Weekly twice via Chennai
Although the easiest and preferred means is Bus for Puducherry there are trains from 22404/NDLS PDY EXP which starts from New Delhi in late night at 2350 hours and reaches Puducherry the third day at 1845. Chennai is a major stop about 4 hours before Puducherry and those already around Chennai can board the train from there. This train runs only on Sundays from Delhi (and hence on Mondays from Chennai). The major stops on the way are Mathura, Agra, Bhopal and Nagpur.
12898/BBS PDY EXPRESS coming from East India to be specific from Bhuvaneshwar reaches Chennai around 0900 hours and Puducherry at 1320 hours. It runs only on Tuesdays. The major stops on the way are Vishakapatnam (another famous tourist destination) and Vijaywada.
From West India there's 11005/PUDUCHERRY EXP which runs on Monday, Friday & Sunday from Dadar (Mumbai) at 2135 hours. Total journey time is about 34 hours (yeahhh that's hell lot). But then it has major stops on the way like Lonavla (small and lovely hill station), Pune (a rocking city), Londa Jn (get down here for to reach Goa in 4hours) and Bangalore.
Overall train connectivity is quite low but if the day of operation suits you it's the most convenient way to plan your journey. From Chennai, you can also get few local trains running daily between the two locations.
Just to finish station code for Pondicherry is PDY.
- Budget Travel
The main market in pondi has several shops offering Motorcycles and Scooties at a very nominal price. You can get an Activa in about INR 240-300 while a bike like Avenger in INR400-450. You can surely try to bargain as they make quote a higher price.
Do check the condition of the bikes. I faced issues with mine that came into notice later on. Being a mechanical engineer I could still work out a temporary solution and kept it running but not everyone would be able to do so.
Fuel charges are to be managed by self
Getting to Pondicherry
The airport closest to Pondicherry is Chennai. Chennai is well connected to all major Indian cities. Airlines serving Chennai include Jet Airways, Spice Jet, Indigo, etc.
From the airport you can take a prepaid taxi to Pondicherry for about Rs 2000. The trip will take almost 3 hours.
You can also take a train - http://www.indianrail.gov.in/ - or a bus from Chennai to Pondicherry. Buses leave several times a day from Koyambedu Bus Terminus. Buses and trains will also take about 3 hours once you reach the train station/bus terminal.
The Best Way to See Pondicherry
Pondicherry is such a beautiful place and the best way to see it is on foot. It can be extremely hot between 12 and 4 (when alot of the city is quiet) but you can still cover alot of ground by walking in the morning or late afternoon. Explore the French Quarter and take a break at a cafe. There is so much to see - the colorful houses, the small details you'd only see by walking, etc.
Make sure to visit the Tamil Quarter as well. Depending on where you're staying, you may want to take a rickshaw to the area and then walk around.
Rickshaws & Taxis
Since most places you'll visit within Pondicherry are under 5-6 kms, rickshaws are the best way to go. They are plentiful and cheap. Most rides run Rs 20-30, longer distances run Rs 60. Taxis are available for longer rides.
Taxis round-trip to Auroville run Rs350, rickshaws Rs 200.
Rent a Two Wheeler
Pondicherry is small enough to get around by bicycle. There are several rental places in town. Be sure to get a lock for your bicycle.
Also availalbe to rent are motorcylces and scooters.
Most places will require proof of passport and a driver's license for any rental.
East Coast Road
There is a toll booth just outside Chennai, and they collect about Rs. 50 for a round ticket to Pondy. After you have cross the toll booth, the experience is different.
If you drive in the night, you find that the road is dotted with reflectors on both the sides and in the middle, it looks superb. There many be many such places overseas, but, to have one world class road in India, is a great thing. People who have driven on this one, will surely agree.
- Road Trip
- Adventure Travel
East Coast Road
On the road to Pondy, we took the East Cast Road, popularly known as ECR, stretches along, obviously the East Coast, ie Bay of Bengal, and connects all villages, towns and cities on the East Coast. It runs from Chennai to Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of this country, and is 737 kms long. If you decide to drive all along, if would be a great road trip.
If you started driving from Chennai you would have covered 113 kms, if you reached Pondy. The Road connects Chennai to Pondicherry, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Tuticorn and soem other small towns along the coast.
Parts of the road are scenic, with a lovely view of the sea lined with coconut trees, casuarinas trees, fishermens villages, catamarans neatly arranged along, or just plain beach sand……and nothing else. No matter what’s on the shore, the drive is great. While you drive, you will see that the sea coast on the left, it is sometimes, just a few feet away, and at some places, it is about a kilometer away, but, with nothing else in between to hide the view, the view is breathtaking.
- Adventure Travel
- Road Trip
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