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Published: July 21st 2010
I didn't know that getting a train ticket would be so difficult!! My original plans were laid out to go to Hampi, but for this weekend and coming weekend there would be no available tickets, except for at least 20 people in the Wait List!
One suggestion I got from work colleagues was to visit Pondicherry, a beach town in Tamil Nadu State. It's famous spot for those interested in yoga and meditation, and couple Ashram are of International referrence.
Well, it seemed interesting to see the beach and combine it with a train trip. Well, a 10hours train trip!!! It left Bangalore at 11:45pm and by 9:50am I was at Pondicherry. It was a bit tricky to find the right booth to buy the ticket (I stood in 3 different lines, only to find that the 4th was the right one). I gotta tell you that untill I got my ticket in hands, I was feeling a bit unsecure about this trip. A lot was said about how dangerous it can be due to theft and other schemes. In addition to that, taking an autorickshaw (tuc-tuc) late night by myself off to a distant station seemed a bit
I made my mind that being alert is only common sense, and that I couldn't settle for staying at the hotel the whole weekend. I grabbed by backpack, water bottles and pashmina and stepped out the hotel. When I got off the train at Pondicherry Station, it all paid off. Also, the trip had beautiful surprises: gorgeous scenery with palm trees and rice crops.
On the way, I met three other travellers who were returning home from a wedding function in Bangalore. They seemed worried or sorry for me since I had no company. I told them I was fine with it, but they made sure to keep me some company when awake and even accomodate me in my bench. 😊
Pondi is a cute hot little town. I made sure I knew where the bus terminal was. Found me a hotel so I could leave my bags and off I went to see the town. I first headed to the Mahatma Gandhi statue on the Promenade. Gorgeous beach, but no access to the water - rocks all along the coast (as far as I could see).
Then I headed to the Bharati Park which
is right accross the Governor's home, which is efficiently guarded. The park is very pleasant for a stroll in the afternoon. After some pictures, I was leaving to the Sir Aurobindo Ashram - a yoga and meditation center. It is the most famous there.
Pondi is also famous for the mache paper art, so here and there I stopped for little shopping. Soon I got to Manakula Vinayagar Temple, dedicated to Ganesha. An elephant guarding the main entrance will take coins from your hand if you offer.
Along the streets, I tried to be very attentive to the "Rangoli", as locally called. Kolam or rangoli, this sidewark art is a tradition in south India. Women will wash their home's sidewalk and draw beautiful drawings with some kind of rice powder/flower.
I had a very pleasant day in Pondi and went to bed early so I could attempt to see some of Chennai, on the way back home. I got the government bus to Chennai (4 hours trip), leaving Pondi at 4am!! When I got to Chennai I saw plenty of rain and traffic, and decided to head back to Bangalore. That proved to be wise decision since
I learned later that only morning (8am) and evening buses (most fully booked) are available. I made it back to the hotel around 4pm. Phew, what a marathon!
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