A good place to discover how Pondy became such a fantastic collaboration between conservation and tourism is Intach Pondicherry. Pondy doesn’t have a collection of landmark heritage structures but is rather an ensemble of domestic architecture — I discover such and other things at their office, itself a pleasing example of restoration, which also doubles up as a permanent exhibition space for the heritage movement here.
Pick up their excellent map and sign up for their Heritage Trail (Rs 2,500 for small group; individual requests are combined; 62, Rue Aurobindo; 2225991/2227324;
Pondy ART (pondyart.org) uses public spaces around Pondy to mount magnificent thematic photo exhibitions. Do look out for their line up of shows in November and December.
If you are in Auroville on a Saturday (alternate weeks but best to check locally), browse by the sunny Farmers’ Market near the Youth Centre for organic and homemade jams, pickles, chocolates, cakes, breads, preserves and all manners of fresh produce.
We keep hearing Temple Adventures (templeadventures.com) is great for scuba diving off the coast of Pondy but Cyclone Hudhud kept the seas rough this far down the coast so diving wasn’t possible when we were there. Never mind. There’s always a next time with Pondy!
Zoom Pondy (www.zoompondy.com) is the latest addition toward making Pondy more tourist-friendly (as if it wasn’t already). This lively and resourceful portal is useful to anybody who’s interested in what’s happening around town, with colourful and inviting posts right up on the home page and a handy ‘trending’ section. There are classes, workshops, tours and screenings posted daily, with how-to details a click away. The day I logged in, I could pick from zumba lessons, a crash course in Spanish, ‘hormonal yoga’ classes, a talk on sustainable habitats, and a beach run.