Bangalore to Pondicherry

If you have been to Goa, like Goa, then you’ll probably love Pondicherry. Its almost Goa part 2.  So here are some travel anecdotes for people planning to go to Pondicherry from Bangalore.

The route:

303 kilometers give or take 10 from where you begin and to where you end.

Bangalore-Krishnagiri : NH7/AH43  – 85.8Kms – about 1 hour 20mins. depending on traffic conditions.

Beautiful road, 4 lane expressway, ample stops for food and refreshment, although washroom facilities are limited to big restaurants.Before you reach Krishnagiri watch out for a flyover.You need to go beside it, and take left on to NH66. The only noticeable change you will find is the weather getting warmer when compared to air-conditioned Bangalore.

Krishnagiri -Thiruvanamalai : NH66 – 112Kms – about 3 hours 10 mins.

Now this is the tricky part. The road condition in this stretch is under construction.Perhaps, the worst NH in the country at the moment.There are no good decent restaurants,no place to go to the loo,(even more difficult for women), no decent place to stop and eat.When I say decent,It should not be interpretted as unsafe or obscene. There are small shops where you will find nice and helpful locals.But small shops are not very high on hygiene.So if that does bother you – then its going to be rather difficult. Most National Highways in India are comparable to the best in the world, good clear directions,refuelling options,good clean restaurants,and pot hole free long stretches of road,and good connectivity on mobile.

This is clearly not the case in this stretch.So if you are driving a low ground clearance car like a Honda City,Verna etc. then be prepared to graze the surface on multiple occasions.Some speed breakers are non-standard and even high ground clearance vehicles will have a problem.Only big strong SUV’s like Fortuner or Safari etc. will ride through them with a certain amount of ease. Also note,there are no repair shops – so should your vehicle breakdown or have a flat tire – you are in serious trouble. So, best advise is to travel only in the day-time – avoid driving through this stretch at night.

The center point at Chengam , a small town, is quite congested, and you may have to navigate cautiously to avoid stepping on a human or an animal walking by the roadside! Watch out for a beautiful temple on your right. As you get closer to Thiruvanamalai, you hope your ordeal is over,but that is not the case.

Thiruvanamalai –TindivanamNH66 – 68.1Kms – about 1 hour 40mins.

Still on NH66, the ordeal continues. The stretch becomes worse in certain patches before the town Gingee. All that I mentioned above,is applicable in this stretch as well.So nothing new to add.You’ve got to hang in there till you hit the town of Tindivanum.

Tindivanam – Pondicherry Railway Station : NH 66 – 42.6Kms  – about 50mins.

The moment you navigate out of this small congested town,and there are many turns you need to be mindful,and hit the final stretch, you go AHA ! You finally see a wonderful stretch of road right until Pondi ! You are tempted to hit the accelerator full throttle. While it is a beautiful road, be careful of the stray herd crossing the road or a random joker crossing a six lane expressway nonchalantly. This is truly how the road should ‘ve been for the last 222 kilometers! Finally you thank your lucky stars, if your car has not broken down or you didn’t need to use any washroom on the way or eat any food.

The total distance travelled is 308Kms with an approximate travel time of 6 hour 40 mins add a few mins for stoppages.

So, if you ask me – I would suggest the following route instead.

Bangalore to Krishnagiri  : NH7/AH43  – 85.8Kms about 1 hour 20mins. depending on traffic conditions.

same as above.

Krishnagiri – Vellore : AH 45/NH46 , 123Kms – about 2 hours.

Beautiful road, some diversions, but blissful travel. At Vellore you can stop by for a brief refreshment.We liked a place called Noon’s and Nights. on Arni Road – good food, reasonably priced,clean and an ok washroom.

Vellore – Tindivanam : AH45 / SH5 , 119Kms , 2 hours 30 mins.

The road till Arni on SH5 is fairly good with some small patches not so good – but certainly no where as close to what NH 66 has to offer.You will travel through some small towns and villages but still the road does not detirorate.There are a few local restaurants,would advise you to stick to vegetarian food as that is their speciality.In fact avoid ordering any non-standard food once you are not in a major town or city.

Tindivanam – Pondicherry Railway Station : NH 66 – 42.6Kms  – about 50mins.

Same as above.

So the total distance travelled in this route adds up to 370.4Kms – around 7.3 hours with one or two stops.

So hope this detailed review helps give a perspective on your travel to Pondicherry.

Hotel Stay in Pondicherry

There are multiple choices of hotels/home stays/villas in and around Pondicherry. And almost every hotel to research on Trip Advisor will have a good and a bad rating for the same property.Therefore it becomes difficult to decide  which hotel to choose. I ve rarely seen a property review which is all good on all parameters.So it is imperative one sets their expectations accordingly.

Here are some points we kept in mind while deciding on the hotel :

  • Proximity to the beach.
  • hygiene
  • Cuisine
  • Kid Friendly
  • Cost.

We zeroed in on Le Dupleix, a boutique hotel from the sarovarhotels group. Its neatly done mix of old and new.Walking distance to the beach front was less than 10 mins. It was clean,and hygienic – though I’d advise the hotel to introduce faucets instead of toilet paper rolls. We also liked the way the hotel is designed, quietly tucked in a  corner, with large rooms,high ceiling and shades of old world charm fused with modern amenities.

The food options were great for lunch and dinner,and we found it quite tasty.We ordered Chicken Tikka and Rotis,well cooked and not too spicy.The breakfast layout was quite disappointing though – with a very limited offering.Even though the hotel staff were quiet friendly tried their best to give us more options,the lack of a decent breakfast menu was against the run of play.

There is cable TV, (though I wonder why you need to watch cable on a holiday?) and wifi connectivity is low.You get about a 15%-18% net speed.So no heavy applications or downloads recomended.So they could just introduce a signal replicator to boost connectivity.The beds were comfortable and the mini bar well stocked. The corridor on the first floor has deck chairs and a rocking sofa – so if you are in a group you can have a good chat with a drink outside if you can bear the humidity.

There are construction scaffoldings on both sides of the property,however we did not hear any noise during our brief stay.The checkout process was fairly smooth and courteous. Overall a good experience for us.

So that sums up part 1 of our journey and stay in Pondicherry – for those who have questions please feel free to leave a comment. In the next segment I will write about the places to see and eat around town.



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