Pondicherry: Promenade beach/ rock/Gandhi beach & old harbor

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.

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.

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.

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:
– 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.

Near by places in Pondicherry:

Click here for Chunnambar backwaters, Paradise island beach, boating & beach resort


Also Read:  Mussoorie nightout- A fantastico pancake story

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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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