Pondicherry: Auroville, Bamboo Cottages, Rock Beach & Old harbour

Auroville beach, pondicherry, open all the time, is famous for being calm, bamboo cottages and quiet  turtle walk along the beach during sunrise.

Pondicerry ECR Sunrise Auroville beachSunrise at Auroville Beach Pondicherry

After getting down at the main bus stand, we decided to take an auto-rickshaw to the beach. Although while coming from Chennai, one can directly get down at Auroville beach itself because the beach is the first point of the city of Pondicherry, that’s gets encountered.

Since it was Christmas and new year time, it was getting harder for us to get a cottage at reasonable price. After walking around and inquiring at almost every hut, we finally got settled for Rs. 200/ night at a cottage facing the beach. After putting in our bags, we decided to explore the area a little bit more.

Aquarium at the cottage Aquarium at the cottage

Soon, we were asked by the owner if we would like to avail his catering facilities. Most of the times, dishes offered at the cottages are fresh fishes and shrimps brought from the sea. I am a vegetarian and I had to decline his offer. It was a perfect afternoon and we decided to soak our selves in the bay of Bengal. Soon we were in our shorts and we were ready to enter inside the bay of Bengal.

Bay of Bengal

The sand of Auro beach is coarse sand and sometimes when you are pushed down by the waves, the sand becomes abrasive. However, we did not realize that due to the warmth of the fun at the beach. 

 As the evening approached, beach got more crowded. Auro beach, unlike other near by beaches, does not change its topography with the time and remains even so, it becomes easier to take dip in the sea and find yourself standing at an even ground. With the  afternoon approaching the waves start roaring and getting higher. However, still the sun was bright in the sky and sand was still warm.

Fun at auro beach

After having loads of fun, we decided to retreat to our cottages. Most of the cottages serve warm water on demand. After changing our clothes, we went out to see the city at the night.

The Bamboo cottages or huts:

After paying 200 per night for four persons for a bamboo cottage, it was time to settle in. The cottage was a bamboo cottage supported by four bamboo columns fixed in the ground. A bamboo stairway leads to the cottage. A cottage has the basic facility of light, a fan, a mosquito-net or mosquito-repellents along with light weight sheets and mattresses.

After having dinner, we again took a walk at the Auro beach. It was dark and nothing could be heard or seen except the roar of the sea-waves. Around 10 in the night, we returned to our cottages. The wind was high and waves were really making a lot of sound. Since, we were tired, it did not take us long to sleep under the cold breeze from the sea sipping in our cottage through the bamboo pores.

There were a lot of mosquitoes and  along with applying mosquito-repellent cream, we had to put on the repellent bars to save our selves from the mosquitoes. But as the night dropped in, there were lesser traces of mosquitoes.

Cottages at Auro beachBamboo cottages as seen from the Auro beach

Sunrise at next morning:

It was colder in the morning while winds were still high. We decided to, then and there, go to the beach to watch the sunrise. There were not so many people on the beach except the local fishermen and some visitors. It looked like we were too early but on the other hand, it also gave us a lot of time to walk along the lonely shore for length.

The shore was full of sea-shells washed away by the high tides of the night. In the night, the tides fall back while shells remain lying untouched at the beach.

Turtle walk during sunriseShells lying on the Auro beach before sunrise

 We also saw some fisherman settling down their fishing nets and venturing into the sea for fishing. It was also fun to watch our own steps getting left behind on the lonely Auro beach before the sunrise.

Fisherman getting ready in the morningFisherman at the Auroville beach

Sunrise:

Sunrise at Auro beach is fully captivating and breath-taking. One can not take his eyes of until the sun is seen coming out of the clouds. Along with the changing colors of the sun, everything around us changes its color, be it the waves, the water, the sand, the sky or the clouds. And its, mesmerizing to watch how the beam of sun-rays appear out of the sky and kiss the ocean.

sunrise at auro beachSunrise at Auro beach

How long I stayed watching the sun appearing out of the clouds, I do not remember. For some time, it’s totally a different world. It was not a surprise to see, more and more people gathering to watch the sunrise and we decided to move on to the lonelier part of the Auro beach.

Palms along the beachPalm trunks along the beach

After enjoying the sunrise at the beach, we decided to return to our cottage and see the city. After getting freshen up, we had our breakfast prepared by the owner and we left for the city. 

Morning breakfast under the cottage

fishing nets and boats at PondyAn abadoned fishing boat and net in the cottage complex

At Auro beach:
– Regular prices for cottages are around 250 per 24 hour stay and is further negotiable
– Watch the sunrise
– Do not venture much deeper along the beach in the night
– Take a turtle walk before the sunrise on bare foot
– Try local dishes made by the fisherman or the cottage owner
– Go to Auroville village, 4-5 Kms from, the beach

Rock beach/ Gandhi beach/Promenade beach in Pondicherry

Rock beach/ Gandhi beach/Promenade beach in Pondicherry has always been one of the most visited tourist spots of Pondicherry. The statues, cafes, rocks, waves striking against the rocks and a dockyard & harbor to the right always attracts the fascination of a tourist.

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Rock beach

Promenade beach or rock beach or Gandhi Beach:

Just three Kilometers east to the main bus stand lies the rock beach. This beach is called by multiple names like rock beach due to rocks along the beach, Gandhi beach because of statue of  Mahatma Gandhi and also as “Promenade beach”. Popularly this beach is also called Pondicherry beach because of being situated in the heart of the city and being most popular among the tourist. This beach is easily reachable from main bus stand by shared autos.

Rock beach at Pondicherry
Rock beach, Pondicherry

It’s a different experience to sit at the rocks and let the waves drench you with water when they hit against the rocks. The blue water turns whitish and water is sprayed across. If you stay for little longer and watch carefully, you can also see crabs popping outside from  under rocks. Rocks closer to the sea are mostly slippery because they are wet and full of algae however. rocks at the upper part remain dry under the sun.

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statue of Gandhi Jee at Gandhi Beach, Pondicherry
Statue of Gandhi Jee at Rock beach

Gandhi statue:

Gandhi statue is surrounded by eight granite rocks and the floor is made up of marbles. Its a sign of integrity here. There is a 24 hours open cafe near the Gandhi statue called “Le cafe”. People can enjoy the waves over a cup of coffee sitting in the shed, if its too sunny.

On Gandhi beach

Gandhi Beach has a wide pavements which is often used for walking, skating and cycling. Although the beach gets crowded in the evening but until afternoon if the sun is shiny and there are no clouds in the sky then, it might get hotter.

Another statue at Promenade beach, Pondicherry

Other statues:
Apart from Gandhi’s statues, there are other statues too, not only on the beach but across the city of Pondicherry and most of them either belong to the sailors or french nationalists or both.

Rock beach, Pondicherry
A deserted fruit shop in afternoon

To the Pondicherry harbor dockyard:

To beat the heat, we used cold coconut water while people also take beer because Pondicherry is a union territory and is exempted from certain tax so things are generally cheaper here. To our right was the harbor much deeper into the sea. We asked local people and could not get much information if it was legal to go or not.

on Pondicherry naval dockyard harbour

After a walk of 10 mins, we were at the port road, door of the port harbor and stopped by a guard. It appeared to us as though it was illegal however after paying some small amount, we were allowed to go to the port. The length of the harbor is more than 200 meters into the sea.

On Pondicherry harbour dock
On the dockyard

This harbor is not operation now and remains almost deserted. It was fun to see the waves hitting the pillars of the harbors and water splintering into smaller drops. Though it was little hot but standing just above the  sea and surrounded by the feet deep of water brought some coolness.

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A fish at Pondicherry Harbour dock
Fish lying on the dockyard

To our surprises, we could see the fishes swimming from the dock above, down into the sea. Sometimes, a strong wave would throw small fishes on the dockyard. I could not believe it initially but strong currents really do that.

From pondicherry harbour
Shot from the Dockyard of Pondicherry harbor

I could feel closer to the sea than to land. It was really awesome to watch the birds flying and praying for fish; fishermen going into the sea; watching small fishes swimming from above; waves striking against the pillars of the harbor and looking down at the abysmal depth of the sea. To the right of the Harbor, there is also a light house called “new light house” because old light house now houses some governmental office.

Fishermen from Pondicherry harbour

The most exhilarating thing to watch was the city of Pondicherry. The city looked little smaller and we could see most of its sea-shore lines. Most of the buildings along the Gandhi beach are white and are govt. office. The streets still have french names and it looks puzzling to walk in an Indian city having french name and Tamil language.

City of Pondicherry from Naval dockyard port

Walking on the pillars of the harbor:
After relishing the view of the whole city standing along the rock beach and having some photography time, our swinging mood asked for some more adventure. Call it to the naive blood gushing through our veins or the confidence built over the new swimming lessons that I had freshly taken. I decided to walk over the pillars of the harbor and just above the sea. I could not walk much deeper. The deeper I walk, the more fierce the wind was. Moreover, the pillars were very slippery and It was hard to maintain the balance or even stand against the winds and the waves hitting against the pillars. Though that was fun to be there but I would not recommend anyone to take that risk.

Walking under the Pondicherry harborOn the supporting pillars of the harbor

Important things to do on the Gandhi beach, Pondicherry:

– Rock beach/Gandhi beach is just 3 kms from Main bus stand and shared autos can be taken from the bus stand for the beach
– Le cafe at the beach is open for 24 hours and they offer some nice variety of coffee.
– Beside the beach, there are good shops selling antique things are worth taking a look
– Walking in the street named in french convention with french architecture is surely a nice thing to do.

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About trekkerp

Author of The Girl from the Woods and a Travel writer from India looking forward to collect quirky tales from around the world

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