Category Archives: PTO

Pondy Church Sight-Seeing

The next day dawned bright and sunny. By the time I woke up, the Arien had already finished his chakkar of the resort and the beach. I would have liked to do the same but was informed by the Arien that if we wanted to see some of the places before it got too warm, we had to leave now. Well, when the Arien is logical, he is 200% logical and so there is really no point arguing. I got ready as quickly as possible and we set out.

The first place we reached by following the exact same route that we took yesterday was the Railway station. As we continued driving, we came across a beautiful church which is known as the Sacred Heart of Jesus church. We walked inside. It had lovely stained glass panels and was a visual treat. We went in and sat for a while. It had a calming effect on us. This church reminded me of the St. Philomina’s church in Mysore. However,  this church is more colourful. You can read about the St. Philomina’s Church in Mysore, here.

We then visited another church, Church of our Lady of Immaculate Conception. It was a white church. Most of the buildings in Pondicherry are of a bright white shade. The church was closed for worship and it was quite warm. We stood outside for a while, took some snaps and then I escaped to a handicraft mela opposite to the church. I was hoping it would be cooler. Well, it was not. Anyway, I spent a good half an hour there before the Arien got bugged and so we decided to have lunch.

We were going to have lunch at a place called Satsanga. Now, the names of the streets in Pondicherry are in French and can be quite confusing. I mean, Satsanga was on Rue Labourdonnais. Pronouncing that name was a challenge. The Arien promptly asked me to ask for directions!! Most ppl I asked turned out to be tourists. The others had no clue ’bout what I was saying 😦

Finally, one person sent us in the right direction after informing us that the street name was pronounced as lebor-dannis! Satsanga was a shocker in terms of the decor even if it was more an outdoor cafe than a restuarant. Both of us were slightly disappointed. Considering that the restuarant was known for French and Italian cuisine – food is quite bland which was a turn off for the Arien. I also found it slightly bland. The service was shockingly slow. But, surprisingly for the first time during the day, we relaxed. We sat and observed the other guests. There were very few Indians. I always thought Indians were talkers but I was forced to change my opinion as I saw another guest chatting nineteen to a dozen. 

We decided to visit the Aurobindo Ashram post lunch. That will be part of the next post. 🙂

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Sight-seeing on Pondicherry Beach Road

The first place we visited was the beach. While I had been to Pondicherry umpteen times, I did not recall how we reached the beach at all and so I was no help at all to the Arien, who was equally clueless. Anyway, we got lost a couple of times but we reached the beach only to find that the beach road is usually off-limits for vehicles in the evening on some days. We finally found a place to park and walked back. The beach was crowded and we walked from one end to the Mahatma Gandhi statue on the other end. There were quite a few foreigners, either strolling on the beach with kids in tow, or running (exercising). The Arien waited till most of the folks were either too far away or were nearer the beach before he took this lovely shot of the beach road. It was quite warm and so Ice-cream break banta hai.

As we walked, eating the fast-melting ice-cream, and wiping the perspiration beads off our face, neck, etc. – we realized how much we love the Bangalore climate. In August, Pondicherry was quite warm, so warm that my ice-cream melted and fell down while I was eating it :O

As we continued our walk, we came across  the French War memorial, on the left.  I was very sure that the Aurobindo ashram was closeby. I could recall that part vividly. But, I was not sure which one of the gullies would lead us to the ashram and did not want to take chances. 

We also saw the Church of the Lady of our Angels. Some construction work was in progress. The Arien took multiple pictures of both. We reached the statue of Ghandiji and started walking back. A cool breeze was coming up and we were totally enjoying the walk. The Arien of course, was busy shooting pics.

It was almost the second time we were walking past the Le Cafe` and though I was not hungry, it looked quite inviting. I mean, I could easily see myself sitting there everyday. The Arien meanwhile wanted a shot of the Le Cafe` without ppl around. I thought that it was an imposs task but the optimist that the Arien is, we kept walking. 

It was quite late when he finally noticed that there was no one around Le Cafe` and took a picture just as the old man got out of the cafe and walked away. The Arien was not sure if he shd laugh or cry.  Soon, a lot of ppl were walking past the cafe and I cajoled the Arien to let it go. This was still Day 1 – we had at least 2 more days to go. He finally agreed and we moved on.

It was a lovely day and our holiday had just started. We drove back to the resort, after one wrong turn that made us go around the place once again! I was glad that it was only once. Well, if he had listened to me the first time, we would have reached the resort 😀 The Arien picked up some of the stuff he wanted and so was glad that we had lost our way!

The Beach Resort

By the time we reached the resort it was after 2 pm. I got out of the car into the blistering heat and walked into the chaos that was the Reception of the resort. Both the Arien and self were zapped. Someone walked up and asked us to be seated in the already crowded reception area. I wanted to be in our room asap. The Arien went to speak to the resort manager ’bout our booking. It was warm. I felt beads of perspiration running down my face. The month was August and it was very very warm. After 25 solid minutes of waiting, staring at other guests, offering awkward smiles at strangers, gawk at amazingly bad-behaved kids and their indifferent parents – we were finally escorted to our room. 

The room was a welcome sight and so was the fan and AC. I told the Arien that I did not want to step out at all 🙂 He wiped the perspiration from his face before replying that this was the relaxing holiday tht I shd get ready so we do not miss out on anything. Blaaaah 😦 I asked him to take the pics of the room – I knew tht it wud give me ample time to get ready 😀 And that was when I had my biggest shock.

The bathroom had a transparent door on the other side! I thot that maybe it was a glass door where you cud not see in from outside. I requested the Arien to go outside to verify the same.  The glass was transparent and he cud see me as clearly as I could see him!! I was ready to vacate immediately. Who in his right senses would build a bathroom like that?? I was tense and the Arien knew tht his holiday was likely to die a quick death and he called the manager. Apparently, this was something of an attraction at this resort!! I totally failed to understand it. While the Arien laughed – I was tense. He asked them for newspapers which we planned to cellotape to the glass door but it never arrived. The Arien kept on and on ’bout how the wall was so high that no one could really see in.  The Arien made two more calls and then gave up. There were simply toooo many ppl that they absolutely had no time to respond to our queries after informing us that that was the main attraction and acting as if we were slightly looony. Grrr…

I got ready. By the time I was ready, I felt as if a million folks had been watching me get ready. I’m a lil hyper that way 🙂 The Arien meanwhile was all set to visit the sights of Pondicherry and had packed his camera and a small towel in the travel backpack. The towel was thanks to the awfully warm weather. Who would have thought it would be so warm in August? Not us – I wud have def cancelled the trip if I had known Pondy wud b this hot 😦 

I wanted to visit the Aurobindo Ashram. The Arien wanted to check out the beach. There was so much to do and see tht there was really no time to crib ’bout the room or the bath room or the lack of room service. The holiday has officially begun. Yeah!!

A Sudden Trip to Pondicherry

I have not been to Pondicherry in almost 10 years and so when the Arien suggested a holiday there – I was def. interested. Because it was a sudden trip, we just had time to apply for leave the day before and we were off. The senior Arien was a lil peeved that we had not asked him – which was a first. Usually, he has some excuse whenever we ask him to join us. Anyway, we were at Sri Krishna Inn,  having our breakfast and so there was no way, we could return.

It was supposed to be a loong drive. It was to take us 8 hours to reach pondicherry but we found a lot of different routes online that informed us that it was barely a 5 hour journey. Now, thats always heartening to know before a trip. The route we took was:

Bangalore — Hosur — Thiruvannamalai — Dindivanam — Pondicherry. 

We got lost in Thiruvannamalai. We stopped at a nice restuarant, there, for juice which cost us 90 bucks each.  The Arien grumbled about the price but I happily ignored him because the restroom facilities at the hotel was great. We were there before 12 and so it was not even lunch hour. We were delayed because of the break and also because we got lost. Of course, the Arien insisted that we were late only because of the unnecessary juice. Grrr…

It was a lil past lunch time when we reached the Annamalai International Restuarant at Pondicherry. The Arien did not want to have lunch here but I insisted yet again. He is the more practical person amongst the two of us and what he says is always logical but on a holiday – I insist that we leave the practical side at home 🙂 The lunch was good – ambience great and the Arien relaxed. He was soon shooting pictures of the restuarant. It had a renaissance theme and a lot of these murals all over the place. As we were leaving, we enquired ’bout dinner and lunch options and we were happy with what they had to offer though I was sure that the Arien would not at all agree to having any meal here – after today. Grrr..

We also found out that the resort that the Arien had happily booked us into was not in Pondicherry at all. It was actually around 20 kms away from Pondicherry. This did not bode well at all and I was worried that the Arien was going to get all cranky soon but surprisingly he kept his cool. Anyway, we reached our resort around 2 pm and what a welcome we got!!

Return to Bengaluru

The drive from Ooty to Bengaluru is a very enjoyable drive. We usually take the shortcut via the 22 hair-pin bends and cross Masinagudi. The drive is a scary one but as usual the Arien did a fantastic job of driving. After Masinagudi, we reach Bandipur. We usually manage a few sightings – a langur, a peacock, a few elephants, etc.  whenever we drive past Bandipur. This time however, I did not have any great hopes. Usually, we spot the animals when its early morn or dusk. And we had left Ooty around 1:30 or so after our Ooty-Coonoor travel. The Arien, ever the optimist, insisted on taking out the camera and handing it to me jes in case.

It was around 5:40 when we saw some Langurs. We already had quite a few pics and I was hesitant to take yet another picture but then we spotted this Langur sitting by the side of the road and it was irresistable. The Arien slowed down so we could take a shot before the langur scampered away.

And just as we rounded the corner, we saw elephants. The Arien stopped the car so we could shoot a few good pics before they moved away. There was a calf present and the Arien informed me that the elephants would be very protective and walk away quickly and so we have to be quick. Before I cud say “uhh..”, the Arien took the camera from my hands and took three pictures of the elephant family. And before I cud complain, the elephants moved away.

The rest of the journey was uneventful. The Arien had totally enjoyed the holiday and so did not complain ’bout the loong drive home.