the village of Covelong, famous for its fishing activities draws many tourists, India’s first surfing village here one can surf and stand up paddle in the right hand breaks also one can learn to surf in surf schools in this village like Bay of Life.
What you need: A group of fun loving and on-time people, water and glucose
How? Talk to fishermen for shallow sea dive
Gears: Provided by the fishermen like life-jacket
Do not: Do not eat heavily before sea-dive to avoid dizziness
The Crocodile Bank is situated approximately 45km south of Chennai and 15km north of the tourist town of Mamallapuram. It extends over an area of about 3.2 hectares, comprising a wide range of Indian and African crocodiles, alligators and other reptiles including turtles and snakes. Here, the crocodiles are kept in their natural habitat. Presently, it has 14 varieties of crocodiles, 12 species of turtles and 5 types of snakes, with total number of 2,400 reptiles in the Crocodile Bank. Nestled in a patch of indigenous forest and fronting the Bay of Bengal, East Coast Road.
Tiger Cave’s is located near the entrance of Mahabalipuram and is a historical place near the sea shore. The cave is decorated with different posture of Tiger’s face engraved on the stone structure. The cave derives its name from it. Best place for take short break and to photo snaps for an hour.
Mahabalipuram lies on the Coromandel Coast which faces the Bay of Bengal. This is an elegant place to watch which a well established sea port was during the 7th and 10th centuries of the Pallava dynasty. This was the second capital of the Pallavas who ruled Kanchipuram, World Heritage–listed temples and carvings inflames the imagination, especially at sunset. You can take a bicycle tour to explore the place.
And then, in addition to ancient archaeological wonders and coastal beauty, there’s the traveller ghetto of Othavadai and Othavadai Cross Sts. Restaurants serve pasta, pizza and pancakes, shops sell hand sanitiser and things from Tibet, and you know you have landed, once again, in the great Kingdom of Backpackistan.
There are some of the them which are already submerged in water, due to high underwater currents and coastal erosions. The 6 structures to visit including the Shiva temple, are the light house, Lord Vishnu temple, Arjuna’s penance, Varaha caves, punch rathas and the descent of the ganges. few other archtechture of interests are koneri caves, krishna’s butter ball, ramanuja and kodikkal mandapam, adivaraha temple, tirumathi cave and a replica of arjuna’s penance.
Alamparai Fort once had a 100-metre long dockyard stretching into the sea, from which zari cloth, salt, and ghee were exported. In around 1760, the British destroyed a major portion of the fort and more recently the structure was damaged in the 2004 Tsunami. Now it looks like a small fishing hamlet with scenic backwaters. You could give 100 bucks to the local fishermen and he takes you for a ride along the backwaters. This will be a much better experience than the Mutukadu Boating.
After driving around 160 km on ECRoad you will be reached Pondicherry. This place has a host of charming old churches, temples and mosques, renovated or rebuilt. The openness of the place drew people from all over to explore different forms of spiritual thought as elicited by the centres of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The Vadapureswarar Temple on Iswara Koil Street, Varadaraja Perumal Temple nearby and the Panchavatee Panchamukha Anjaneyar Temple are other pilgrim sites.
This territory was under the French rule for nearly 281 years. Still it has the French flavor in it as one can see by the grand colonial mansions, beautiful boulevards, and placid promenades, spellings on sign boards and buildings, names of roads and public places.
Pondicherry is a walker’s delight with well-organized streets and quaint signboards displaying street names in French and Tamil, and quite often their renamed Indian version. The cobblestoned paths of the French Quarter with its charming yellow and white buildings are towards the beachfront while a canal separates in from the Tamil Quarter, which lies inland. More congested with closely stacked homes displaying rich vernacular architecture, the Tamil Quarter is further demarcated into a Hindu Quarter in the north, the Christian Quarter in the centre (Around the Immaculate Conception Cathedral) and the Muslim Quarter to the south.
Pondicherry, now called Puducherry is located in the Coramandel coast of India. Pondicherry is a combination of cultures, the people here speak about 55 languages. The natural beauty mesmerizes and influences the visitors. People who love to go for shopping can select Pondicherry as goods in this town can be bought for cheaper prices and the shoppers can bargain and pay the minimal charges for goods to their satisfaction. The golden sea shores, the exclusive sunset cruises, the enchanting moonlit dinners and the blissful lagoons have given the lovely resort a reputation of being the most appropriate place for those in quest of a relaxed and leisurely holiday. Bicycle is the best mode of transport for moving around and visiting the beauty of Pondicherry.
Auroville -The City of Dawn is about 10km north of Pondicherry, accessible from ECR via Kuilapalayam or Bommayarpalayam(Old Auroville Road). Aurovillians insist their campus is not a tourist attraction but a living experiment in humanity. Home to 2,200 residents from 45 nationalities living in small clusters over a 20sqkm area, Auroville is a utopian concept. It can be approached from all sides as there are no compound walls to segregate it from the neighboring villages. Nearly 125 commercial units operate in the commune and contribute a third of their revenue to maintain the self-sustaining campus.
So, best thing you should do in Pondicherry –
Leave your baggage of unfinished program codes, unmet sales targets, unsuccessful speed dates and be one among the many on the Pondicherry streets. The people are really friendly, helping us with directions etc.
Puducherry has the most stunning beaches in India –
The Paradise, Promenade, Serenity and Auroville are the 4 main beaches in the city. You can enjoy a long walk, some ice cream to kill the heat at these beaches.There is also scuba diving in this city. The beaches will show you the most picturesque sunset and sunrise. One can also visit the beach road. It is basically the prime landmark of the city, where at all times you can see the carnival. After 6:30 pm, no motored vehicle is allowed to enter. Locals and tourists sit around the rocky beach and enjoy the quietness without all the honking. There are street artists, hawkers and many more making it lively here.
The town was dotted conspicuously with liquor shops–one of the top reasons why people flock into Pondicherry.
The food in Pondicherry is outlined with a dominant influence of the French cuisine, especially in its elements and styles. A lot of restaurants serve authentic French food – definitely the best place in India for French cuisine. Some of the popular items here are Baguettes, Croissants, Italian Baked Beans, Stuffed Cabbage and many more.