Beautiful streets with names like Rue Romain Rolland and Dumas. Smatterings of conversation in Tamil and French. Splashes of bright colour, harmonized with Mediterranean white. An ashram that attempts to bring together yoga, and modern science. A Vinayaga temple on one street, and an 18th century church on another. Beaches for meditative quiet, and beaches for energetic water sport. Museums, monuments, and botanical gardens. And exquisite cuisine. Pondicherry is like nothing you've experienced before in India Or Europe.
Pondicherry is very well connected by road, rail and air. Chennai is situated 160 km north of the city. Getting to Pondicherry involves a 2 hour road journey from Chennai .
You can also take a taxi from Chennai Airport. Non-AC Indica seating 4 passengers will cost you about 3500 for one-way trip (as of August 2013)
The road from Chennai to Pondicherry (the East Coast Road, commonly called ECR) is a scenic highway and a normal journey would take about 3 hours. This route passes through Mahabalipuram , Kalpakkam, Pudupattinam, Idaikkazhinadu (Alamparai Fort also called Alambara Fort), Mudaliarkuppam (has a cool boat house), Marakkanam (contains large areas under salt pans), Kanagachettikulam/Kalapet etc. before reaching Pondicherry.
The other route that can be taken to reach Pondy is through the National Highway 45 (NH-45) famously called as the Grand Southern Trunk GST Road. This route passes through Tambaram, Madhurantakam, Melmaruvathur , Tindivanam before reaching Pondicherry. Both the major roads from Chennai are toll roads and approximately take the same time.
Pondicherry is about 320 km from Bangalore . Drive down National Highway 7 (NH-7) till Krishnagiri, take a left off the main highway (roadsigns mark the route) and then take National Highway 66 (NH-66) to Pondicherry. This route passes through Uthangarai, Chengam, Tiruvannamalai, Gingee and Tindivanam. One can reach Pondicherry either through Tindivanam (via Gingee) or Villupuram (via Thirukovilur). Gingee fort is also on the way to Tindivanam and worth spending some time. It is a Archealogical Survey of India (ASI) Heritage site. The total travel time should be about 5-6 hours. Do pack some food or snacks for the way as there are no good restaurants enroute.
Pondicherry is well connected to Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Karaikal, Nagapattinam, Velankanni, etc to the South by National Highway 45A (NH-45A). The road is well maintained till Chidambaram.
Pondicherry is connected to Chennai by an electric broad gauge railway line through Villupuram . There are 2 passenger trains running daily to Chennai Egmore Railway station and Tirupati and there is a weekly express train service to Bhubaneswar . In addition to this, there is also a daily express train to Chennai Egmore.