pondicherry, guide to visiting pondicherry,
Traveling To Pondicherry During Covid

Last updated on 3 June 2021

What To Keep In Mind When Traveling to Pondicherry During Covid

What comes to mind when you think of Pondicherry? A city with an aura that’s unmistakably French interspersed with Tamil culture, the colonial buildings and yellow houses, tree-lined streets, and sandy beaches overlooking the Bay of Bengal. And not to mention the cheap booze!

Traveling to Pondicherry During Covid

We’re sure that you’re craving to experience the outdoor world after months of sitting at home. The Covid lockdown has been much too taxing and boring. Traveling may not be safe just yet, and if you do, you’ll need to follow all the necessary precautions. Here’s everything you need to know about traveling to Pondicherry during Covid.

Traveling To Pondicherry

As of 3 June 2021, Pondicherry is under lockdown until 7 June, meaning there’s a night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am every day. Along with it, getting around the town will not be permitted without valid reasons. Here are the different ways of traveling to Pondicherry during Covid and their respective travel guidelines.

Also, keep in mind that the easiest way to reach Pondicherry is via Tamil Nadu, so you may have to factor in its travel guidelines as well.

Getting To Pondicherry By Air

There is an airport in Pondicherry, but no commercial flights go to and from here. So you’ll have to land at Chennai International Airport. It’s about 143 kilometers away from Pondicherry. Chennai Airport’s Covid rules are given below:

Whether domestic or international, all arrivals to Tamil Nadu are mandatorily expected to submit the Tamil Nadu e-pass and have their status updated on the Aarogya Setu app. The international arrivals are also to submit an online self-declaration form.

Thermal screening of all passengers will be done, but those arriving from abroad and from Maharashtra and Kerala will compulsorily have to Covid tests. While asymptomatic international arrivals have to undergo 14-day home quarantine, those from Maharashtra and Kerala have to do the same for 7 days followed by 7 days of self-monitoring.

Getting To Pondicherry By Train

Puducherry is the major railway station that is connected to all major cities of India. But at the moment, only a few special trains are running. So it’s not the most convenient mode of travel. In addition to this, most trains won’t have pantry services owing to Covid safety. So you’ll also have to get your own food.

On the other hand, you can take a train to Chennai Central and take a bus/cab to Pondicherry. But as of now, train and flight services from Chennai are only allowed for emergencies. And you’ll have to get the state’s e-pass too.

Getting To Pondicherry By Road

Pondicherry is well-connected by road to all the major cities of India. So a road trip to this former French colony wouldn’t be any trouble. We’d recommend traveling in your personal vehicle for added safety. Sure, it’ll be more expensive and tiring, but you’ll be less exposed to infection. It’s best to travel with someone who can drive so that you can take a break from the wheel.

Entering Pondicherry via Tamil Nadu means that you’ve to apply for an e-pass from the state’s website. So make sure that you do it before setting out on your journey.

Places To Visit In Pondicherry

As of writing this article, most places are closed to tourists owing to the second wave of Covid. But when things do start to open up, here are some places that you should visit (while not compromising on the Covid norms at all!)

Promenade Beach

We’re sure that once you’re in Pondicherry, you’ll want to explore its beaches. Among the best beaches here is Promenade Beach, also known as Rock Beach.

pondicherry, guide to visiting pondicherry,Traveling to Pondicherry During Covid

As the name suggests, it’s a beach beside Pondicherry’s rocky promenade. The picturesque Bay of Bengal and the pretty buildings that line the promenade, make it a hub for photographers. Also, the 1.2 km promenade is blocked off for motor vehicles early in the mornings and in the late evenings. So this makes Promenade Beach a perfect location for the health-conscious who’d love to jog along the beach.

Unlike the nearby Paradise Beach, which has a wide range of activities including dolphin watching and backwater boating, or Serenity Beach, where you can surf along the waves, Promenade Beach doesn’t have many things to do. But if all you want to do is relax by the beach and have the salty breeze whip through your hair, Promenade Beach is perfect. Also, this beach is lined with many restaurants and cafes. Along with a steaming cup of coffee, you can simply sit and drink in the charm of the place.

Arikamedu

A history nerd would absolutely love Arikamedu. About 7.5 kilometers from the heart of Pondicherry, it’s an archaeological site that was excavated in the mid-20th century. This is the place that has the most significant records of trading links between ancient India and Rome.

The excavations show a history that dates back to the 2nd century BCE. Arikamedu used to be a trading port and had commercial relations with the ancient Greeks and Romans. The stone and glass beads exported from Arikamedu were very popular. The amphora jars serve as evidence that wine was imported from the Romans.

Fast forward to the medieval period, the French colonizers built a seminary here, known as Mission House. Today, there are only a couple of structures that survived the test of time and natural calamities. However, a visit to Arikamedu, with the remnants of Mission House and evidence of a fascinating ancient history among the reclaiming greenery make it a must-visit when traveling to Pondicherry.

Auroville

Imagine a city where people from all over the world can live together irrespective of their country of origin, religion and culture, in harmony. This is what Mirra Alfassa, the founder of Auroville, envisioned.

Traveling to Pondicherry During Covid

This vast complex, spread over 20 sq km, is a must-visit when you’re traveling to Pondicherry. While Auroville doesn’t have any walls, the greenery that surrounds the place greatly muffles the noise of the city, thus you’ll be in for a tranquil experience. Ideally, you want to start from the main visitor’s center of Auroville and set out on a walk. You’ll be walking through a pathway abound with greenery and Aurovilians peacefully going about their lives. Within 15 minutes, you’ll reach the most important landmark of Auroville – the Matrimandir.

A huge dome that’s covered with gold plating, the Matrimandir is the place where you can meditate and connect with yourself. However, getting inside the Matrimandir requires prior registration and it’s temporarily closed due to the Covid pandemic. But you can gaze at the Matrimandir at a distance from the Viewing Point. The beautiful dome set on a meadow is indeed a sight to behold and a place to let go of all worldly concerns.

Covid Precautions When Traveling

Pondicherry is, without doubt, an awesome place to visit – be it with your family or friends. Whether adventure, partying, or leisure, this city has them all. But all the same, you’ve to be a lot more careful while traveling to Pondicherry during Covid. Here’s what you need to remember before setting out:

  • Don’t go easy on social distancing norms. You must wear a mask and keep 6 feet distance from others. Also, wash your hands regularly.
  • Avoid traveling anywhere if you develop any flu-like symptoms.
  • Those below 10 and above 65 years of age, and those with medical conditions should avoid traveling during Covid.
  • It’s safer to travel in a small group, preferably in your personal vehicle.
  • Avoid interacting with strangers and for transactions, opt for cashless methods.
  • Book your accommodation in hotels/resorts that are Covid-ready and follow government-issued SOPs.
  • Install the Aarogya Setu app on your phone, and carry the coronavirus self-declaration form with you. It may not be required in Pondicherry, but keep it just in case.
  • Covid rules may change depending on the number of cases. So remember to update yourself with the latest travel regulations of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, and your home state.
  • If you develop symptoms before or after the trip, seek help immediately, inform your travel buddies and the accommodation staff.

FAQs

Is Interstate Travel Allowed In Pondicherry?

Interstate travel is permitted in Pondicherry, but the lockdown norms mandate that one can travel only for emergencies.

Is Epass Required To Travel From Tamil Nadu To Pondicherry?

Yes, Tamil Nadu requires travelers to issue an e-pass for traveling between districts and states. So you’ll have to apply for one if you’re going to Pondicherry.

Is Pondicherry In Lockdown?

Yes, Pondicherry is under lockdown until 7 June 2021, with only essential services and movement allowed.

Is Pondicherry Safe At Night?

Pondicherry is quite safe at night, even for solo female travelers. In any case, there isn’t much to do here in terms of nightlife, as businesses here are shut down by 11 pm.

How Many Days Are Enough For Pondicherry?

2-3 days would be sufficient for you to explore the best locations in Pondicherry and experience the vibe of the town. But of course, it depends on the type of traveler you are. Make sure that you visit Auroville, The Promenade, and Paradise Beach. Don’t forget the many cafes too!

How Long Should I Self-quarantine If I Have Been Exposed To Covid-19?

If you’ve been exposed to Covid-19, you should self-quarantine for 14 days. Keep in mind that even if you’re asymptomatic, you may still be carrying the virus.

Can Covid-19 Spread Through Food?

There’s no evidence that Covid-19 can spread through food. But it’s a good practice to follow the usual food hygiene to avoid any foodborne illnesses.

Can The Covid-19 Survive In Drinking Water?

There’s little evidence that Covid-19 can survive in drinking water. The virus spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, dispersing droplets into the air and another person inhales them.

What Precautions Should Everyone Take In A Hotel During The Covid-19 Pandemic?

Opt For A Covid-ready Hotel: Most hotel websites now explain the processes in which they’re keeping their premises sanitized. Only opt for such hotels and ensure that the safety norms are adhered to.

Wash Your Hands: Irrespective of where you are, the mask and sanitizer rule applies. Use a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content and wash your hands thoroughly.

Avoid Contact: As far as possible, opt for cashless transactions and avoid contact with common touchpoints like elevator buttons, doorknobs, faucets, etc. If you do, wash your hands before touching your face.

Dine In: Instead of eating at the hotel’s restaurant, opt to dine in as it reduces your exposure to other guests.

What Precautions Can I Take To Avoid Contracting Covid-19?

Four simple precautions can greatly help in reducing the risk of getting Covid-19:

Wear A Mask: Covid spreads when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes, releasing the virus particles in the air. Wearing a mask, especially the N95, can help in reducing the spread of the virus.

Wash Your Hands: Your hands touch a lot of surfaces, which may have the virus, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth can lead you to get infected. To remedy that, wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Maintain Safe Distance: Keeping at least 6-feet distance from others means you’re not in close contact with someone who may be infected. Combine social distancing with a mask, and you’re even safer!

Get Vaccinated: Vaccination drives have begun. So make sure that you register yourself for the shot on the Aarogya Setu app. Keep in mind that getting vaccinated doesn’t make you immune to the virus, it only makes you more resistant to it. So the other three precautions mentioned above still apply!

Other Articles That May Interest You