Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas Calling>> Bienvenue à Pondy


A big hello to all smart momz out there. This could be my last post for the year 2013. I'll be soon penning my post on my new year celebration with my little angel and caring hubby. 

I know you all must have had fun during Christmas celebrations and must be super-duper busy with New Year plans.

 What we all actually do in Bangalore is either party hard or head towards Pondy or Goa (Nearest holiday spot for Bangloreans).  So this time we picked Pondy, the most awaited trip for us, since we got married i.e 12 Dec 2009.
@Pondy beach

Whenever we planned to visit Pondy either we were struck by some natural calamities endangering the coastal regions like Cyclone laila or so or just then we wanted to head towards Goa. 

So finally things were all set this time, no climate thingy playing spoils sport neither we were inclined to visit Goa this time. Pondicherry, fondly known as Pondy and has been officially known by alternative name Puducherry since 2006. 

We started our road trip quite early, at 6:15 am we were all geared up for a long drive towards the most french influenced place in the country. 

Thanks to navigation application, it's like blessing specially for a person like me who often get confused on road trip and keeps on asking for route to every person passing now and then. 

Luckily Erishka was sleeping, almost throughout the route and so it was convenient for my hubby to concentrate on driving and knowing roads. Yes we did tread on wrong way once, but with God;s grace we got back to right path soon. 

Erishka funtime and nasa naps during road trip


The best part of the trip was the accommodation, we were checking out many hotels but didn't get confirmed booking from anywhere. We were actually disappointed thinking that we might need to cancel our plans to visit Pondy this time too. I was also suffering from bad shouldr + neck sprain and Erishka was too behaving cranky as she was teething. All things working towards not to visit Pondy, this time too :-( But still with right set of mind and positive attitude we kept our plan on, and started our road trip.  
@Promenade Beach walk 
I couldn't have asked for something better, guess what ? Finally Akshaye got a call from 'The Retreat' - official  hotel stay of Aurobindo Aashram. As name suggest it's an awesome retreat to rejuvenate oneself. It has B&B with delicious south indian breakfast and a helpful staff!  The ocean is right opposite the hotel. You wake up to the sound waves of ocean. What more you can ask for?  


The location is just perfect , right on the promenade and walking distance from the Aurobindo Aashram and other tourist attraction. the best part is it's dual entry, one leads to beach and the backside towards the Aurobindo Aashram. Erishka enjoyed reading introductory books on 'The Mother' and 'Aurobindo' given complimentary by the Retreat.  While walking on Promenade beach one can actully enjoy the glances of Old Custom House, Old Light House, some church here and there. There are bunch of roadside hawkers selling yummy channa chats, sweet corn boiled and roasted, candy floss, ice-creames and the list is endless.




Erishka's first Christmas (2012) was very much in Bangalore, where she continuously starred at Chrismas Tree ornaments and other decorations around the city. This year 2013 she enjoyed beach play swings at pondy, visited Sacred Heart church, observed Jesus Christ Crib and other decorations on the streets of Pondy.
Erishka having funtime at beach & playing with sea shells

We also explored various roadside pottery shops, handicraft boutiques, incense shop, confectioneries items at bakers' street. We met wonderful people too, an aged Gujarati uncle who helped us to know more about the food at Aashram (helpful for Erishka, as they serve Khichidi and fresh whole milk), a lady at Nava Vihaan who played puzzles with Erishka till i finished my shopping, a lady at Aashram Dinning hall who was from Orissa but wanted to talk to me as she heard me speaking hindi, Tea stall owner who served awesome tea and fresh milk for Erishka (You won't believe, he also wash cleaned it with hot water and sterelise it too).
A humble chaiwalla - sos when Erishka was cranky
While driving towards pondy from Gingee Fort, we paused for a while to ask the route or rather re-confirm the Navigators direction, and then Erishka waved hand and smile to the Bananna seller, he gave her two Banana (Though we refrained taking it from staranger, but he insisted so I had to respect this gesture). Love the place, people and beach @ Pondy.

Erishka had big time fun, while on car she loved counting bus, snoring, eating and at promenade beach she loved walking all alone. Roads are just awesome, with an high plinth built ans traffic restrictions. To explore the city at it's best , one need to take a stroll here and there, so it's a good idea to carry a stroller so that it becomes easy to explore the place. 




We bought Erishka's first Pinwheel at promenade beach, awesome cotton cloths for her, Cardboard books on Ballad of Joe's (From inland Library) and Shapes Circular Puzzles from Nava Vihaan - Paper craft and utility shop of Aashram. Erishka truely enjoyed at Beach too, she played with splashy waves, sand dunes and collected few sea shells too. It was really hard to take her off the beach, she was reluctant to come out.


A quick view to Amethyst
Apart from strong French influence who will also find art, culture and people from Tibet (Buddhists), Orissa, Bengal and Gujarat too. We explored few handicrafts shops by Tibetans, Oriya and Kashmiris too. If you love to do some chick shopping then 'Pondy' is your destination. We also walked doing all window shopping at ever corwded Mission Street (Looks like Brigade , Mg road of Bangalore) and glanced over the funky boutique Casablanca, also notice Anglo-Indian French Textile Business unit, Ali baba - antics, pottery, jewelry and exquisite linens. 

After my much awaited my FabIndia haul, I'll now brag upon retail therapy with Kalki, filled with candles and incense and my personal favourite Handbag Brand - Hidesign . La Maison Rose is a stately pastel pink villa with a sun filled salon that houses fashion and interiors boutiques. 


A quick view to Amethyst
I was in total love with the Pondy when I stepped into Amethyst. I highly recommend this as it has chic / kids accessories , jewelry and clothes (Women and kids both) and also a french influence countyside cafe. Akshaye had a glass of beer and Erishka was enjoying her milk, while I was busy admiring the interiors and art at Amethyst. 
Erishka and dad are enjoying their drink

We also re-visted Indian History at The Pondycherry Museum, which is displayed in a centuries old building. It has amazing collection of fossils of earthen utensils, some barrels dated from harrapan civilization and also an amusing collection of ancient coins from Rome, France, Germany, India, China and so. It also shards of old Roman pottery and burial pots and urns. 
A closer view to Amethyst
One can actually feel some what french for a day with the amazing collection of french art in form of paintings, huge mirrors, porcelain and rare furniture from 18th century. Star attraction to the museum is an age old classic rare furniture from the 18th century, belonging to royals, governors and generals and also a very attractive ornamented bed that belonged to Governor Dupleix.

View from our hotel room @ Promenade Beach 
Pondy is full of free spirit, art, culture, excellent hospitality and awesome beach, with no flies or a sting of stink ( what we generally experience in India beach). I got good amount of my meditation, healthy south Indian breakfast and local meals too. I use to go for mediation daily as my hubby use to take care of little one. It's a real divine experience to meditate in the Aurobindo Ashram. I also tried one time meal at Aashram, I did not like it much as it was way too bland for me sans sugar and salt. I did not waste though and finished it nicely. I was amused with the utensils they use to serve and huge serving in huge bowls and glass, I wonder how did I manage to finish. We use to also refill Erishka's bottle with Whole milk available at Aashram Dinning hall. 
Erishka and me on a swing @pondy beach
I found people very friendly, passing smile and helping each other, compassionate  and humble in nature.  I highly recommend to all smart momz who loves to travel with kids, as this place is excellent in hospitality, safe enough for kids to play carefree and very helping people around to guide you if you are stuck. It's an excellent children friendly destination for mom like me who loves to travel along with kid. 




I am in simply love with this place, one of my blog reader Soumya is already set for a trip to Pondy for New Year. I wish she too loves the place, enjoy her stay and explore with her little rockstar too. 




One of my blog reader and meet up member (Hima) is also in love with the same city, we both are thinking to buy a cottage for our life time staycation. It's an absolute destination to let your hair loose , relax, and feel the nature. 




We smart momz in Bangalore also dream planning to do scuba diving soon ;-) all rough plans but lets see how much we can execute. It's not crime to dream anyways, isn't? 
A view from boat ride towards pondy beach
I'll be waiting for all comments and feedback from you all.. Watch this place for more travel diaries, my wishlist and resolutions for 2014
So all smart momz, get out, get going let your child feel the breeze...

-XOXO
Nidhi @Moms' Space


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