A destination like no other, Pondicherry is fascinating. Owing to its popularity as a laid back destination, also a great hit with expats and backpackers, this town boasts of a number of things to do. Dabble in surfing, take cooking classes, sweat away stress in a yoga session, go diving amid corals and more?there is plenty to keep your hands busy in this beautiful, once French, settlement. Add to this list, volunteering at one of the many NGOs in town or Auroville and you are in for an experience of a lifetime.
SHOPPING FOR SOUVENIRS
Pondicherry is the place for artsy souvenirs and other such stuff. You will fall for handmade lampshades, trinkets, paintings, candles, Indian wear among other items that are sold in the many stores here. Most of these are made with expert precision in the self-sustainable, experimental town of Auroville. A huge hit with backpackers, markets in Pondicherry offer an interesting line up of a number of stores selling such souvenirs. Get ready to pack your bag with a lot of memories from the lanes here.
POLISH YOUR CULINARY SKILLS
Wish to dabble in a culinary experience of a different kind in Pondicherry? If yes then this is for you. This town is home to Sita Cultural Centre, hailed as one of the best places in India, for anyone eager to learn South Indian or French cuisine. Their short haul two-three-day cooking courses aimed at foodies is a key highlight of the city. You can choose one or more courses to learn the art of traditional Tamil menu (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian), an exclusive Kerala menu and basics of French cuisine, including some amazing desserts. Be prepared to have folks at home pleasantly surprised with your new found culinary prowess.
Learn the ancient practice of yoga at some of India’s best yoga schools in Pondicherry. Choose from vinyasa, hatha yoga, Iyenagar, Bikram, ashtanga or therapeutic form of yoga, Pondicherry has expert teachers for it all. You can also go for day long yoga and meditation retreats for a more spiritual experience. Some of the best names for these classes and retreats are Yogaalayam and Yoganjali Natyalayam. While Yogaalayam is run by Mr RK Gopinath, a yoga practitioner from decades, Yoganjali Natyalayam is a 160 years old institution. Both the places offer beginners as well as advanced courses. You can also go for a teacher’s training course at any of the places. Experience bliss sweeping over as you practice yoga at one of the solitary beaches, waves for a background score.
If travelling for a cause is on your mind, Pondicherry has a lot to offer. Pondicherry’s neighbour Auroville wears the tag of India’s first experiential town, a major centre for volunteers interested in healthcare, education, women empowerment, child development, gender equality, organic farming and more. Other than Auroville, Pondicherry itself has a number of NGOs that take volunteers. The town sees a huge number of travellers from outside India owing to these volunteering activities, making it a perfect opportunity for some cultural exchange as well.
SURFING ON SERENITY BEACH
Riding waves is probably the coolest thing to do in Pondicherry. Visiting Kallialay Surf School? run by two brothers fromSpain? should be on the top of your to-do list if adventure is on your mind. The school has won accolades from various tourism boards and is a huge hit with travellers as well. Classes start from around INR 1000 per person and range from beginners to expert level. Lessons on surfing take place in the inviting blue waters of Serenity Beach that lies at a distance of some 10 km from the city centre. While group lessons are more fun, private classes are also available on request. If you have landed in Pondicherry and wish to experience surfing from your wishlist, this is the place to be at.
Source: Happy Trips