It would be hard to guess, from the above list, if I was talking about Pondicherry (Puducherry) or Goa. Pondicherry and Goa are the top visited beach destinations in India. No wonder, that picking between them is a very difficult task.
We look in to what you should consider before you make the choice of Goa or Pondicherry.
Differences between Goa and Pondicherry
I must admit, Goa has more beaches compared to Pondicherry, which means Goa has the greater range. There are also beaches for any reason/occasion you want. There are beaches you head to – to party, to lounge or for luxury.
But, Goa is also a victim of its own popularity. Goa today is very touristy and most beaches are crowded during the peak season.
Pondicherry, today, has the pace and feel of what Goa did maybe 10-20 years back. It has an easier pace to life. Time slows down a notch here. The omnipresence of Shri Aurobindo also helps, give the place a spiritual bent.
The European influence weighs on the cuisines available too. There are lot of options in Continental cuisines available in both places.
In Pondicherry, you could try the local Chettinad cuisine and local seafood as well. Also, try the wood fire pizzas – they are delicious.
Goa has a rich cuisine of its own the popular ones are Vindaloo, Xacuti, Sorporel. If you are a lover of seafood, Goa does not disappoint. You can try any catch of the day cooked in garlic and butter. Also, you could try the local liquor of Goa which is Feni. You get Feni made from coconut and cashew, you could have it tonic water, Sprite or any other cold drink. Its an acquired taste, but well worth a shot (pun intended), for sure.
Although, Pondicherry has some party places, this is one area where Goa wins hands down. Goa has many places to party till the sun rises. Head to Baga or Calagunte, for the bigger and more happening party spots.
It is hard to pick between Goa or Pondicherry.
Goa is the popular, more touristy place with better beaches; head to Pondicherry for a more peaceful, quieter time.
ALSO SEE: RAVE PARTIES IN GOA
Must see places in Goa
Goa has around 50 beaches, so you are never short of choice. The more popular ones are Baga, Calangute and Anjuna/Vagator. These beaches are centrally located and have tons of options for accommodation and dining.
Most of the luxury resorts are south of Margao – Mobor, Varca, Colva, etc. Some resorts have private beaches.
If you want to have a quieter time and go easy on your pocket, you will have to head to the North and South extremities. Beaches like Palolem, Agonda or Arambol, are what you should look at.
The popular beaches in Goa offer water sports like jet skis, banana rides, para sailing, etc. Some quieter beaches also offer rides to spot dolphins and canoeing.
Old Goa is an UNESCO heritage site and has some beautiful sites built during the Portugese rule. Some of them are Se Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus and Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount. The Basilica of Bom Jesus has the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier who died in 1552. Old Goa is a must see place in Goa.
Walk around Fontainhas in Panjim, which has the brightly-coloured Portugese influenced houses.
Dudhsagar, which translates to a sea of milk, best describes the sight of these falls. The Dudhsagar falls is a couple of hours drive from Panjim. At a width of 100 feet and a height of over 1000 feet, this one of the largest waterfalls in India.
If you are in Goa post the monsoons, be sure to pay a visit here.
If you have seen Dil Chahta Hai, there is an iconic shot of the three protagonists in a fort overlooking the sea. This fort is the Chapora Fort and is one of the many forts that you can visit while in Goa. The other popular forts are Aguada Fort, Reis Margos Fort and Terekhol Fort.
We would suggest visiting at least one of these forts on your Goa holiday package for 2 night 3 days.
What to shop for in Goa
Clothes, cashew and feni.
You also get kitsch collectibles and clothes all around Goa. Visit a Mario Miranda store to get collectibles of the iconic Goan cartoonist’s works.
ALSO SEE: FLEA MARKET IN GOA
Must see places in Pondicherry
Pondicherry has six beaches. The one in the city is the Promenade beach, which we will talk about a little later. The popular beaches are Paradise Beach and Serenity Beach. To get to Paradise beach, you need to hire a motorboat for pick up and drop to the beach from Chunnambar Boat house. There is also a beach near Auroville, Auroville Beach, which is also very good.
There are also some beaches which offer surfing and scuba diving.
The iconic Promenade is a beautiful place to take a walk during sunrise or in the evenings. In the evenings, it has a mela like atmosphere with hawkers and street vendors selling the wares. One end of the promenade has a statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
A beautiful place to watch the sea and get lost in time.
Tamil quarter/French quarter
In a sense, Pondicherry epitomises East meets West.
The French quarter takes you back in time. With its cobbled streets, French styled villas and bougainvillea, it is a visual treat. The Tamil quarter is the more chaotic part of Pondicherry with its bright and lively bazaars. A beautiful amalgamation of cultures! Don’t miss either of them.
Auroville is a town 6 kilometres from Pondicherry and is a must see place in Pondicherry. It was the vision of The Mother from Aurobindo Ashram. Run and managed by the devotees of the Ashram and has a population of under 3,000 people from over 40 nationalities. It is a spiritual sanctuary with its clean and peaceful environs.
Some of the highlights are the Matrimandir, the Radiating City and the Auro beach. You can also visit the organic farms and various workshops run by the inhabitants of the Ashram.
What to shop for in Pondicherry
Auroville has some lovely shops selling artisanal items like crockery, souvenirs and clothes. There are also lots of places selling antiques especially furniture.
Goa and Pondicherry, both have their respective charms and attractions. Whether it’s Goa or Pondicherry that has won your heart, do take a look at our holiday packages that not only allow you to customize your itinerary without any hassles, but also come at a value for money deal.
ALSO SEE: GOA HOLIDAY PACKAGE